Analytics. Google. Social networks. Marketing campaign. Business Intelligence. It takes strong nerves to deal with all this in the vibrant, growing web business. The first thing necessary is to be real-time aware of what happens within an enterprise. Here I have chosen as notable some of the most usable tools for helping to monitor, visualize and compare analytics’ data.
These short reviews are not about huge Business Intelligence applications. Rather I have tried to focus on single purpose services that are most usable in monitoring and visualizing data analytics. They do not set users up for a rough learning process, or tuning up multiple gauges. Rather, within 3-5 minutes, they enable users to set up a connection with a web service or database, choose a type of widget to set, and have traffic, performance, sales and social media reports on one or more dashboards.
1. Cyfe – configure and monitor online services with ease.
Cyfe is a cloud service that visualizes data both from installed online services and also from customer data sources. The service allows users to easily monitor and share business data from a single location in real-time. The dashboard pre-built widgets are of 12 categories (see the image below). Widgets are easy to add (create – plugin service – resize) and manage. For the WebAnalytics category, in addition, Google Analytics account users may choose also Alexa, Compete, GoSquared and others. The Social nets category allows one to plug in over 10 of the most popular nets. Cyfe also allows the user to configure several types of custom widgets based on the user’s CSV files. The service pulls the CSV file straight from a private URL or off of a PC to visualize the data. For WordPress evaluation, users will need to download and install the Cyfe plugin for WP.
After the 5th widget you’ll be prompted to sign up for the Premium account, thus getting unlimited dashboards and widgets. The Premium account allows the sharing of dashboards privately with team members and the sharing of read-only dashboards publicly on the web. The number of analytic categories has impressed me, yet other services do also provide a large variety of data sources for monitoring (see Ducksboard, Geckoboard).
2. Chart[io] both web analytics data and your own business data on one dashboard
The Chartio service allows users to pair web analytics (Google Analitics data) and real-time business databases in one screen. Chartio provides simple, secure connections to Google Analytics data along with the most popular data sources (see an image below). Creators and Administrators who can build and edit charts have primary access, while others just enjoy the real-time data dashboards. As regarding the service’s shortages, I would mention the absence of social networks’ data sources.
After connecting to a database, users may visually drag-and-drop the measures and dimensions using database fields to compose custom charts:
The visual chart creation from external databases certainly impressed me. I was interested to know if the service provided for composing charts with measures and dimensions mixed from BOTH custom databases (e.g. MySQL) and Google Analytics. The tech support explicitly replied to me: “…You can mix the data on the same chart, but you can’t actually write queries that combine both datasets. Google Analytics unfortunately doesn’t actually let you get the raw data at all…” This clarified for me the data visualization process.
3. Geckoboard – multiple online services on a dashboard
This modern monitoring cloud tool does provide quick connections to the multiple data services. As well as other similar tools it saves time in checking multiple services. Geckoboard has pre-built services to connect to. Those business services are presently of over 16 categories, including Social Networks (4 nets) and Web Analytics. The simplicity of connecting to the services and configuring the widgets really makes it a very usable tool.
The Geckoboard also allows users to create custom widgets to visualize private data. Regarding the shortages of this monitoring service, I mention the categories dropdown list issues.
4. Compose visitor survey for your website in 5 min
I have added this service as the best one for website survey composing. 4Q survey service generates and maintains the website customers’ surveys. In a few minutes you can:
- compose a visitor survey with pre-built, user defined features.
- copy a 3 lines generated code and insert it above the </BODY> tag of your site pages.
- get your website customer satisfaction and/or task completion info.
A 15 day trial is available. Plans start with the Basic Plan at $19/month, with 250 completed surveys processed in a month. Survey management and data acquisition are done at the online dashboard.