Tool Keeps Web Sites In Shape
Watchfire with its WebXM framework sits in a unique niche between site performance measurement companies such as Mercury Interactive Corp. and content management firms such as Vignette, which provide tools to create, organize and publish the actual content.
"We arent involved in creation or organization control. We actually have software to analyze whats going on within the content infrastructure to identify overall site health issues," described Mike Weider, founder and chairman of the Ottawa-based firm.
Few if any competitors offer the comprehensive approach to testing a Web site for a variety of content issues, said Kurt Schlegal, research analyst at Meta Group, in Stamford, Conn.
"Some competitors do broken links, others focus on privacy or various areas. Theyre one of the few that do a lot of it. They are still a very small vendor, but they have a good story to tell," Schlegal said.
Watchfire, which includes Dell Computer Corp., Morgan Stanley and CNN among its customers, targets companies with large, extensive Web sites. WebXM automates functions that many such organizations attempt manually.
"Companies send people to manually click on every page to see if things are working right," said Weider.
WebXM automatically searches for broken links to Web applications, checks for navigation issues, and searches for inconsistency in the design templates of the site. It can also be used to assess whether a site is consistent with stated privacy or security policies.
The WebXM framework, which can also tie into other systems for content management or infrastructure management, is intended to help large companies in their quest to consolidate and rationalize large scale Web sites that have been created by many different groups within the organization.
"Many of our customers have several hundred sites with hundreds or thousands contributing to content. They may have 10 million documents spread across all these Web sites, and they may not know what they own," said Weider. "People are trying to consolidate those, make them more workable, and they are trying to squeeze more ROI out."
A series of data collection agents include a content scan agent, interaction agent, Web log analysis agent and user feedback agent. Other components include a Microsoft Corp. SQL Server or Oracle Corp. namesake relational database, a series of modules that analyze and report on integrity, privacy, traffic and feedback issues as well as connections to third-party tools, and a dashboard that can be customized for technical and executive users.
The software can an be used across multiple domains or departments with different access rights.