Common Web Analytics Enhancements to SharePoint 2007

May 10 2010 10 comments

SharePoint 2007 out of the box usage reporting tools have been insufficient for many clients and many have chosen to purchase additional tools or build custom reports. This article introduces the most common enhancements that our clients in Finland have used.

Google Analytics and Snoobi are the most popular 3rd party tools in Finland

Most common enhancement we have seen has been of course Google Analytics. Many clients use Google Analytics for their public website even when they have purchased some other analytics tool.

Most popular public website analytics tools in Finland are Google Analytics and Snoobi. Snoobi is a finnish company which has a relatively competitive product which in some areas even beats Google Analytics (mainly because Snoobi has better company name recognition and integration to Finland’s corporate information database).

Snoobi also has another strenght compared to Google Analytics. Snoobi can be set to measure intranet usage. Many large finnish intranets are being measured with Snoobi and many of those intranets are running on SharePoint. Although when it comes to intranet usage reporting Snoobi does have one slight problem. Snoobi can only be used as a service and not everybody is comfortable with sending intranet usage statistics to 3rd party service.

Also it should be noted that Snoobi is not an ideal solution for intranet measuring since Snoobi’s features are not really designed for measuring internal services of companies.

Only few choices when it comes to on-premises solutions

Clients that require on-premises solution usually install some open source product like AWstats. Sometimes also commercial on-premises installations are used. In these cases the lightweight option for intranet measuring seems to be software called Mint. A bit heavier installation and price tag comes with Google’s Urchin.These products however are not anything special for SharePoint and can be used to measure any website.

Sometimes clients want to use a special measuring solution that is designed for SharePoint. This is called Nintex Reporting suite. Nintex’s product covers also monitoring needs and offers benefits for administrators also. The price tag is a bit heavy though compared to lighter alternatives which are also much easier to install.

Heavyweight solutions like Omniture/Adobe or WebTrends are rarely used in Finland.

Bottom line: Most clients decide to spend their money on analysis and not to the product. This makes Google Analytics and Snoobi the most interesting choices. Although Snoobi’s price tag is heavily related to volumes. The only SharePoint specialized measuring and reporting solution is Nintex Reporting, but even the starting price of Nintex is not for small companies.

Hosted solutions are suitable for open environments

Google Analytics and Snoobi are both very capable and user-friendly products. Setting them up to measure SharePoint sites is also just a matter of including a small piece of javasript code. They dont have any special reporting features for SharePoint and they dont care about security rights. But then again measuring content that is for limited audience should be considered twice in most organisations anyway.

Both Google Analytics and Snoobi can also be set to measure internal site search so that content producers do not need to access SharePoints search reports. Automatic email reports are also a important addition when there is a large network of content producers.

Typical custom reports that are built for SharePoint 2007 intranets

Most common custom reports done for SharePoint 2007 services are related to logging content production volumes and changes. The typical custom report made for an intranet solution is a report view titled “Last 30 days content editing activity”. The report shows a list style view of changes made to SharePoint pages and documents in that Site Collection. Report can be usually filtered so that only new content is shown, or only changes to existing content is shown, or only changes to pages are shown, or only changes to documents are shown. Typical one line report view is something like: “Office 2010 training calendar.aspx was updated by Perttu Tolvanen”. This kind of content production report can be very useful for intranet administrators and content producers who want to stay up to date what others are doing. This is also something that web analytics tools can not do out of the box and it is much easier to make a custom reports to SharePoint than try to build this kind of report view to 3rd party analytics tool.

Sometimes a similar activity report is also done to teamsite level so that team members can see a common view to all changes to teamsite content. This can be implemented for example as a “Activity report” web part that can be added to teamsite’s main page.

SharePoint 2010 has the potential to bring analytics to mass markets

The future of web analytics with SharePoint looks promising since SharePoint 2010 brings more analytics features straight out of the box. Also the ecosystem is expanding and more specialized solutions are expected. The need for custom reports will also probably stay since most customers that see the potential of analytics usually require more reports than basic tools can offer.

Also Google is developing their analytics product more “Microsoft-friendly”. For example Google just recently announced that Google Analytics can be set to measure Silverlight applications. And if SharePoint 2010 will be used as a web content management system even more than SharePoint 2007 was used then Google and other players probably will develop even more Microsoft specific enhancements.

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10 comments to “Common Web Analytics Enhancements to SharePoint 2007”

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  2. Another popular 3rd party tool that was not mentioned and is a very popular SharePoint Analytics tool is CardioLog. I recommend giving their product a test run with a free 30 day Enterprise trial or take the free Lite version for an indefinite amount of time.

    CardioLog is specialized for SharePoint and is an on-premise solution so you can own the sensitive data. Also, take a look at the added value of
    CardioLog vs SharePoint 2010 out of the box

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  4. One another sharepoint analytics tool – HarePoint Analytics for SharePoint –

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