CATEGORY: Data Mining and Visualization

REVIEWERS: Robert Paluch, president, and Mike Kaufman, senior systems engineer for Paluch & Associates.

BACKGROUND: Paluch & Associates is a leading information technology firm serving more than 350 clients in the Chicago area and internationally. The company offers system solution consulting, Internet service provider (ISP) and application service provider (ASP) services to companies that include major real estate and transportation firms. Paluch & Associates also develops proprietary Internet applications to meet client needs, and has implemented eBizinsights from Visual Insights as its e-business performance management solution.

PLATFORMS: eBizinsights runs on Windows NT and utilizes Microsoft's SQL Server as its back-end database.

PROBLEM SOLVED: With technology investments soaring, real-time monitoring of visitor behavior, promotional effectiveness and return on investment have never been more critical. Paluch & Associates' customers share a common goal: to proactively measure their Web site performance and tie it directly to business results. The basic Web tracking tool we were using could not produce the information we needed. With eBiz-insights, we can provide clients with an extremely competitive, value-added service to help them sustain their e-business model in a way that increases effectiveness while reducing costs.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: eBizinsights is a next-generation e- business performance management (eBPM) solution designed to help e-companies sell more products, increase customer loyalty and decrease operating expenses. Optimization through eBPM is the closed-loop process of understanding customer and traffic behavior in order to build more effective strategies for enhancing customer loyalty, increasing sales and maximizing ROI. Powered by patented Visual Discovery and realTime3D technologies, eBizinsights replaces static charts and graphs with real-time monitoring of visitor behavior coupled with interactive visual displays that allow non-technical business users to discover, analyze and communicate e-business performance results and make better decisions ­ fast.

STRENGTHS: eBizinsights complements our own software tools for Internet support and navigation. It can gauge how many visitors come to the site, where they come from, how long they stay, which pages they frequent, whether or not they experience errors and when they abandon. By quickly drilling down, we can pinpoint and remedy a potential problem that might otherwise impact business. With eBizinsights, static charts and graphs "come alive." They can be viewed in three dimensions and from various angles, with interactive drill-down to the desired level of detail.

WEAKNESSES: If you host many sites, you have to create separate SQL databases for each one. Also, the current version of eBizinsights doesn't provide scheduled report generation or automated configuration for dynamic pages. However, Visual Insights has told us the latter issues will be remedied in near-term releases of eBizinsights.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Paluch & Associates was looking for an e-business performance solution that would enable us to meet the sophisticated needs of larger clients whose Web sites run from 30 to 100 pages and include interactive and transactional applications. With a high investment in infrastructure, measuring hits was no longer enough. We wanted a "double-duty" solution ­ one that would provide Web tracking and analysis capabilities to add value for clients and monitor and optimize our own applications. The software had to be easy to learn and accommodate a broad spectrum of users, from executive management to technical staff and programmers. It had to be scalable and run on our Microsoft Windows NT platform. eBizinsights satisfied the criteria on all counts.

DELIVERABLES: eBizinsights is improving the way Paluch & Associates does business by enabling us to reduce the time and complexity of measuring, analyzing and communicating Web site performance. Previously, compiling a month's worth of data might have required eight hours. Now, with faster searches, we can do it in a half hour. In an age where information proliferation can cloud profitability, it is crucial for our clients to truly understand how their Web sites are performing within the context of their business investment. In our opinion, eBizinsights does more than just monitor performance; it helps us protect our clients' investments.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Visual Insights has supported our installation enthusiastically to ensure eBizinsights is running reliably and is configured properly for our needs.

DOCUMENTATION: The detailed online documentation lets us resolve issues quickly. In fact, we found eBizinsights to be intuitive; we were able to configure it without much help.

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