What’s Going on at WebTrends?

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I got way backlogged (over a week — 150+ messages) on the webanalytics Yahoo! group. I started catching up last night, and then hit it again this morning.

This was the first I heard that WebTrends has had a major management shakeup (there’s another good article at MSN), with the CEO and a couple of other executives being removed from the company by the investors. The timing of this is really interesting, since it’s very fresh news that Omniture is acquiring Visual Sciences. And, Omniture acquired HBX/WebSideStory several years ago.

So, major consolidation in the space…and then a major shakeup at one of the few unconsolidated remaining players.

Anil Batra’s blog seems to have one of the most active discussions going on the subject. What’s interesting is that, so far, there is no emerging consensus as to what’s going on.

I was a driver behind switching from SPSS NetGenesis (groan!) to WebTrends On Demand three years ago at my previous employer. We didn’t even look at Omniture because we intentionally narrowed our scope to vendors that had the same product available in both an ASP and software model. It’s been hard to ignore the buzz about Omniture, though.

When we went with WebTrends, it was just as WebTrends was being spun off from NetIQ. I’m inclined to believe the speculation that there was one type of management needed to manage that transition — NetIQ was really weighing WebTrends down innovation-wise. And, the landscape has changed sufficiently that it may be that they simply need a different set of skills to continue.

As “Steve,” my favorite webanalytics poster put it — just because WebTrends still has the largest installed base of any major WA vendor, that’s not a guarantee that they’re here to stay. He cited WordPerfect and Lotus 1-2-3 as examples!

In my opinion — supported by various case studies and discussions in business school — mergers and acquisitions generally don’t add much, if any value. That doesn’t speak well of the acquisition frenzy Omniture has been on for the past few years. But…I still hear a lot more of interesting stuff being pulled off successfully with Omniture than I hear from WebTrends.

It will be interesting to see how things play out.

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