Thursday, November 01, 2007

Management Shakeup at WebTrends

According to a news by Portland Business Journal CEO Greg Drew and three other executives at WebTrends Inc. have left the company. Details of their departure remain unclear.
The other executives that are missing from the list on the WebTrends site are Jason Palmer, vice president of product management; Tore Steen, vice president of business and corporate development; and Hamid Bahadori, vice president of product development and hosted operations.

Bruce T. Coleman, CEO of El Salto Advisors, a consulting firm that provides interim management to computer software and service companies is listed as the CEO of WebTrends.

According to the report, a number of former WebTrends employees believe that a quick sale of the company is imminent. They speculate that with its market share slipping, WebTrends management wanted to sell the company to its biggest rival, Omniture Inc., a publicly traded, $107 million company based in Orem, Utah.

Wow, this changes the whole web analytics landscape. Will Omniture buy WebTrends now? I believed that WebTrends was making a comeback and was ready to give Omniture a hard time but I guess I was wrong. Will Omniture buy them and coremetrics right now and just own the whole Web Analytics space?

Comments?

12 comments:

  1. I doubt Omniture would consider WebTrends as this point, they must've done evaluation and decided to go with VSCN/WSSI. My guess is the backend technology of WebTrends is completely different and would be very costly and take a longer time to integrate.

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  2. Actual Metrics2:18 PM

    NetIQ bought WT in 2001 for $1 Billion, then sold it to Francisco Partners (equity firm) for $94 Million in 2005. If the downward trend continues & the equity firm wants to cut their losses, Omniture might be able to pick up WT for a discount. It would give them access to a huge base of existing customers AND a software product.

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  3. Actual Metrics2:21 PM

    NetIQ bought WebTrends for $1 Billion in 2001, then sold it to an equity firm (Francisco Partners) for $94 million in 2005. Ouch. If the downward trend continues, Omniture might be able to acquire WebTrends for a discount -- it would give them access to a large customer base as well as a software product.

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  4. Anonymous3:20 PM

    If I remember correctly three of the four execs that were removed joined WebTrends just before they were spun out of NetIQ - so this is probably a good thing for them. The company seems to have grown significantly over the past two years and has some solid technology, fresh blood in the management may be what they need to make a run at the big green behemoth. I hope somebody does, we need more than one enterprise vendor in this space.

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  5. Anonymous3:37 PM

    As a former (recent) WebTrends employee I must say that this likely comes as little surprise to anybody in the company. It has been obvious to many within and close to the company that the dramatic loss of market share and missed sales targets were direct results of bad management and poor decision making. Starting about three years ago, the entire focus of the company has been in playing catch-up to Omniture, to no avail. There has been a torrent of departures from the company over the last year at all levels, including many highly talented and very experienced people. What is most surprising to me about this whole affair is that it didn't happen 6 months or a year ago. Kudos to Greg Drew and his newly-departed minions for their ability to keep their superiors at Francisco Partners hoodwinked for this long.

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  6. Dunno, Omniture doesn't always intend to integrate solutions. Instadia's ClientStep is going to be discontinued, for instance. I am a bit concerned that innovation will slow down if there isn't solid competition.

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  7. Anonymous6:57 AM

    Wild speculation and facts on the ground are, it turns out, two very different things. I am employed @ WebTrends presently, and can tell you that the change in management is a viewed positively by employees. The partners could have sold the company, which is a net positive asset in anyone’s eyes (consider the brand, customers, product set, years of exp. developing solutions in the verticals, 2X growth since divestiture, etc, etc.). But they chose the strategic move, retrenching, which will require further investment but reflects a longer-term view. The interior culture had eroded badly due to the lack of strategically cohesive vision, employee engagement, unity among the functional business units, and execution in the channel. The surgery performed removes the chief architects of the disaster that was our management team. Certainly the partners could now cut staff levels to improve the marketability of the company in the hope of selling. Omniture would be an unlikely suitor given the VS buy (cash, FCC, etc. make their being the only enterprise vendor in the space unlikely). If the worst that happened is acquisition by a better funded SW behemoth as a stand alone business unit I don’t think you’d hear much opposition from employees, and it could radically improve WebTrends position. Change happens in SW. This is just another new day for a company that has grown accustomed to high-velocity change.

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  8. I think Omniture would be foolish not to pick up WebTrends. WebTrends currently has the largest customer base of all the analytics vendors, and at their current value of 100 million, they would be a good deal. If they can spend just under 400 million for VS, another 100 million is not too much at all to truely define yourself as the market leader.

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  9. Anonymous8:38 AM

    It looks like a completely different story is coming out of the Biz Journal today:
    .
    http://www.bizjournals.com/portland/stories/2007/10/29/daily39.html?jst=b_ln_hl

    According to this WT has revenues in the $80M range so that would probably put them at a $250-300M buyout range given the current valuations in this market.

    In my mind, Omni bought the wrong analytics vendor.

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  10. 80% of the challenge in a successful acquisition is integration and integration is never as straightforward as the management would like to think it will be. The OMTR acquisition of VSCN will be the first merger of 2 pure play web serv ices companies of comparable size. My guess is that the synergies will be significant. On the other hand, WebTrends has far more baggage. Their legacy logfile analysis business is a dinosaur and upgrading customers to OMTR's SiteCatalyst product would be a larger challenge. OMTR made the right decision to acquire VSCN first. With WebTrends management implosion, larger clients will move quickly to OMTR on their own as their contracts expire and small clients will move even more quickly.

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  11. Sean Burton1:45 AM

    Certainly interesting.

    I doubt that Omniture would be looking to buy WT at the junction, and it would be a crying shame if they did.

    The competition between the two companies has driven the market forwards, and has resulted in numerous improvements for the end customer. That said that Web Analytics market is a long way from being truely 'customer friendly', with many end users' becoming increasing frustrated at the hype but actual lack of substance.

    It's fair to say that the next six months will be an interesting time, as we are already seeing a changing landscape in the market - increased consolidation at the high-end, but polarization at the lower and mid-range markets.

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  12. I was brought back to help fix up WebTrends, and I recently posted my thoughts on where it went off the rails. All in all, the company should have a bright future ahead!

    http://blog.rodkin.com/2008/02/management-and-company-culture.html

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I would like to hear your comments and questions.