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Out of this year’s Omniture Summit came word that Omniture’s Excel integration product, Excel Client, would be evolved to integrate features of HBXs Report Builder
In late March I had the pleasure of speaking with Ray Rauch, Omniture’s Vice President, Customer Support, regarding the future of Excel Client, specifically regarding the Report Builder additions. Rauch spent four years with Visual Sciences prior to the acquisition and now and now works with customers currently engaged with or transitioning from HBX. His team is constantly listening to the thoughts, ideas and needs of clients.
In the beginning of our conversation, Rauch was surprisingly honest and quick to admit some of the superiorities of the HBX Report Builder tool over Excel Client. He noted that numerous clients he had conversed with touted the speed and flexibility of Report Builder. In both those respects Rauch explained that Excel Client has a “poor competitive advantage” and it was something they were aware of and working on.
Trying to get to the details of the tool convergence, I asked some very specific functionality questions during the interview. They included:
• Will copy and past using absolute or relative cells be added?
• Will the Excel Client interface remain in its current form or will it take no the look and feel of Report Builder?
• Will Excel Client adopt technology that will allow for the full range of Excel formatting capabilities of data blocks?
• Will it be possible to pull single numbers without any text as data blocks?
• Will functionality to Report Builder’s matching and trending be added to Excel Client?
In various ways Rauch acknowledged that just about all my questions were one that had come up in the past, but chose not to elaborate on any in particular. He suggested that additions along these lines are what Omniture is looking into for the next Excel Client update.
Despite mostly talking in generalities, what Rauch was willing to discuss did in fact turn out to be quite revealing. He said that a “…tremendous amount of really positive feedback and really great ideas…” has already been collected from clients to help dictate the product direction.
“Were really hoping…to look into how we can integrate those features of Report Builder into Excel Client. It’s pretty safe to say that we did not run across anything the customers said that they wanted, that they enjoyed in the Report Builder interface that we couldn’t do under Excel [Client] it’s just a matter of the timing of those specific features and how they’ll be integrated so were keenly interested… that ReportBuild has the best...features”
The convergence of the two product lines will not happen overnight. Omniture plans to
“…get the most important things out in the first iteration and then evolve the product.”
For the first step in converging the products Omniture appears to be more focused on speed than a comprehensive update as it, “may require a step back…so we can get it out quickly.” After the first update Rauch explained Omniture will, “Continue to develop that line and mask sure we work with customers over time.” Additional Report Builder functionality will be added, “If we get enough momentum and critical mass behind it…”
But talk is cheap, when can you expect to see Report Builder functionality in Excel Client? During our conversation Rauch pointed out that until very recently the two products were developed for many years in separate vacuums and have stark differences that go much deeper than functionality. Despite the challenges ahead of the Excel Client development team, Rauch sounded confident Report Builder functionality would be found in Excel Client “sooner than you think.”
Early next week- Thoughts, reaction and speculation for the future of Excel Client
Shortly after- Transitioning your HBX Excel reporting to Omniture Excel Client