So far we’ve looked at a number of approaches to web analytics – Google Analytics, Crazy Egg, and Optimizely – that really focus on providing optics into storefront traffic patterns for your site. However, there is another side of your infrastructure that you really need to pay attention to if you want to maximize your business efficiency and revenue. This concerns the huge amount of data that gets generated behind the scenes, especially in the form of log data files (application logs, point of sale logs, server logs, virtual machine logs, web proxy logs), message queues, sensor data, and GPS data. This vast storehouse of information is referred to as “machine data” and it’s increasingly becoming valued as a source of key business insights. One platform in particular known as Splunk is, in fact, redefining the whole value proposition of IT log files and showing how this data can translate into increased revenue for your line of business.
Digital businesses today realize that excellent customer service encompasses every aspect of the business. It doesn’t just involve the customer facing website but extends as well to the infrastructure that supports that website. Online stores are the primary engine of growth for retailers today. This means that any type of performance or downtime issues on the website can translate easily into lost revenue and customer defections. This is where Splunk comes into play. Splunk is a platform that focuses on collecting, analyzing, and visualizing machine data and then using that information to create operational intelligence, optimize business process, and drive revenue. The value proposition of this platform is nicely summarized as follows: “Splunk delivers real-time understanding of what’s happening and deep analysis of what’s happened across IT systems and infrastructure. It uses untapped machine data to identify problems, risks and opportunities and drive better decisions for IT and the business.”
The opportunities and use cases for how to capture and leverage machine data to improve web performance and operations management are almost limitless. The growing complexity of physical, virtual, and cloud environments today requires a more holistic approach to monitoring the numerous devices, systems, and transactions within an IT infrastructure. The value of a platform like Splunk is that it provides retailers with the ability to efficiently monitor indexing data across routers, switches, networks, controllers, servers, and firewalls to ensure that performance is optimal at all times. Intuitive and easy to understand dashboards provide colorful and clear charts, graphs, and a variety of visualizations to help you easily understand and interpret what is happening within your infrastructure.
Again, the primary purpose of a website is two-fold, attracting visitors and converting them into real leads and customers. Any downtime or performance issues on your website will easily translate into lost revenues and customer attrition, which will obviously register a negative impact on profits. The value proposition of Splunk is that it goes behind the scenes to help keep your infrastructure moving and operating at the highest level of performance.
Throughout this series we’ve looked at a sampling of some of the top website analytics and optimization tools on the market. Each platform offers a unique value proposition for gaining insights into website traffic, trends, and behaviors and for converting visitors into regular customers. The solutions are wide and varied, ranging from graphs, charts, and metrics of site traffic, to heatmaps of the most frequented sections of your website, to A/B tests and solutions for finding the best path to sales conversions, to leveraging IT logs and other machine data sets to optimize your performance and uptime.
The takeaways here should be obvious: web analytics and optimizations are crucial for your line of business. Having a website is futile without implementing strategies to understand your visitors. Gaining a 360 view of your potential customers is not an option if you want your business to succeed. Building this rapport with your customer is the first step, and then you must go the extra mile to anticipate and exceed their expectations. There are plenty of great tools available on the market to help you do just that! We’ve just touched on a few of the most popular ones. If you haven’t implemented web analytics, do yourself and your business a favor and kickoff a strategy today. Start with any of the tools that we’ve discussed in this series and you’ll be well on your way to increasing revenue, lowering costs, and improving customer satisfaction.