SharePoint usage analytics in the box are OK at best for site administrators of a team site, while the search metrics may be a good start, there just isn't enough to work with still. If SharePoint is your Intranet or if SharePoint is your Internet site, you're likely feeling like what's available is inadequate. Many have gotten use to Webtrends, Google Analytics, or Omniture. Those really are the big guys in the Analytics world. There are different strategies for using these different tools, but the insights are extremely valuable. What all of those tools are missing is they don't know your portal, it doesn't know your products, it definitely doesn't understand SharePoint and document management.
Imagine that these typical usage analytics tools could give you all the goodness they already provide, but it could be enriched. In my experience, the development skills required and domain knowledge required to extend these tools is quite specialized. Some companies employ people who specialize in the analytics around usage analytics, but most companies can't.
In steps Unilytics, with their value proposition. Bring your environment, your questions, and your existing tool, and they will answer the questions you have about your customers, environment or products.
Figure 1: Unilytics Mergence on Webtrends: New Reports such as new Breadcrumb reports.
Understanding Challenges Today
Most usage starts with understanding page views. With any of the tools mentioned above, you can get reports on how many page views you've got. You can even get information on the browser and operating systems. The parts that these tools are missing is
- Web Part usage
- Breadcrumb usage – Wouldn't it be great to see how people are navigating your pages
- Document checkins, checkouts, and downloads and all the dozens of other actions you can take
- Company specific user information such as department
- Transactions that you care about, such as workflows, search results and refinement performance such as first page
Figure 2: Unilytics Enhanced WebTrends Report Content Groups: Usage by Department
The hybrid approach of "buy and customize" to take advantage of your already significant investment doesn't produce another whole interface you have to work in. Instead of having your developers learn both the analytics platform, and understand where you need to add the bots, capture properties and other variables.
How are users interacting with your application, navigation, calendar or featured products web part? How are you measuring adoption? Are you looking at page views? That can be misleading alone. You need to understand the nature of the transactions that are taking place.
- What document actions are employees taking (e.g. downloads, edits, permissions set, etc.)?
- Which sites have the most files (e.g., team sites, collaboration sites, etc.) are used most frequently?
- Which content do New Employees use most often?
- How does the HR department use utilize content differently than IT?
- How can we increase productivity in our environment?
- Is the navigation that you've provided even working? Are there certain links that rarely get clicked or are better off being targeted because they are only used by one department?
Figure 3: Mergence will allow you to align your metrics with your business needs.
My Experience with Unilytics Mergence for SharePoint
I've recently spent a lot of time on analytics. I've got a new manager, and I've been frustrated with the navigation on our intranet. We have tons of links that go to other systems and tools. With most analytics products I can tell that the home page was accessed, but without development I can't really tell where people are going when they leave, but with development I can see where users are clicking across my home page and in my navigation whether it stays on the page or whether the links continue on.
As well, I've recently spent a lot of time understanding both our areas and departments. Again with any tool you purchase it will need to learn your regions, your departments, divisions and whatever other data you want that will really tell you how the organization uses your tools differently.
Our team has spent a few different times in training and then trying to explain how SharePoint pages and navigation work. I've been wondering how much time and money we could have saved by having these guys come in with their modules, and explaining to them the product catalog we build and have them help us build a module on most popular products and provide the metrics that the product managers are looking for in understanding what their customers are looking for.
For me, I came into an environment where there already was a portal. Now it's my job to show where it is lacking and where it can be improved. My ability to articulate this will give me the backing I need to justify the changes. Are people actually able to use the SharePoint world the way you designed it? How should you redesign the space to make it better?
I've personally got a lot of questions about search. I look at the excel spreadsheets that I get out of SharePoint, and I still have lots of questions. I really want to know how people are searching for documents and how many results pages people are going through. How far down the list are people clicking.
Figure 4: Unilytics Mergence
The Unilytics team can provide training, consulting, optimization, and services to help you with your needs. So depending on wherever you are in the maturity scale with your deployment, they can help you get started, or learn the new improvements in these tools, and build reports, and metrics you need in the common interface where the business expects they will live.
So what's the downside?
Some may say they are looking for an off-the-shelf tool that will help them better understand adoption, provide reports and measures on how the solution is working.
So many have invested in Analytics for one web property or another… Take advantage of those investments.
This product review is a paid service by Joel Oleson of SharePointJoel.com voted by the SharePoint community as Top SharePoint blogger and viewed monthly in over 100 countries worldwide with over 3 million page views. How did I do? Do you need your tool reviewed?