[Omniture Summit :: Head]

03.13.07 :: Day 1: Opening reception.

Arthur and I checked out assorted vendors in the Partner Pavilion, a couple of which caught our attention. Numeric Analytics has some interesting "point of diminishing returns" measurement tools for comparing investment channels; informing online marketing spend allocations. Also, SEM Director has a seemingly handy SEO maintenance module I could see SEOs maybe using on clients after first giving them more comprehensive, manual core consultations - provided they have some kind of top-tier Analytics software already installed for the module to key off of (a system requirement).

I wonder a little why Vignette is still around but Documentum isn't. As for whatever happened in the good ol' CMS scene there, I've no idea. Still, I had to drop by and hear their current elevator pitch for kicks. It sounded kind of sketchy, honestly... all riding on the portals angle which IMHO has had its day. Like every partner here they've got a hook into Omniture's platform of course. However, I've always been a bit skeptical about stuff like BEA WebLogic, IBM WebSphere etc.; the idea that it's really so great to have some uber-Intranet experience where it's all portlets/widgets for everything from analytics to content collaboration workflows to communications to misc. for employees to use, all on one screen and all at once more oft than not. The human mind can only multi-task so much so the concept always sounded like a shortcut to being truly productive, more just assuming the appearance of it, to me. My gut says Plumtree mostly already took it as far as it was meant to go, before BEA slurped them up and out (i.e. "if you can't beat them, buy them if you can afford it").

I know it's sounds cynical but I make no apology for it: Cool tech capabilities will always be ahead of human needs, maturities and habits realities in our lifetimes, at this rate. Which means from a technologist perspective it's always critical to consider that just because something could be done doesn't mean it should be... or similarly, just because something is being done by someone doesn't mean it's actually a viable value proposition, at least not for everyone.

03.14.07 :: Day 2: Opening Keynotes and Breakout Sessions.

Omniture claims to be the fastest-growing public software company currently. I don't doubt it. This event is impressive, corporate rock show... eerily similar to what GearUp 2000 felt like back in my Interwoven days (the firm was 2nd-fastest growing software vendor at the time). So there's great material getting covered here but I take it all with a grain of salt, having been in the "we went public not too long ago and now we're flowing on a new level" mode. More power to them, though. They make great tools, are a firm to watch, and deserve to enjoy this time as darlings for at least some time... even if their customer service quality has, according to some, had a little trouble keeping pace with it all. It sucks, but growing pains like that are pretty typical. I'm not saying I excuse it, I just empathize from past experience.

They're ahead of competitors in a few respects to be sure. One thing to keep in mind also though, is that enterprise software vendors at this stage tend to ride momentum / feed the monster by pushing OEM take-ons, acquisitions, and still perhaps some original products development... all often around whatever flagship product they originally released that really put them on the map. It happens under newfound pressure from the Street. So this aggressive ramp-up from one great product to a whole suite of products within a couple years, that kind of growth should be approached carefully by customers, prospects and onlookers (including formally agnostic intermediaries like us). Sometimes it happens in ways that let a lot of bugs in, and then when the vendor takes it to market, in worst-case scenarios it's lipstick on the pig(s).

With their track record so far, at this time I still mostly trust Omniture not to do something like that... even if I never expect anyone's enterprise software products to be as usable or smooth-running in actual production as they do whenever they're demonstrated.


These were nice and solid from Josh James, Omniture Founder and CEO (who looks a bit like a young Dave Letterman), Bill O'Reilly (prolific author, head of O'Reilly Media and thought leader who coined the term "Web 2.0"), and Megan Burns, Senior Analyst at Forrester. Forrester is good stuff. They're right more often than wrong, which is partly why they pushed out Gartner and Giga I suppose, at least as far as following the tech scene goes (it seems I can't even find Giga's site anymore so I assume they've been gone for much longer than I've known).


These were pretty cool, the ones we opted for. Caught up with some of the new products a bit, and they actually look pretty kick-ass... alas just a bit beyond the meat-n-potatoes analysis level that we're still trying to get some of our clients caught up with.

Discover 2 is way more intuitive and facilitative of actionable results than the original version, via a totally overhauled GUI. So it renews enthusiasm for the upside of long-tail data mining, and very granular segmentation analysis.

Respectively, Genesis and TouchClarity seem cool for plugging in and leveraging partner data and automating optimization in real-time, but I wonder how much they confuse and/or diminish the value of SiteCatalyst's Data Sources and/or Multivariate Testing Framework. The TouchClarity (acquired last month) founder declined to comment when I asked about any effects on the latter in their product roadmap per their coming into Omniture's fold, but he did refer me to a PM contact if I wanted to press curiosities there. It does seem like a personalization method engine that will actually work this time around, anyway. They promise at least a 5x ROI which is pretty bold. If it proves to deliver on that and is actually affordable, it's a very, very huge thing. I remember struggles with trying to get any ROI out of ATG Dynamo a good 7 years ago.

SearchCenter sessions were mostly run by Chris Knoch - whom I'd spoken to but not seen in person before - but opened most notably with Gord Hotchkiss a.k.a. outofmygord.com. He's also in the WAA scene which I continue to be curious about. Gord went over good updated eye-tracking test results; the steadfastness of the Golden Triangle etc., so the SearchCenter breakout was mostly review of stuff we already knew. I heard someone refer to SEO as advertising again though.... Grrrr; I will take this to my grave: SEO is marketing but not advertising!!!


Got approached by a few people about potentially doing some Analysis work and/or other business. One was a tech gorilla already gots a relationship with, another was actually a guy I worked with back the day at IWOV who's now at a startup, and lastly there were some Omniture peeps with whom I had some specific items to discuss. Having used their stuff for several years now both while agency-side and client-side, I'm looking forward to working them more closely, potentially.

* * *

Hopefully to-morrow will be productive... to-day felt pretty good. Even were I not attending as another party's guest I'd have wanted to be here anyway. Events like these are essential to keeping fingers on certain pulses.

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