REVIEWER: Avishai Avrahami, co-founder and CEO, Wix.com.
BACKGROUND: Wix is an online platform to make Flash Web sites that are search-engine friendly. Users can make complex Flash Web pages with the same effort as presentation slides. As of April 2009, about 580,000 sites were built using the platform. At millions of visits a month, Wix had multiple traffic sources. To make money, it needed Web analytics to optimize its site and convert free users into revenue-generating premium users.
PLATFORMS: 6 Linux servers with a MySQL database, Apache and Tomcat development. SiSense Prism runs on a desktop computer.
PROBLEM SOLVED: Since mid-2008, Wix.com traffic grew exponentially. Analyzing the way traffic comes into the site and the complex behavior of users is key to our success. Traffic patterns change continuously; the information store is huge. Wix needed to be able to rapidly analyze data and test hypotheses. Our approach is two-stepped: analysis and reporting. We needed a tool that covers both. Google Analytics was not granular enough for us; running SQL queries was too slow. Classic reporting solutions did not support analysis. We ended up running 23 reports and using a full-time development employee for SQL queries. Today, we use SiSense Prism against a live MySQL database. We have more than 100 reports, all of which were defined in less than a month, with only a few hours of developer time. SiSense not only supports the quick analysis-report cycle, but also freed our development resources. We gained a deeper understanding of the data - SiSense Prism provides a lot more options to query than SQL or other report generators we used. Since Prism was installed, we respond faster to insights.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: SiSense Prism provides business intelligence software for visualization, analysis, dashboarding and reporting. SiSense lets you perform complex analytics without building a middle tier for the data, so no scripting, programming or IT efforts are required. The application connects to the data source and allows the users to define each of its components as a measure or dimension. Once this is defined, the application creates a dimensional model on the fly, freeing you from the need to create an OLAP. Additional measures can be calculated in multidimensional formulas. The application supports visualization, definition of reports and the ability to share the data by using a viewing function. Reports are interactive and viewers can sum and filter the data in the report. Calculations and charts are defined using widgets.
STRENGTHS: SiSense Prism is easy to use, powerful and low cost. We paid $700 for an annual license, and setting it up for use, including getting to understand the basic functionality, took several hours. Because each analysis takes several minutes, rather than hours running SQL, we now take little time to generate and share analysis. The fact that the analysis tool is also the reporting tool is an added benefit. We also like the easy filtering, the background feature and time hierarchies.
WEAKNESSES: When connecting to the data source, we had to define metadata what is a dimension and what is a measure. When we wanted to edit this and change some of the initial definitions we found it was possible, but not easy to master. Luckily, someone from SiSense took us through the process.
SELECTION CRITERIA: For our analytic needs, we know of no other company that offers a comparable tool with such simplicity and flexibility. The ability to do flexible analysis and reporting was comparable to none as well as the price and the total cost of ownership in freeing our technical staff.
DELIVERABLES: SiSense allows us to send reports in pdfs or use the viewing function inside SiSense Prism that is intended for workgroups. We also export select data to Excel.
VENDOR SUPPORT: SiSense gave us excellent support, connecting us with the CTO and product managers, as needed.
DOCUMENTATION: SiSense's documentation was spotty on some of the features. Some of the deeper analysis capabilities we discovered by chance, or during an email interaction with support. Luckily, most of the functionality is discoverable. The Company has told us a full manual is in development.
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