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SAP NetWeaver Portal Analytics – A Complete Overview and Comparison of SAP Portal Analytics Tools: Part 3

  • May 22, 2014
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Part 1 of this three part series covered all the SAP NW Portal analytics products on the market. Part 2 went into the details of each specific tool in relation to important criteria that one should consider before purchasing or implementing into a company’s SAP Portal.  In part 3, Baris Oztop, a Computer Science Graduate student at Munich’s Technical University (TUM) will conclude his in-depth research:

Part 1: Overview of SAP Portal Analytics Products

  • Google Analytics
  • Google Urchin
  • Webtrends
  • SAP Portal Activity Report
  • SAP Activity Data Collector
  • Omniture SiteCatalyst (Adobe SiteCatalyst)
  • Click Stream by Sweetlets

Part 2: SAP Portal Analytics Product Comparisons

  • Proxies and Caches
  • Problematically Loaded Pages
  • Export Features
  • Cookies, JavaScript and Image Dependency
  • Real Time Reporting

Part 3: Conclusion to SAP Portal Analytics Overview Research:

  • Setup and Implementation Costs
  • Data Storage Time Frame
  • Reprocessing Analytics Data
  • User and Group Depended Reports
  • Intranet Optimization
  • Privacy Consideration of Visitors
  • Your Company’s Privacy Policy
  • Data Limitation

(The full pdf version of “A Complete Overview of SAP Portal Analytics Tools” coming soon.)

Setup and Implementation Costs

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a free tool; however a correct implementation and analyzing reports in case of erroneous data collection need keeping additional staff in your company for analytics. Simply adding Google’s tag on your portal won’t result readable reports unless you provide the necessary values e.g. correct navigation path names of your portal to Google. Therefore, using Google Analytics might seem a cheap solution at first, but it might be laborious task if you don’t have a simple web site.

Google Urchin

Urchin software installation is quite straightforward. It requires MySQL or PostgreSQL installation on your system, and created database to hold the analytics data in it. To generate analytics reports, Urchin needs visitor data found in the server log files in a specific order and amount. Currently, it supports 8 predefined log file types and allows you to create customized ones to specify the order of data that it looks for. If you pick to use urchin with its IP+User-Agent method, you just need to supply your portal server’s http access log files in a format that urchin can read. On the other hand, Urchin Traffic Monitor (UTM) method needs JavaScript tag added on your portal pages. Inserted JavaScript tag will generate a request to an invisible image file along with collected visitor data on its parameters. Hence, log files will also include this request that can be read by Urchin at the end. Using UTM method makes you to have a logging mechanism that can also able to write cookie information in the log files along with standard http requests. Otherwise, UTM method won’t generate any analytics reports.

Webtrends

Portal integration of Webtrends needs a project purchase.

Omniture SiteCatalyst

Portal integration of Omniture SiteCatalyst needs a project purchase.

Click Stream

Click Stream setup is SAP portal specific. Therefore, it includes installation of portal
package, and afterwards adding the JavaScript tracking iView to the framework page of your portal, and assigning the roles to the users who is going to use the application.

Data Storage Time Frame

Analytics reports make sense when you have a projection of an enough time period in your
hand. Therefore, you can make the comparison between past and now to enhance your portal. Analyzing the server log files is easier way to keep track of history, but page tagging vendors should also offer an enough time period that satisfy your historical data comparison expectation.

Google Analytics

Google doesn’t guarantee to keep your data older than 25 months on their server. If you want to keep your reports for longer period, which should be the case for portal analytics, you need to export them locally into one of the available file formats.

Google Urchin

Urchin keeps the analytics data in MySQL or PostgreSQL on a machine that you
assigned. Therefore, data storage time frame depends on your system specifications.
Nevertheless, Urchin applies size limitation on each table available in the database for
performance reasons.

Webtrends

Webtrends On Demands license determine the data storage time frame of your reports. For the software version, Webtrends On Premises, it depends on your analytics server.

Omniture SiteCatalyst

The purchased license determines the data storage frame.

Click Stream

There is no limitation on data storage frame with Click Stream.

Reprocessing Analytics Data

It is not always the case that your portal sends correct analytics data to process. There might be various reasons such that portal maintenance period, or an error that you haven’t noticed. So, the common expectation should be that your analytics vendor should offer an option to discard erroneous collected data. As a result, your reports won’t be affected from those erroneous data.

Google Analytics

Collected data with GATC are added onto the latest report at Google Analytics, and this process cannot be interrupted in case of any erroneous data collection due to problems on your portal or page tagging. Therefore, your reports will have the erroneous information on them, and Google Analytics doesn’t allow editing the reports to take them to an earlier state.

Google Urchin

By providing the raw log files to Urchin, reprocessing can be done. But, it has a
mechanism to avoid already processed data to process again, which might be required
to remove all data resides in Urchin database and reprocess again.

Webtrends

Software version of web trends allows you to backup and restore the analytics data, and this can be done on schedule basis. However, this is not provided solution for edit the collected data and reprocess.

Omniture SiteCatalyst

Omniture SiteCatalyst doesn’t offer any data reprocessing option.

Click Stream

Collected analytics data resides in the database that customer provided. Therefore, it is possible to edit the collected data. However, this might require support from the vendor.

User and Group Depended Reports

You can take the advantage of the insight that comes from individual visitors’ usage attitudes. This might give such valuable information like click path of users on your portal and user activity reports including comparison of each user.

Google Analytics

Because of Google’s privacy policy, you cannot track individual users of your portal. All the visitor data are uploaded to the Google’s data-gathering servers in an aggregate
manner and anonymously.

Google Urchin

If your selected log file format allows including user name information too, you can get the visiting rates and downloaded bytes of individual users.

Webtrends

Webtrends allows user depended reports by customizing JavaScript tags, and passing
the user information via webtrends’ tag parameters. If your portal doesn’t provide user information, you can still use this parameter with the other identifier values (IP address and time stamp) provided by data collection server.

Omniture SiteCatalyst

Omniture SiteCatalyst doesn’t provide any individual user related information.

Click Stream

Click Stream provides rich user depended reports. These include duration, number of
pageviews, portal user id, name of the user, activities of roles and groups in the portal,
countries and cities of the users, and if it’s defined, company and their departments
activity information are reported. Portal administrator can decide if the anonymization of the collected data as well. Therefore, user information like name and userid won’t be exposed in the reports.

Intranet Optimization

You might have corporate portal for different departments of your company in your intranet, and even it might be behind a firewall to keep the corporate data safer. In this situation, you cannot track your portal visitors with an on demand analytics vendor; because, they need to send analytics data to the vendor’s data collection servers via Internet.

Google Analytics

It is not possible to use Google Analytics on your intranet, which is closed for internet
access or behind a firewall. Because, Google’s tracing code cannot send any data to the
Google’s data collection servers in both situations.

Google Urchin

Urchin processes log files to generate reports, and its user interface allows you to
provide log files by browsing or with other 4 different methods i.e. FTP HTTP HTTPS or UNC pathnames. So, you will be able to use it in your intranet as long as you specify the log file’s path.

Webtrends

Webtrends offers the software SmartSource Data Collector (SDC) to forward the visitor data coming from page tags into a server that you dedicate. Its limitation is that it allows you to use Microsoft IIS on windows environment, and with some limitation Apache web server on Linux environment.

Omniture SiteCatalyst

Omniture SiteCatalyst is an on-demand analytics vendor; therefore it needs to connect
to Adobe’s data collection servers.

Click Stream

Click Stream doesn’t need internet connection to collect analytics data. Because, it
collects the analytics data into the database that you provided.

Privacy Consideration of Visitors

Adblock can block specific JavaScript libraries for tracking

Adblock can block specific JavaScript libraries for tracking

Thanks to the today’s media, web users are more aware and concern about their privacy on
Internet. Client-side tools make the portal users aware of it through the additional DNS look-up to connect to the data collection servers or through inserted cookies on computers by analytics vendors. Most simple method to realize these data-gathering server calls is their URLs appearing on page loading on the status bar of browsers. It is also known that user behavior might be affected under the knowledge of that they are being tracked, as well as they might complain about tracking their visits on web. Visitors’ concerns might lead them to disable JavaScript support of their browser or block cookies. Browser add-ons like “AdBlock Plus” can even block some analytics vendors’ script by default depending on users’ filter subscription. In those cases, you need to prefer a server-side analytics solution, which collects data from the requests coming to the server where portal pages are hosted.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a client-side tool, which makes the portal user aware of it through the additional requested GATC’s URL on page loading or created Google Analytics cookies on user’s disk. As mentioned above, visitors can disable JavaScript support of their browser or block Google’s cookies.

Google Urchin

If you are using Urchin with its UTM method, it will collect the user data from the
JavaScript code that you added on your portal pages. Therefore, same consideration
resulted from Google Analytics are valid in here as well. However, with IP+User-Agent
method, data collection only depends to the available server-side information. This will give limited analytics information, but will avoid the issues that might skew your reports.

Webtrends

Webtrends On Demands and On Premises use page tagging method on the client-side.
Therefore, portal user aware them with additional DNS look ups and created cookies. In case of lack of JavaScript support to collect the visitor information with page tags,
Webtrends make it possible to send some of the visitor information via HTTP requests
without using script. This method is implemented on the server-side instead of clientside, therefore implementation depends which server technology you use. Because, you have to supply the necessary information from your server to the Webtrends HTML request as parameters.

Omniture SiteCatalyst

Omniture SiteCatalyst uses page tagging method on the client-side. Therefore, portal
user aware them with additional DNS lookups and created cookies.

Click Stream

Click Stream is installed as a software package to the portal. Therefore there won’t be
any additional DNS call, but only to the portal’s server. As it’s mentioned under the title of User Depended Reports, Click Stream can collect detailed information about the portal users. However, anonymization feature of Click Stream does anonymized data reporting and collection.

Your Company’s Privacy Policy

Google Analytics Data Sharing Settings

Google Analytics Data Sharing Settings

Page tagging option makes the data collection and processing belongs to the vendors. This
might be preferable if you believe that sending your analytics data to the third parties won’t be a problem, as well as if you are trying to avoid maintaining additional hardware and software for analytics purposes in your company. On the other hand, you may have concerns related with sharing your analytics data with third parties. In this case, you need to prefer a server-side analytics solution by keeping the analytics data in the border of your corporate.

Google Analytics

With Google Analytics, data collecting and processing belongs to Google. Besides,
Google might share your analytics information with other Google services and third
parties. This is an optional case that users can decide it the offered options i.e. “with
Google products only” or “Anonymously with Google and others” under analytics
settings. [Image:GA_Data_Sharing.jpg]

Google Urchin

Both data collection methods of Urchin write the analytics data into a database that you created on your machine. The only internet connection that Urchin needs to verify the license that you’ve purchased. As a result, if you have consideration of sharing your analytics data with the vendors, Urchin might be an option for you.

Webtrends

Webtrends On Demand works in the same way that Google Analytics works. So, you
send your analytics data collected from visitors’ browser to the Webtrends data collection servers. On the other hand, Webtrends offers the software SmartSource Data Collector (SDC) to do the data collection work to a server that you have decided.

Omniture SiteCatalyst

Omniture SiteCatalyst sends the collected analytics data to Adobe’s data collection
servers.

Click Stream

Click Stream collects the analytics data into a server that you have decided. Currently
supported DBMSs are MS SQL, Oracle, IBM DB2, and SAP’s MaxDB. While you
dedicate a separate database for the Click Stream, you can also use your existence
database.

Data Limitation

Your analytic vendor might apply some limits to the analytics data that your portal pages send.

Google Analytics

There is also a limitation with the “hits” that your web site sends. According to Google
“Each pageview, ecommerce transaction, custom variable or event triggered on your site sends a hit to Google Analytics.” and “…a single view of a web page can send multiple hits to Google Analytics”. If your portal sends “hits” more than 10 million each month, exceeding number of hits might not be processed unless you are a Google AdWords customer. Again, if your web site sends 1 million hits per day, your report will be updated once a day, which results updating of some metrics every two days.

Google Urchin

Only limitation that comes with Urchin is the one that it applies to the tables available in it database that it uses. Urchin 7 allows setting this record limit from 10,000 to 10,000,000. Database tables are archived monthly, and if your reports reach this limit before the rotation, your upcoming analytics data will be ignored.

Webtrends

Some of the reporting capabilities of Webtrends On Demand and On Premises are
decided by the license that is purchased. These are which type of report you can use
with your analytics data among their different report offers, the number of service calls to the data collection server during a period of time, and the number of reports that you can export. User interface also allows the user to check the number of server calls collected in an account. Another limitation comes with the tables’ size. These tables are the ones displayed when you viewed reports on your screen, and the tables that those reports fetch data. Both tables have size limit that when you reach it, your analytics data will be lost including performance problems. For On Demand version, you need to request a table size increase from their support, and for the software version you can increase them from user interface.

Omniture SiteCatalyst

The license that you purchased determines the reporting capabilities.

Click Stream

There is no feature limitation after purchasing Click Stream’s license, which is defined
according to number of portal users. However, the product support is sold separately.

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.

 

Sources:

  • SAP Portal Activity Report (PAR)
    • Online resources have been removed
  • Omniture
    • Online resources have been removed
  • Google Analytics
    • Online resources have been removed
  • Google Urchin
    • Online resources have been removed

 



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