CATEGORY: BI Tools

REVIEWER: Mike Minchew, manager of online commerce for EDS.

BACKGROUND: Since its founding in 1962, EDS has been a global leader in the information technology arena. EDS provides strategy, implementation and hosting for clients managing the business and technology complexities of the digital economy. With over $20 billion in annual sales across a broad spectrum of industries, EDS is a Fortune 150 company and employs 128,000 people in its worldwide operations, serving companies and governments in 55 countries.

PLATFORMS: IBM P4 1.7 MHz with 1GB RAM and two 60GB hard drives running Windows 2000. Our SQL database is being hosted remotely by the EDS Database Group to ensure space and reliability.

PROBLEM SOLVED: In early 1999, EDS dramatically stepped up its Internet service offerings. EDS' corporate Web site is now used as a customer engagement tool to help stimulate new business, support existing clients, drive client referrals and boost brand comprehension. All of EDS' advertising and marketing programs refer to the site as a central information fulfillment/resource center. We essentially moved from a site that previously focused on content and "brochureware" to one that stresses customer interaction, collaboration and the delivery of resources and information on demand. This heightened demand subsequently spurred a significant increase in Web site traffic. Today, our corporate site typically averages around 30,000 daily visitors, or between 500,000 and 1.5 million hits per day. With the growing sophistication of our Web-based initiatives, we needed to know precisely where our online investments were or were not paying off. Our former Web analytics solution was working when the Web was primarily about hits and clicks; but with the Internet so heavily fused into our business operations with clients, prospects and employees, we wanted a measurement tool that provided greater accountability.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Today, eBizinsights XL from Visual Insights is a cornerstone of our analysis and planning function for Web-based marketing. The software provides EDS with an immediate and accurate understanding of our Web-based marketing program deployment as well as our customer interactions. eBizinsights XL is helping us move toward a portal environment where clients can access account and service offering information, collaborate with EDS and its partners online and participate in specific online communities.

STRENGTHS: eBizinsights XL is easy to use, requiring minimal IT support. It is a highly scalable solution that leverages Microsoft's .NET platform. With eBizinsights XL, users can access information from their desktops to compile basic reports and then move on to more detailed Web analysis. They're able to create their own views on the system ­ a superior approach to having all reports pulled from a central location and then sent as hard copies or HTML files.

WEAKNESSES: eBizinsights XL cannot automatically collect log files through a proxy server/firewall. Work-arounds are fairly simple, but this enhancement is needed to make the product easier to configure.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We chose eBizinsights XL because it allows fast, accurate and ad hoc reporting for company executives and easy access to EDS' database with full detail available on Web data. It is also scalable and has the ability to turn requests around quickly, whether they involve simple data extraction or data mining. Web analysis is done quickly, without requiring data to be extracted and exported into another product. The distinctive graphical displays allow EDS to deliver effective, understandable and self-explanatory presentations to executives and business-unit leaders.

DELIVERABLES: eBizinsights XL has benefited EDS through its ability to help users gain an understanding of promotional spending related to Web activity and capture effective feedback to justify increased investments in promotional spending designed to stimulate Web-based activity. Users can also pinpoint previously hidden influences affecting site performance, customer behavior and business trends (details not found in traditional static Web log reports) and transform real-time information into readable reports for executive management.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Pre-implementation support was great except that information related to establishing the hardware/software environment required to optimize the product should be more clearly defined. Post-implementation support has been incredibly good. The best part of working with Visual Insights is that they really work to make our project successful.

DOCUMENTATION: Documentation is relatively complete and easy to understand.

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