CATEGORY: Web Analytics & Web Services

REVIEWER: Brian Fletcher, manager, client facing applications for Administaff, Inc.

BACKGROUND: Administaff, Inc., the nation's leading professional employer organization (PEO), is a personnel management company that serves as an off-site, full-service human resources department for small and medium-sized businesses throughout the United States.

PLATFORMS: Compaq DL360 G3's, W2K, SQL 2000.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Our Web site provides a light offering of free HR information such as HR blunders to avoid, helpful forms and tips on enhancing production. This site gives users a taste of our personnel management service and helps generate high-quality sales leads. We realized the information about how visitors navigate this site was in our log files and was a direct line to what was relevant to our overall target market. If we could extract this information from our log files and perform custom analysis of the data, we could more intelligently service and sell to our users. However, sophisticated Web analytics solutions were very expensive, and traditional solutions lacked true customization capabilities and a database. NetTracker from Sane Solutions gave us affordable custom reporting to dig into users' navigation, and it is database driven.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: NetTracker log file analysis technology has given us some unexpected functionality. Our developers have been able to write additional visitor information (stored as variables in databases) to our log files, and NetTracker is able to parse out this information as parameters so that reporting on these values (registration and online questionnaire information) is possible. We have also configured Sane Solutions' NetTracker data conduits to retrieve even more detailed visit information using values that could be joined on an attribute imported into the NetTracker database schema and displayed in the reports. We also chose to use Sane Solutions' NetTracker Web server plug-in to generate NetTracker cookies which we use along with information provided via registration to help identify overall trends related to usage times and content viewed. Having more intelligence behind every sales call supports our goal of decreasing the sales cycle and increasing our success rate.

STRENGTHS: NetTracker is easy to implement and gives us a lot for the dollars spent. We got NetTracker up and running for 40 users in three days. We can compress the logs on the server before transport to the NetTracker server and never have to uncompress them to read them in NetTracker. NetTracker's sophisticated ad hoc reporting capabilities meet our marketing users' needs to answer new questions every day. NetTracker's open database allows us to integrate it with our contact management software.

WEAKNESSES: There are few weaknesses related directly to this product. We have a complex load-balancing environment which required that we develop an internal process to capture each server log file independently. We would like to have a centralized log file management process/tool. We would also like to see the ability for a user to write and save custom reports for continued usage by just their own user profile, versus everyone seeing them in the custom report section. Finally, we would like the ability to apply custom parameter filters at the report level. This would provide the ability to use two site reports using the same log files, but filter a subset of data based on reporting criteria.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We needed something that was quick, lean, flexible and cost-efficient. Some of the other products we reviewed required a lot of infrastructure and cost more. We were really excited to find NetTracker.

DELIVERABLES: The reports contain rich data due to features such as the NetTracker Data Conduits which allow us to pull in data from registration forms and online questionnaires. The ad hoc reporting capabilities allow us to cross-reference any data, such as visitors with products viewed. The open database schema allows us to view behavior data stored in the NetTracker database through other applications such as our contact management software.

VENDOR SUPPORT: We have found the NetTracker support staff to be a wonderful asset not only in configuring NetTracker and reports, but also in providing continued support for everyday use and software upgrade issues.

DOCUMENTATION: We have found the documentation to be very detailed, and it contains all information required for everyone from end users to system administrative personnel. We have rolled this product to more than 80 users with minimal training and a very small number of support calls.

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