SmarterStats

SmarterTools is an information technology management software company that builds applications to simplify and automate the operation of business. The company was founded in 2003 and is headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona. SmarterTools has created and distributes SmarterStats which is described on the company's website as follows: ''SmarterStats 4.x is a Web log analytics tool that cost-effectively delivers accurate and detailed Web site statistics for a single site or tens of thousands of sites across a distributed network. SmarterStats supports numerous log file types, such as Internet Information Server (IIS) and Apache on Windows and Linux Web servers. The unique methodology in which SmarterStats interprets and converts log files reduces disk space utilization up to 85% while creating an ideal platform for reporting statistics and data mining.''

Tim Uzzanti was named as CEO of SmarterTools in 2006. Derek Vaughan caught up with Mr. Uzzanti on behalf of Webanalyticsbook.com and learned more about the company's analytics products.

Derek Vaughan:
You transitioned out of web hosting into the field of website analytics - can you explain what motivated the change and how it's going?

Tim Uzzanti: SmarterTools makes three products: our SmarterStats Web site analytics, SmarterMail collaborative mail server, and SmarterTrack customer service software. My time founding and running a major Windows Web hosting company served as the inspiration for the creation of better products that hosters and businesses need. My background in application development made launching a software company to fill that need a natural fit for me.

Derek:
How does the SmarterStats package compete? That is, what makes your analytics product stand apart from the others in a somewhat crowded field?

Tim: SmarterStats is built from the ground up for hosting environment-tens of thousands of servers are not uncommon. Added to that is our dedication to continual improvement. We add new reports and features with every major and minor release. Our interface sets the standard for Web-based applications and the reports are reliable, graphically rich, and can be scheduled for email delivery. Plus, there are a host of other great features. SmarterStats is a very solid product.

Another important point that cannot be ignored is that the larger competitors have been purchased and wrapped into large industry titans-Microsoft with Deep Metrix, Google with Urchin, etc. It seems obvious that they are driving those applications into a new kind of revenue model-where the parent company gets access to the underlying data and either sells ads and/or markets directly based upon that information. Customer information is the most valuable asset a technology company has and I think that a lot of hosting companies and small businesses are waking up to that.


Derek:
Who should be looking at the SmarterStats analytics product?

Tim: We don't mean to sound cliché, but SmarterStats is for anyone who owns, designs, manages, or hosts Web sites. We have a free version for individual user-so that they can get all of the Enterprise-level features and functionality-all the way up to our 30,000-site license that can provide richly-rendered reports across distributed sites on both Windows and Linux servers.

Derek:
Can you talk about any recent improvements or upgrades to the product?

Tim: Version 4.x-which has been out since mid-2008-added new reports, dynamic Silverlight charts and graphs, a new log viewer, additional data mining, and a whole lot more. All of the new features have been very well received, but we probably get the most comments about the spider/bot reporting feature that allows users to accurately see which pages are being indexed and when. This feature also allows users to separate ''real'' visitor traffic from indexing traffic. This is a very useful tool that was added to the latest version.

Derek: What about any new features or changes we might expect to see in the near future?

Tim:
It is no secret that SmarterTools works for a 14 to 18 month major release cycle. We never give out specific details of features or delivery dates until we get in range of the final releases, but we have many innovative and exciting developments on tap for SmarterStats that will keep it on the forefront of analytics products for years to come. I guess I am saying ''stay tuned'' for now.

Derek: Are you looking at getting into any other areas in analytics - for example, mobile analytics?

Tim: SmarterStats supports mobile analytics now. However, we are looking at ways to provide even more data on mobile users. SmarterStats ability to count traffic from mobile devices is another significant advantage over our competitors. Our product does not rely solely on cookies and/or JavaScript like a lot of competing products, so SmarterStats counts every hit from a Smartphone, iPhone, iPod Touch, Blackberry, or other mobile device. As I mentioned previously, we have a long list of new features and improvements coming in the next major release of SmarterStats and we will release information on those as we get closer.

Derek: Anything else you want to mention at this time?

Tim:
It is an exciting time for SmarterTools. We just completed the addition of a new Tier 3 data center in preparation for hosted services-basically SaaS where we provide certain SmarterTools products from our own dedicated cloud. SmarterTools products have always been available as purchased and leased licenses and we see hosted software as a natural extension. It will provide customers one more way to buy and use SmarterTools software.

Derek Vaughan is a guest blogger here at Webanalyticsbook.com. The author would like to thank Tim Uzzanti for his contribution to this piece. Derek is an expert in VPS hosting services and is currently on the Advisory Board of HostingCon.com. If you want to be a guest blogger contact us.