With the various SAP NetWeaver Portal analytics products on the market, comparing and selecting the best tool that fits your company requirements can be an overwhelming and daunting task. Easy to read reports, secure data storage, proxies, caches and just the sheer setup and implementation costs are only a few of the questions that you need answers to.
Baris Oztop, a Computer Science Graduate student at Technical University of Munich, Germany (TUM) compiled an independent research of the different SAP Portal statistical tools on the market. Sweetlets granted Baris full access to our software and a test infrastructure for his studies in exchange for his deep, objective insight into this often asked question, but no complete resource on.
We hope this portal analytics overview helps you on your search to find the most suitable SAP Portal Analytics product for you and your company.
Due to the length of his findings, we will present his research in three parts:
(The full pdf version of “A Complete Overview of SAP Portal Analytics Tools” coming soon.)
On with part 1 …
There are two main methods to collect data for general analytics purposes to get statistical
information about the visitors in your portal:
- Page tagging
- Server log files
Collecting data from server log files is a server-side method, which relies on the log entries created upon requests of pages from the web server. Those log files are then interpreted by a web log analysis software to build analytics report of your portal. Even though, there are several standard log file formats depending on your web server, many Web analytics tools are able to create reports from different log file formats as long as they contain the required information.
Both methods have their own advantages and disadvantages, and combination of both methods is also possible. This white paper aims to give you the key points of those two methods, and compare the well-known portal analytics products currently available in the market.
Google Analytics uses page tagging method to collect user information. It is mainly targeted at advertisers to analyze if their advertising model works as expected. Google provides this service for free with the expectation that you are a potential customer of Google through its advertising products, AdWords and AdSense. Therefore, it provides strong integration with those products.
Google Urchin gathers the analytics data from the server log files. It offers two methods while doing this: Either it can process the standard log information created by portal web server or it can enhance this standard information by adding page tags into your portal pages. At the end, Google Urchin will read the available information in your server log files depending on the method you picked according to your business need. Google Urchin is discontinued, and its sales ended on March 28th, 2012.
Webtrends gathers the analytical data from both page tagging and server log files with their software as a service “Webtrends Analytics On Demand” or with software “Webtrends Analytics On Premises (Webtrends Analytics Software)”. Page tagging solution of Webtrends works the same way as Google Analytics does. However, Webtrends offers the software, “SmartSource Data Collector (SDC)”, to let you to use your own server to collect the analytics data coming from page tags. So, instead of using Webtrends, you can dedicate a server for SDC, and page tags will forward the data to those servers, instead of Webtrends’ servers.
One of the build-in tool that comes with SAP Portal is SAP Portal Activity Report. It gathers some statistics about the logged in users and the content that was viewed. Collected data for Portal Activity Reports are stored in portal database, and there is an iView template to view the reports.
iView template allows to set three different type of reports. These are (1) Number of logged in users (2) Details about them including their first log on time, id, type of log on and hits (3) Page/iView activity, information about hits, users and date/time on specified pages and iViews.
All type of reports has one common setting for deciding reporting time period. This period can be the current day activity with specified time range, most recent activity in last hours, days or weeks, and finally a specified period of days with selected time.
Portal Activity Report offers a CSV file export options on each reports.
SAP Portal also offers predefined portal activity reports for system administrators. These reports include “Last Week’s 10 Most Popular iViews/Pages”, “Number of Users in the Last 3 Hours” and “10 Most Active Users”.
SAP Activity Data Collector (ADC) supplies more advanced statistics of SAP Portal comparing with Portal Activity Report. ADC monitors each portal request and maintains detailed information related with those requests. However, it writes collected information into raw text files instead of displaying on the portal as SAP Portal Activity Report does.
You can specify which type of information it stores, where those data files are stored and the format of written information i.e. how they are written into the data files. Those settings can be modified under “Service Configuration” of SAP Portal. Newer versions of the portal, EP 702 SP8 and above, offer an editor to modify those settings in a more user friendly manner.
You can specify to store statistics like browser type, iView name, name of the logged-on user, user type, navigation path of the iView/page, portal component triggered by the request, time of request and so some other data types (for the full list you can refer to the help.sap.com).
Another ability of ADC is to keep statistics about Knowledge Management (KM). You have to enable this feature additionally after enabling ADC. With KM monitoring, you can trace read, create, edit, delete, rename, copy and move operations.
Omniture SiteCatalyst uses page tagging to gather the analytical data into the Adobe’s data collection servers.
Comparing with other analytics vendors, Click Stream is limited for SAP Portals. Therefore, it has additional analytical data collection methods in addition to standard page tagging. These methods make use of SAP Portal specific APIs i.e. User Management Engine (UME) API and Portal Content Directory (PCD). It is installed as portal component, therefore no need to add additional page tagging code to the portal.
Continue reading Part 2: SAP Portal Analytics Product Comparisons. We examine each of the different portal tools in detail:
Or jump ahead to part 3 where Baris concludes his research and covers the remaining topics:
Should you have any questions or wish for some additional information into gathering statistics (user history, page view details, etc) for your SAP NetWeaver Portal, please contact us at or leave a comment below.
We wish to thank Baris Oztop for his significant amount of time he put into providing such a great resource on this topic.