In a move that may prove to be a harbinger of the future of software-as-a-service, Web-based ASPs Atomz and WebSideStory today announced an alliance to focus on integrating Web site search, content management and Web analytics.
“It’s the shape if things to come,” Guy Creese, research director of Internet analytics for the Aberdeen Group, told ASPnews. “Integrating analytics, content management and search creates a feedback loop that is crucial to unlocking a site’s potential.”
Under terms of the agreement, Atomz and WebSideStory will integrate their products and services and work on a number of joint marketing projects. The companies report that the integration will add WebSideStory’s HitBox service to extend Atomz’ Search capabilities to include return on investment (ROI) tracking, real-time merchandising reports, funnel analysis, visitor segmentation and more.
Atomz will also add HitBox to its Atomz Publish content management system (CMS), allowing companies to track Web site visitor behavior. Customer can see which content visitors prefer, which navigational paths they take and which marketing campaigns they respond to.
Aberdeen’s Creese said that people who run Web sites currently spend their day trying to see who’s visiting and determine what they are doing so their can optimize their site. Collecting all that information, he said, often involves phone calls to different departments and hallway conversations.
“Integration is possible, but it’s difficult,” Creese told ASPnews. “The APIs aren’t there and it requires customer coding.”
Seth Brenzel, Atomz’ director of marketing, said the ASP model employed by both software providers is a key both in terms of ease of use and expense. “You just have to buy the software, not spend thousands to integrate it.” Thanks to the nature of Web-based software and efficiency of a one-to-many model, “we won’t be reinventing the wheel to build functionality,” Brenzel told ASPnews.
Ironically, perhaps, while Net-native software is a natural for this type of integration, the perception is often the opposite. “ASPs are viewed as only point solutions. Some analysts have reported that Web-based apps are isolated, but the converse is true,” Michael Marchese, director of business development at WebSideStory, told ASPnews. He added this agreement with Atomz leads the way and shows the ease of integration.”
Atomz and WebSideStory point to BackcountryStore.com as an early example of the success of the combined service. The online retailer reports that visitors who use Atomz search were four times more like to become customers. WebSideStory treats Atomz Search as a campaign so users can track the click-through of Atomz Search users as they would any other marketing campaign or promotion.
Both Atomz and WebSideStory are quick to point out that this is only the first step in the alliance, a partnership that Marchese describes as having “limited exclusivity.”
“We feel we found the right partner. We are not partnering just for sake of partnering,” Atomz’ Brenzel told ASPnews. “It’s more like a strategic alliance.” The companies report that they will continue to work on tying together the companies’ product through development and marketing initiatives. Brenzel said the companies are also training support people on both companies’ products.
The important thing, the companies’ spokesmen agree, is that no premium charges are involved for the integration.
While today’s announcement may be a small step for Atomz and WedSideStory, it could be described as a giant leap for Web-based applications. “This sets the tone for prepackaged integration. It’s kind of early to appreciate its significance.”
Atomz and WebSideStory are both listed by ASPnews as Top 20 Service Providers.
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