There I was, minding my own business, trying to get a little work done, when out of nowhere the headline comes screaming across my screen: Adobe to Buy Omniture for $1.8 billion.
Mind you, in the spirit of full disclosure, IBM employs the services of a variety of analytics partners (including Omniture), but watching Adobe come in and purchase a Web analytics vendor seemed, on its face, downright nonsensical and disruptive.
That's because it is.
A PricewaterhouseCoopers, an Andersen, a Nielsen... all of those, I wouldn't have winced, because they would seem like nice, objective, measurement-oriented companies for which an Omniture would be a nice fit.
But to see a deal between one of the leading Web development technology providers and a leading metrics vendor... well, I didn't get it at first, but I think I'm starting to embrace the Shockwave.
Build the measurement capability as far upstream in the Web experience as possible, and you get the opportunity to measure its impact in the marketplace as far downstream as possible... and do so without the nasty intermediation of some third-party analysis partner, because now, you own the measurement tool!
Let's deconstruct for a moment the announcement spin:
Adobe's acquisition of Omniture furthers its mission to revolutionize the way the world engages with ideas and information. By combining Adobe's content creation tools and ubiquitous clients with Omniture's Web analytics, measurement and optimization technologies, Adobe will be well positioned to deliver solutions that can transform the future of engaging experiences and e-commerce across all digital content, platforms and devices
... For designers, developers and online marketers, an integrated workflow -- with optimization capabilities embedded in the creation tools -- will streamline the creation and delivery of relevant content and applications. This optimization will enable advertisers and advertising agencies, publishers, and e-tailers to realize greater ROI from their digital media investments and improve their end users' experiences.
No question, we marketers are always on the lookout for tools that can help us better understand the impact of our activities in the marketplace.
It's particularly key for the nascent digital marketer, where we're often in the position of still having to prove our worth in salt.
But methinks an Omniture alliance with a player which has one of the admittedly leading Web technology development solutions may be taking it a pixel too far, because the perception could be that the fox is guarding the henhouse, on both sides of the fence.
If Adobe is able to build the Omniture measurement widget into its products upstream of other vendors, might that not give them an unfair advantage?
Does it also not set the RIA market spinning off into a whole other direction as Microsoft and other vendors scramble to scoop up the remaining measurement crumbs (WebTrends, Coremetrics, etc.)?
Could that, in turn, lead to a Balkanization of Web metrics, just as we're seeing a shift of traditional-to-digital marketing spend?
Will we be able to continue to edge towards an apples-to-apples comparison that CMOs everywhere are just beginning to trust?
Only time will tell, but ZDNet's Larry Dignan ain't completely buying it.
He cites several analysts who think the two companies' business models won't make for smooth integration.
Citing Goldman Sachs analyst Sarah Friar:
The combination will be complicated by the company's differing business models. As a SaaS delivery model, Omniture recognizes revenue ratably over the life of a contract, where Adobe recognized revenue on a transactional basis.
Deutsche Bank analyst, Thomas Ernst Jr., seems to see it through a similar lens as I:
The end-game appears to be the ability to combine analytical capabilities into the creative process vs. today's approach of tagging web content after the content is created and deployed. We believe this is a strategic move that, in the near-term opens up Adobe's significant global customer footprint to Omniture's products, and in the long-term can represent an Adobe creative platform with embedded analytics, potentially a powerful differentiation.
For far too long, digital content development and market impact have had a woefully widened gap in the Web marketing industry, one that Omniture (and others) have been on their way to bridging.
You know the gap I'm talking about, the one where the CMO is looking for real empirical data before moving their Monopoly marketing money over to Digital Park Place?
There's no question Omniture has market-leading Web measurement and analytic capabilities that many of we digital marketers count on (pun intended) to help us make more intelligent marketing decisions.
I guess after this deal, many of us just want to be reassured that with Omniture becoming part of the Adobe family, the fox doesn't go into the henhouse and eat all the chickens (particularly those who don't wish to be penalized for not being full-on Adobe Web development shops).