Why the Google Analytics API is good for the industry and Webtrends

April 24th, 2009

Topics: Measurement

At Webtrends, we’re excited about the announcement of Google Analytics public beta for their Data Export API.  Why would we be excited?  It’s simple really, because we understand that value is derived not solely from the data, but the insights you get from this data that lead you to action.  Action enabled through integration of the data into enterprise systems and processes of YOUR business. 

Gone are the days of the all-in-one suite falsely promising it can be everything to everyone.  Today’s business owners should refuse to pay for the convenience of getting at their data through vendor APIs. We launched public beta of our web services on April 7, and customer response has been fantastic – we have about 20 times more accounts (customer and developer/technology partner) enabled today than we did at the end of our private beta period a few weeks back.  The release of the Google API a few days ago reinforces all the reasons we were so excited to announce the Open Exchange to our customers.  We believe you should be able to get to your data in a way that makes sense to your business and that includes the integration of the data into tools/processes that provide true meaning of the data – whether it is a complex business intelligence tool or Microsoft Excel, a tool that most people use every day.  Providing unfettered access to your data is why we announced Open Exchange at our Engage customer conference a few weeks ago and why we talked about it during our seminar series last November.  Having Google join us in this effort is exciting.

We believe that our new web services, and the developer network community we launched, provide powerful tools for integrating Webtrends data with everything from Excel or your own custom reporting apps and everything in between.  We created these new web services so that our customers can:

  • Build their own powerful applications by integrating data directly in to their apps. Custom dashboards, widgets, and analytics apps just got a lot smarter with REST URL methods
  • Build dashboards in Excel by bringing in live data from your Analytics reports. In Excel, you can use the “import from web” option to import report data.

Why build something that makes it easier to get data into Excel?  Excel is the most widely used analytics tool in the world.  Fortune 100 companies to small businesses us it to analyze, understand, and present this data throughout their organization.  A typical barrier is that most business users aren’t programmers or developers, and think that REST is something your body gets at night when you are asleep.  We had a challenge to ensure that our business users could take full advantage of our new REST API from within Excel.  To support the typical business user, we developed the REST URL Generator tool as part of the new web services.  Check it out and see how easy it is to get this data out of Webtrends and into Excel.

So maybe you are reading this and thinking you’re a programmer, what’s in this for me?  The same powerful and elegant solution we’ve created for business users is what we’ve set out to accomplish for developers as well.  As I mentioned, we’re using REST, which is a powerful standard that is widely accepted to program on. Our simple XML and JSON formats are easy to consume into applications you can build.  The JSON format is a less verbose option than XML, which will make performance better for applications that can consume it.  Plus we have an Excel-specific XML format to make data appear in Excel the way you want it to – in case you are programmer building powerful Excel applications for business users described above.

Open Exchange doesn’t end with web services.  We’ve released enhancements to our solution for managing the complexity of javascript tagging, Tag Builder, to allow for easier partner connections and more efficient tag management.  We’re building a new Data Collection API to further enable customers to derive value from our partners, which will be out in beta this summer.

In all we believe that the future of the analytics industry is going to be driven by enabling customers to get their data, in a way that works for their business, that gets them to insight and leads to action.  We fully expect that all the other players in the analytics space will be moving this direction too.  We welcome it because it ultimately benefits our customers – and that is what truly excites us.

6 Responses to “Why the Google Analytics API is good for the industry and Webtrends”

  1. 5htp benefits

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  2. Jukka

    This might go a bit off the skid, but I was thinking about going a little further, into a different segment.
    What about financial/strategy search, for example? Let Google mine the right path you should take operations-wise. You could make calls to the Strategy-API
    and Google would make its knowledge of the markets available to you. It could return results regarding competition. Call it mini-BI system, whatever. The idea would be to start applying real knowledge in hard situations, with minimal programming.

    Because usually small and medium businesses apply butt-knowledge to business problems, and often this is the reason they don’t grow (actually they would like
    to, but don’t see the growth potential areas). With a guidance from a company that is probably in the best position “to see the world at a glance”, there could exist mutual win-win. It’s not for all, I can imagine the amount of suspicion also, having a giant guide smaller companies into new territory, and to be honest – of course there would be some moral problems.

    Reply

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