On July 28th, Adobe announced that it was acquiring Day Software, a web content management vendor that also offers “web experience management” and asset management. Seen in the light of Adobe’s recent acquisition of Omniture, I think it’s clear that Adobe is carrying on Omniture’s mission to build a complete online marketing suite, as I predicted they would when I first wrote about the acquisition.
The vision, one can surmise from Omniture’s acquisitions and visible product strategy, was to create a closed-loop web management platform, that included content targeting and optimization, search and display marketing management, complex customer analysis via a warehouse (or warehouse-like product), and other commerce-enabling technologies. Data collection to empower automated decision making and optimization would enable the whole platform (Omniture’s core competency). What was missing, of course, was a true web-content management system (with a run-time for dynamically targeting and optimizing content) and some form of digital asset management.
The acquisition of Day Software is a significant step toward realization of this vision for Adobe. Day’s products provide web content management and asset management, and they have a run-time on which they’ve built content targeting. With that runtime already in place, it should be fairly easy to integrate more robust, data-driven targeting from Omniture. And, Day has been noted for their back-end savvy and integration prowess. I suspect that Day’s engineering team will have a lot to do with the products that result from this union, which is good, because while Omniture was great at strategy and execution, things could be a bit clunky on the product side.
Adobe has other assets that will probably be a part of this vision, too. Namely, Scene7, a provider of product visualization solutions.
Ultimately, this means that web data is taking another step out of the Web Analytics Department. As the unified web marketing / management platform begins to take hold, data collection will be automated (the run-time engine will generate tags dynamically at run-time – or simply bypass tagging and send data directly to the data-collection systems) and data analysis will be automated (personalization and optimization will be based on calculations and analyses done by the products themselves). As this happens, the role of the web analyst will be less and less about tactical optimization of content and marketing programs, and more about analyzing customer patterns to find new insights to drive marketing strategy. Essentially, the web analyst and the customer marketing analyst roles will begin to merge. If the role of web data analyst exists, it’ll probably be a specialty in the customer marketing group.
Of course, this vision of things is a long way out from being the norm. But I think we’re on that trajectory. And, smaller companies may never run things this way (unless Google decides to offer a unified web management platform – which isn’t too far fetched). In the mean time, smart web analysts will continue to have to straddle the fence between tactical optimization, and true, customer insight work.