As I stepped out of a meeting downtown and onto the train to head home, I was pretty shocked to see a significant amount of missed calls and about twice as many emails than I typically get during that timeframe. Little did I know that Omniture would be making news again, which I’m sure shocked many of you as well. My initial thought was “This makes no sense at all,” but as I’ve taken some time to think it through, there might be something to this acquisition after all.
I think the part that shocked me most is that I always envisioned someone like Omniture being acquired by an Oracle as a BI tool. But, if you think about the approach Omniture has taken as of late, this makes sense. Omniture has been all about the marketer, which has been all the more evident since the last Summit with the unveiling of the Online Marketing Suite. When you look at products like Test and Target, Recommendations, etc. you’ll notice that Omniture’s focus has been on delivering flexibility and dynamic (optimized) content to its client’s visitors. Just ask StubHub or Under Armour and they’ll tell you that.
Enter Adobe. Omniture’s plug-ins have made the tracking of Flash, Flex and the like much easier for its customers. In all reality, they are the only vendor to have made such strides to date. When you think of Adobe’s suite of products, it’s not hard to imagine how much easier it will be to close the loop on interactions within those products as it pertains to the overall user experience. To take it a step further, the monetization of these interactions becomes much more feasible due to having the Online Marketing Suite integrated within.
Taking a step away from the obvious products that will benefit (Air, Flex, Flash), I think there is another product that might benefit considerably from this acquisition. Scene7 (http://www.scene7.com), for those of you unfamiliar, is a SaaS platform that automates media delivery. Think of the power a marketer can have combining this solution with Test and Target or Recommendations. Taking a dynamic content engine and adding optimization, while integrating it with your email and other marketing touch points is a game changer.
Now, I don’t think this acquisition is all smiles and handshakes for everyone involved. Current clients, and more importantly clients going through an RFP process right now with Omniture, might be a little turned off. Omniture obviously is going to be consumed with this acquisition, and the product roadmap has become even more muddied than it already was. You’d have to imagine that there will be a lot of questions from clients, probably more so from those on Omniture Insight (formerly Visual Sciences) since they have really been put through the ringer over the last couple years. Not to mention that a common gripe with Omniture is their support, or lack thereof, and I can’t see that getting any better in the short term either.
From an industry standpoint, it has been quite a roller coaster ride. We’ve seen Omniture acquire analytics vendors (Visual Sciences) and products (Touch Clarity, Offermatica, Mercado, etc.), which has made them the 800lb gorilla in the space. When you look at their competition, you have Webtrends, Unica, Yahoo! Analytics, Google Analytics, and Coremetrics to name a few. With Core not making much noise these days in the analytics space (are they next to be acquired?) this really leaves an opportunity for the rest to take advantage of the potential disgruntled clients in the short term before Adobe gets everything squared away.
If I was an Omniture customer right now, would I be worried? No, not really. It’s not like the product suite is just going to disappear and leave you stranded. However, as the product roadmap is unveiled, will it be too heavily focused on RIA and the Adobe suite? Will clients that aren’t playing in that space, or whose core business isn’t impacted by that space, change vendors to be with someone not as specialized? Potentially. Similar to their shift towards closing the loop for marketers, Omniture is going to become a focused suite for the enterprise.
It’s going to be exciting to see how this plays out, and it begs the question of who will be the vendor to go the BI route? Will Adobe sell off any of the Omniture products that don’t fit the roadmap? In a perfect world, I’d like to see more development around the Visual Sciences Platform. If Adobe has no plans to build out that product, then I'd like to see it sold to someone like Oracle. I'm looking forward to seeing how things unfold in the coming weeks. Congratulations everyone on the acquisition and I wish both companies the best.