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Adobe Omniture Summit 2011

adobe omniture summit 2011This March I attended Adobe Omniture Summit for the first time. As I expected it was a conference for individuals who currently using the Adobe Online Marketing Suite and needed assistance in understanding concepts and best practices for use. My hopes for the conference were to understand advanced sitecatalyst and test and target implementation techniques, however I believe Adobe may have wanted us to use their consulting services for those implications.
Upon arrival in Salt Lake City we (my boss and myself) had to acquire transportation via Hertz. When we arrived at the front desk they notified us that the vehicle type that we requested was unavailable so we recieved a complimentary upgrade to a Cadillac DTS. Arriving at our hotel at 1:00 A.M. (Utah time) sleep was imminently following check-in. The next morning, we arrived at the Grand American Hotel which hosted the conference and realized that Adobe and the hotel had put great effort into the details of planning this event. Doors, floormats, walls, and everything else imaginable was embroidered with Adobe branding. Upon check-in we recieved a notification that we recieved a free prize which was an Insignia 5 megapixel camcorder (which was embroidered with Adobe Omniture Summit 2011 on the side).
The keynote wasn’t as compelling and energetic as I had expected for such a large conference (over 2,500 attendees), but was enough to keep my freshly turned east-coast to west-side eyes open.
Breakout sessions followed soon after where I attended “How To Maintain a High-Quality SiteCatalyst Implementation” which brought up very interesting ponits in regards to building a web analytics implementation and code maintenance strategy. The presenter from Ford (Mark Coleman, Digital Optimization and Analytics Manager) shared a document which I thought would be a nice addittion to any web analytics team. (I’ll try to show an example later). Lunch quickly followed the session where I was joined by Analysts from Overstock.com and Forbes.com which ironically were both hit hard by the Google Content Farmer update. I did inquire about how it impacted their businesses but there was little to no reply on the subject.
After lunch, I decided to attend a server-side code session “Go Server-Side: Leveraging the Data Insertion API and Measurement Libraries” where the focus was on Adobe’s data insertion api and how to correclty code for it. The main takeaway from this session was that http post should replace javascript and that new mini-servers placed around the world are going to be used by Adobe Omniture for data forwarding into the main US servers.
After this session my boss and I decided it was a great time to take a break and catch up on sleep so we retired to our hotel for a short nap. We awoke with the plan to head back to the conference so we can be taken to the private party where Lenny Kravitz would be playing for us. The amount of food and free drinks in this event were enough to make every attendee pleased at the level of service Adobe delivers to its customers. After a few songs we decided it was time to retire for the evening because the conference and sessions began early the next morning.
Thursday was the last actual day of the conference and I intended to get the most out of it as possible. The keynote with Brad Rencher was much better than yesterday by showing an interesting multi-channel online marketing initiative by PacSun which Adobe helped with. The second presenter John Gerzema was even better who helped the audience understand what digital is doing to individuals and small companies during this recession. The session I attended following the keynote was “Validating Data Integrity Post-Implementation to ensure confidence in your analysis” which obviously discussed how implementations can affect data integrity. I was expecting more discussion about how sample sizes effect the validity of our analytical findings, but the current subject matter still interested me. The folks at McAfee provided an interesting case study of how they implemented their analytics and how their small-business unit had to reach out and work with the rest of the company to ensure their analyitcs tagging processes were following the now new documented process. The idea of documenting and trying to create an analytics implementation process is very important when working with advanced tagging techniques because incorrect tagging or a lack of testing can make your analytics lead you to incorrect assumptions in your analysis.
The following session was about getting the most out of Sitecatalyst “Adobe SiteCatalyst: The Essentials”. The session was basically for beginners (which I did not know beforehand) but allowed me understand how many other analysts and companies weren’t getting the most out of the tool they were paying money for. The presenter focused on calculated metrics, publishing lists, and SAINT classifications (all of which are great tools within SiteCatalyst!).
The next session I attended was the “Let’s Test it –Testing Strategies to Improve Visitor Conversion” which focused on a/b..n and MVT testing. Kripa from Adobe provided the audience with an interesting case-study of Bass Pro Shops. The main takeaway from the presentation was to create an interative testing processes whereby you build off of learnings from previous tests to improve visitor experience and conversion.
Following Kripa’s session our company’s meeting with our personal account executive, account manager, and to my suprise (Kripa) who would be our Adobe Digital consultant. They soon took my boss and myself out to dinner at Bamboza (a very nice American restaraunt in downtown Salt Lake city, Utah). There we met with other companies in the financial industry whom use Adobe Online Marketing Suite products as well as some other members of the Adobe team. The conversation, food, and company were excellent and made me feel blessed to have such a great job working with wonderful people in an exciting industry.
The next day we decided to take it easy and drive through the mountains and get a good glimpse of the beautiful landscape that Utah had to offer. We visited Park City where the ski resorts are, visited the Olympic Park where the olympic games were previously held, and then decided to try to get my boss an iPad back in the city. The flight home to Cincinnati made me think of my future as an analyst, how much learning I have to do, and how blessed I am to have a job in a data-driven organization in a field where data is king when put into context as information and knowledge.

Information Systems Development – The Developer’s Psyche

Information systems are developed to handle inputs, do some sort of processing, and display the outputs. After reading an old article by Mason & Mitroff about information systems design, I realize what is wrong. Developers historically and currently create systems with outputs visualized in a way that they see the business requirements should be.

System with output products should display information and data in a variety of ways which best suite the end users. The issue that arises out of this idea is a matter of redundancy. How we get around that seems somewhat simple. In one view give a snapshot of whats happening now, in another view show a trend of how things are and have been, and in another show just the raw data set.

business information systems

The whole gap between developer’s desired output displays and  end-users can closed by spending more time in the planning and analysis phase of the Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC). As project managers, project sponsors, and owners we should all allow more time for planning and analysis so the end product is better in the first revision. Not spending the appropriate amount of time in these phases will keep developers working as janitors and potentially cause projects to have scope grope – and we don’t want any of those things.

Writing a Delimited File

Using the following code structure in Visual Basic will allow you to capture your data and store it as a delimited file for database purposes. This is great for those who want to create web forms and connect it to a database where you can extract the data as CSV.

Public Shared Sub WriteIntegerList( _
ByRef argArray() As Integer, _ ByVal argFile As String)
Dim CurrentStream As New StreamWriter(argFile)
Dim CurrentIndex As Integer
For CurrentIndex = 0 To argArray.GetUpperBound(0)
CurrentStream.Write(argArray(CurrentIndex))
If CurrentIndex <> _ argArray.GetUpperBound(0) Then
CurrentStream.Write(",")
End If
Next
CurrentStream.Close()
End Function

2000 tweets later…

I’m not a writer by any means. Hell, I can’t consider myself a blogger. But the small blips of 140 characters or less seem to be just perfect for a quiet guy like me. I first joined twitter on 6/13/09 just because my previous boss told me I have to. Now, looking back I can’t believe I’ve been missing out on all the people, places, and events I could have been with all along. So today I feel the need to share a few of those memories that I’ll never forget.

Hello world!

Adam C. eating ice cream. Hello world! My name is Adam & this is my first blog/blog entry so I figured I’de let you know a little bit about myself. I’m a  college kid living just outside of Cincinnati, Ohio. I like to fish, ride dirt bikes/motorcycles, practice jiu jitsu, and learn about basically anything. I am on twitter and have been becoming more and more involved in social media. I am studying Business Informatics at Northern Kentucky University, and I am expected to graduate next May. I have some experience in programming (mostly xhtml, css, vb, vb.net, and sql), sales (cell phones, advertising), and most recently – search engine optimization. While currently unemployed, I have been looking for a job, but my school schedule seems to get in the way of most full-time and even part-time jobs.

The reason I started this blog was mainly to find a place to put my random facts that I have usually put on facebook. I would also like to post up some videos in the next few months describing how to publish vb.net programs, set up analytics for websites, and how to fix basic computer issues. Hopefully this will be a better outlet for my energy and in the mean-time I will get to know those of you reading this!

Thanks for stopping by -me.