Plumtree launches portal analytics

Von Cathleen Moore

Plumtree Software Inc. on Monday rolled out a new product designed to give IT administrators real-time reporting information about portal usage and activity.

The Plumtree Analytics Server integrates with the Plumtree Corporate Portal to track community traffic, portlet traffic, searched keywords, response times, and usage behavior.

The ability to track how the portal is being used and what specific user communities are doing when logged on to the portal is a vital step toward maximizing ROI from the portal investment, according to Andrew Dunning, director of product marketing at Plumtree.

"To be able to report this information is a key capability. With tight budgets and resources, (enterprises) want to get the return on the investment and see where the portal is returning value," Dunning said.

For example, if usage trends show that one department is not using the portal or not finding results from searches, administrators can make an adjustment to the portal, Dunning said.

According to Ray Valdes, research director at Gartner, at least one-third of all enterprise portal deployments are what Gartner calls "Teflon" portals, which means the portal is not sticky to users. It looks on paper like a successful portal deployment but users do not adopt it, he said.

"It is a problem that (enterprises) don"t realize they have. To the casual observer (the portal) looks successful but when you run the numbers and look at adoption patterns you realize it is costing you too much per user. Unless you have user adoption, your cost per user is very high," Valdes said.

Analytics tools that are deeply integrated into the portal, providing portal-level intelligence about user behavior, can help an organization make its portal deployment more effective, Valdes added.

"It is important that managers of portal deployments know who is using the portal and why it is being used and not being used. Conventional low level usage tracking based on HTTP logs does not satisfy those requirements," Valdes said.

According to Plumtree"s Dunning, traditional Web analytics tools are great for Web sites but don"t do well with portals because you don"t get enough information about what portal users are doing in a page and which portlets they are interacting with.

The Analytics Server also can help portal managers to intelligently direct IT resources and budget, Dunning said.

"If you are looking to build new applications you need to know which ones to build. Usage metrics gives you strong indication about what you need to do next," Dunning said.

The Analytics Server can also be used for usage correlation among departments, offices, regions, user type or any other user-defined profile attribute, according to Plumtree officials. Grouping and filtering features let a portal administrator group information by guest, time period, and profile data; and filter by date range, object, top values, bottom values and user profile attribute.

For extranet portal deployments, the Analytics Server can help a company better understand what its customers and partners are looking for, and in some cases not finding, in the portal, according to Dunning.