My obsession with analytics software is probably obvious (if you've read here a little bit). Since I always try to come up with new ways of doing things and getting new ideas, I had a look at a wide variety of products, including more than 200+ web analytics solutions. However...sometimes it makes sense to look beyond e.g. at other industries. Recently I've checked out a few financial analytics software products. Most of them are high-end business intelligent software and I really liked what they are offering and I am sure some web analytics vendors can learn from them:
Oracle Financial Analytics:
Among a lot of great features, the software monitors cash cycles in order to manage working capital, collections and allows to control risk. It's dashboard also identifies channels of profitable drivers across profit centers. What I especiallly liked is the regional analysis, which in so many web analytics solutions often not integrated right (e.g. visitors, who visit a site with a Blackberry are usually identified as Canadian visitors, since RIM is based out of Canada).
SAP ERP Financial Analytics:
Probably the biggest competitor to Oracle's software, but with some nice features:
Key performance indicator module, which supports popular scorecard methodologies, such as Economic Value-Added, activity-based costing methos and balanced scorecards (BSC).
SAS Business Analytics:
Predictive SAS Analytics claims to allow to make proactive decisions based on high-impact questions "What will happen next?". Since I haven't really looked into the software for too long, I am sure that the flexible framework is something that could be very valuable. Apparently their framework grows over time and is not a monolithic platform (such as the ERP solutions). I wonder if web analytics provider could make an impact by offering a solution like that. Some of the solutions offer APIs, but none really offers some kind of flexibility. The high-end products more or less integrate with email marketing programs or other 3rd party software, which is not really they way it should be. Again the growing mobile analyticsm market is something that nobody really was prepared of and solutions still have issues integration these different data sets.
IBM Cognos Finance:
Cognos Finance from IBM falls in the same category above. However, IBM-like there are always a few features that are unique:
The currency conversion feature allows to manage international exchange rates beginning and end of the month, average, historical and so on. Web analytics solutions especially are pretty unflexible when it comes to currency. Some of them are able to track the different accounts in different currencies (Omniture does). The different results of different country exchange rates usually cause quite a chaos within the roll-up account. Something that almost drove me crazy about 3 years back, when I tried to combine UK Pounds, Euros and USD within one analytics account.
Another feature, that I always missed in good analytics solutions is an advanced reporting functionality. Most solutions allow to create and schedule reports, but don't give the user the power to format and layout the entire report. Full formating and layout is something that Cognos Finance integrated. Especially with different KPI reports for several management levels it is important to be as flexible as possible.