Austin, Texas-based Emerson Process Management is one of the largest businesses of global technology and services corporation, Emerson (NYSE: EMR). It’s a massive B2B operation that delivers product technology, engineering and project management services for precision control, monitoring and asset optimization of plants that produce or process items like oil, natural gas, chemicals, food and beverage, pulp and paper, pharmaceuticals, water and wastewater or power.
Emerson Process Management’s objective is to bring greater efficiency and profitability to the operations of major manufacturers. It’s no surprise that it has the same goals for itself. One area it wanted to improve was in leveraging analytics to improve its sites. Emerson wanted to improve its site performance, so it decided to employ a measurement strategy using analytics.
Looking at site activity for its parent company’s various business platforms (there are five) and languages (there are nine) separately made it difficult to compare performance by business unit. Similarly, conducting its analysis was slow and inexact.
The company also wanted to leverage a consistent measurement approach across its intranets and internal sales portal, both of which used Microsoft SharePoint.
Emerson Process Management uses SharePoint to power many of its own digital initiatives, from its main website www.emersonprocess.com to a new collaborative Global Sales Portal running on Microsoft SharePoint 2010.
Webtrends, a Microsoft-preferred analytics solution for SharePoint, helped Emerson Process Management implement an enterprise reporting system that lets the company understand usage levels across sites and across the organization.
Emerson’s websites are designed to deliver content that moves visitors to buy from Emerson and become loyal to its brand. Emerson leverages Webtrends for SharePoint to measure key performance indicators to meet site usability and conversion goals. The company uses an iterative process of continual measurement and adjustment, primarily around visitor activity and key visitor attributes, campaigns and referring URLs, and overall site activity and trends.
For example, Emerson evaluates site visitors carefully. It can see which companies visit the site and provide that information to its sales staff for follow-up. Emerson also does some simple visitor segmentation, such as tracking and comparing behavior of new and returning visitors, and understanding how to capitalize on the unique opportunities associated with new visitors.
Emerson evaluates technical aspects of their visitors: which devices do they use to access the site? Which mobile platforms? What kind of browser plug-in support do customers have? These insights help Emerson understand and prioritize development efforts, ensuring its site meets the requirements of the largest possible number of visitors.
The company applied the Webtrends solution not only to Emerson’s various business division sites, but to the localized versions of those sites. The company’s feedback was that Webtrends for SharePoint was easy to use and provided results quickly.
In addition to its corporate website, Emerson Process recently rolled out its new collaborative Global Sales Portal built on SharePoint 2010. The goal is to bring all sales resources and collaboration together in one place. Because this is an intranet environment with known, named users, in addition to tracking the overall levels of usage, Emerson is evaluating usage by user. Who are the power users? Who has downloaded the most information? Which documents are not being viewed or downloaded at all? Emerson also is beginning to track social collaboration features such as blogs (contribution and consumption), ratings, comments and more. Understanding adoption of this new corporate initiative lets Emerson make improvements and enhancements that will continue to grow usage and engagement across the organization.
Standardizing on SharePoint has increased Emerson’s IT efficiencies. It also has ensured a consistent platform for management of core content, digital assets, and communication and collaboration among employees and partners. Webtrends has given Emerson a consistent and powerful approach for measuring SharePoint.
“Using Webtrends for SharePoint gives my team insights into who is using our site, and enables us to make targeted improvements to increase visitor-to-customer conversion rates,” said Edward Tasch, Web Developer and Analytics Lead for Emerson Process Measurement.
In addition, Emerson uses the information to optimize its acquisition tactics, including campaigns, promotions, organic SEO, and paid search. It is also improving usability and content effectiveness by studying user behaviors and the site overall.
To do this, it examines pages that have high bounce rates or exit rates to improve design and reduce exit rates. Keeping a close eye on onsite search results lets it see what visitors are seeking on the site, improve search engine optimization and determine which Google keywords will make the best investments.
“The comprehensiveness of Webtrends for SharePoint helps me provide stakeholders throughout Emerson with exactly the insights they need to help measure ROI and improve business results,” Tasch added.
One area of particular interest is Emerson’s site localization efforts. The company has found that even at initial lower levels of traffic, looking at visitor behavior is still extremely valuable.
“Two thirds of our business occurs outside of North America, in countries like China,” Tasch said, citing one example. “What Webtrends can do is help us determine what visitors to the Chinese site are consuming and how they are using the site. With that, we can learn how to be a better business for the Chinese customer.”
As Emerson continues to add new sites, upgrade sites to SharePoint 2010, and add more social collaboration functionality, the need to measure effectiveness only increases. And Emerson continues to experiment with more and more Webtrends functionality, including tagging site collections, leveraging the Webtrends Installer for SharePoint to simplify site instrumentation and reporting.
Tasch isn’t fazed by all the challenges and opportunities ahead. “I continue to challenge myself and Emerson as a whole to think about the business value of our various SharePoint initiatives, and to consider the key metrics that will define our success. Knowing what works, for whom, and why is critical to our long-term success as an organization, and Webtrends is vital to that understanding.”