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I have found in the past that far too many companies offering web analytics focussed on just how the web site performs, missing the importance of how the customer performs. Foviance tackle this head-on with impressive results. Foviance was formed by the merger of WebAbacus and The Usability Company, and the combined team now sell a solution of elegance and function. The technology is hidden, but the insight is clearly presented in a usable fashion. Although, at present, Foviance are focussing on the web, the tool is an open toolkit built on an open architecture, and offered as a web-based application, so in the future the same skills can be applied to other areas required analysis within the enterprise.
In keeping with many of the new breed of Business Intelligence vendors, Foviance are not just selling a toolkit, it is also selling a lot of business skill to implement and exploit what the tool does, and the tool itself is preconfigured to provide a lot of functionality out-of-the-box. This is important as it means that any investment is going to see immediate payback, without delays of months whilst tools are being configured and set-up. Indeed Foviance believe that you should be talking hours and days, rather than weeks and months to install and be ready to apply.
The real strength of the out-of-the box reports is that they are not just a collection of standalone jobs, they can be readily cross-referenced to provide a wide range of insight without the need for custom reporting. The tool can obviously be used to develop customer reports for when more sophisticated and site-specific analysis is required. Here Foviance offer what is a really valuable service to their customers—they have a managed service, the Experience Management Programme. This provides customers with the hands-on support to build and learn how to exploit the data that the tool makes available. Using the expertise of the Foviance team this allows additional value to be built rapidly, with confidence and skills being built in the customer’s team in those vital early weeks and months of adoption.
The tool allows comprehensive drill down, with analysis being readily accessible through all of the obvious entry points to develop understanding. Data from external sources can be added to the in-house data to further enrich the understanding of the customer experience. The results of the analysis are presented visually in a readily understood fashion. So for instance, when looking at how a home page operates, the interactive report shows the home page with overlays which show who clicked where to do what. Similarly the network of traffic through a site is represented by a three dimensional network diagram that can be readily manipulated to understand who goes where and what links with what and in which direction.
I think that this is one of the best tools that I have seen for developing a real understanding of how to manage and improve a web site and Foviance should be on every shortlist for those looking for such a tool.