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Real-time analytics for eZ Publish

Tuesday 16 April 2013 3:19:03 pm

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 This week at eZ, actually today, we officially release a new version of eZ Live Viewer, our real-time analytics solution. This new version (2.0) comes with a bunch of great new features that I believe interesting to discover, I’ll tell you more about that a bit below.

But first, why writing about it here, on share.ez.no? Well because first, of course, I believe it is a great added-value service that we provide on top of the eZ Platform, and that can be of interest to any eZ Publish user. But also because I see it as a good illustration of the way we want to develop eZ Publish as a product in the coming years. I believe it tells a lot on the direction we are taking for the whole platform. I am glad to be able to share about that and to collect feedback, in an open way!

 Added value ‘Optimization’ feature, provided as a Service but integrated in the platform

 As other extensions for eZ Publish Enterprise (such as eZ Recommendation Service or eZ odoscope), eZ Live Viewer is a solution that you need to subscribe to, and that is provided directly from the Cloud, as a Service. Unlike eZ Publish, it is not a piece of software that you will run on your servers.

We more and more see this as the best approach for us at eZ to develop new solutions: the core platform, which is the web content management -- eZ Publish, available as a software + added-value services delivered from the cloud to enable you to optimize the solution developed on top of eZ Publish. One of the reasons why we think this is a good approach: these services often require computing and storage capabilities that you don’t necessarily want to host yourself and manage (from a system point of view). In short, it is making things easier.

eZ Live Viewer 2, a simple to use real-time web analytics solution for content rich websites.

Now let me tell you a bit about eZ Live Viewer 2. In short, it is a simple to use real-time web analytics solution that focus on a few things:

A simple tool for non-analysts user

 This is a first important point, one of the mission of eZ Live Viewer 2 is to quickly inform non analysts of how the site performs. In that respect, it doesn’t overlap with odoscope or even Google Analytics. The goal is not to provide a full featured business intelligence platform to analyse and generate report on all historical data from your visitors with complex filtering. The goal is really to inform, alert and recommend editors and webmasters based on what is happening on the website.

A tool focusing on real time analysis

As it is only worth to act quickly on things that are still valid, the solution focuses only on what we call “real-time” analytics. To be honest it is not exactly real-time but basically based on a very short history (from a few minutes to an hour) and refreshed continuously every few seconds or minutes.

An optimization tool that alert and recommend actions to improve the site performance

Lastly, the direction we go is to make eZ Live Viewer a tool that not only focus on analysis and trending, but also delivers prediction and prescription. Gartner call this “predictive analytics” and “prescriptive analytics”. The idea here is to recommend to webmasters, editors, marketers simple actions that can result in concrete improvements on how the website performs. Typically, improving number of page views, engagement of readers or conversion rates. eZ Live Viewer 2 just introduced this kind of feature with this new release but will surely develop more and more capabilities of that kind.

The main Visited Article trend dashboard in eZ Live Viewer 2

eZ Live Viewer achieves all the above through a simple HTML5 based user interface that runs smoothly on many different screens, from the tablet of the managers to big TV screens that might be installed in news room of media company.

One point I would focus on, for this version is definitely the front page monitoring tool as this is brand new. This tool tells you how the content placed in your front page behaves and performs, to be able to identify stories that might not be appealing for your readers. It literally can tell you how one story performs compared to others but more than that, what could be the gain you could get from switching stories. This is the recommendation and prescriptive part of the solution!

Are you interested? Reach out to our team and give it a try!

This is not a software but a service, this also means you can’t download it and look at the code to know how it works, still we remain open in our approach: the service is available if you want to try it for 30 days by default. Please just reach to your eZ Systems contact and we’ll get back to you with the simple steps required to set up a trial. We will also of course make sure you understand in a bit more details what is the service. We will have in the next weeks an updated eZ Publish extension that makes it simple to install this on top of eZ Publish Enterprise, taking care of the authentication and the single sign on access to the service from the admin interface. The service is also independent enough to run by itself, without the extension and feel free to contact us from yesterday.

You can also have a look at this quick video:

Then, what’s next?

Well, this is just a new step forward. I think it is interesting to look at this new service having the future of eZ Publish in mind. In fact this is just the beginning... What we want to achieve with the eZ Platform is definitely to integrate more and more eZ Publish - the CMS with all these features related to Site Optimization (analytics, testing, recommendation, optimization intelligence...)

What we foresee for the future is to integrate them in the same editorial user interface, relying on a strong API layer. We recently have been spending two days working, eZ engineers as well as a small number of R&D partners, on prototyping and envisioning the future of the eZ Publish Platform and this was typically one of the topic we work on. See after some “raw” wireframes giving some ideas of how this could be integrated...

This is a way we think of integrating analytic based content recommendation in the “eZ Flow” block editing.

This is another way to integrate predictive analytics in block reorganisation using “eZ Flow”

This is an exciting topic for us to work on, and we really hope it makes a lot of sense for the whole eZ Publish community. Please feel free to comment below if you have any ideas, comments or things to say about Live Viewer and the question of integrating web analytics in eZ Publish!

Cheers,

Roland

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