Even More Fun with Numbers

Oracle MixEnterprise 2.0 2008 is going on now in Boston, and Oracle is a Diamond level sponsor. So, there are loads of Oracle people attending.

I got a request for Mix metrics on Friday for someone’s session today, so I spent several hours yesterday hacking together SQL queries. Protip: when you scope your next web app, plan for some reporting in advance and start tracking early.

I get asked for statistics all the time because numbers always lend credence to a story. This time I decided to put them into a usable form that I can reference the next time, instead of hacking around the database and dumping into an email. Hence, the protip.

Collecting web metrics is pretty straightforward; the package we use either collects data I want or it doesn’t. As with any web app, the tougher reports come out of the database. Getting data wasn’t that tough. Here are the highlights:

  • More than 17,000 people have registered.
  • Oracle employees represent about a third of the community.
  • About 430,000 pageviews have been served in about 42,000 unique visits.
  • People have created 460 groups, 76% of those are public groups.
  • 1,081 ideas have been created, about 5 each day.
  • People have submitted more than 140 OpenWorld session suggestions since May 2.

Mix has been live since November 11, 2007, averaging about 82 new registrants, 200 unique visits and 20,000 pageviews each day.

So, I entered all my stats into a Google Spreadsheet. I do increasingly more work in Google Docs because of the sharing and portability features. I usually don’t need the Office power user functions that people say Google Docs is lacking.

Ever since Paul pointed me to Hans Rosling’s TED talk from February 2006, which I highly recommend watching, I’ve been hoping to use the Motion Chart to graph stats. Google acquired Rosling’s Trendalyzer software in March 2007 and relaunced it as a Google Gadget you can embed in Spreadsheets back in March.

Unfortunately for me, my data aren’t complex enough for a Motion Chart. So, I muddled around with regular charts for way longer than I planned, and suffice to say that charts and graphs in Google Docs have a long way to go to catch up to Excel.

I’ll never get those hours back; Anyway, here’s what I whipped up in Excel. It’s not very snazzy, but it does show the upward trend since the Events team started promoting OpenWorld 2008.

Mix stats

The numbers on the X axis represent the months Mix has been live; I suppose I could have killed another hour or so figuring out how to label them correctly. Maybe next time.




  1. Jake, have you tried Oracle APEX? This kind of reporting can be easily done with APEX. It does also offer some nice charting features (flash) that even do asynchronous calls (AJAX). You can setup a personal APEX environment for yourself with Oracle XE or hosted on a public server…The possibilities are endless(http://www.oracle.com/technology/products/database/application_express/html/web2.0.html). Not sure if it will fit you at this point, but just a friendly thought…

  2. I know about APEX, know people here that work on it (Carl Backstrom, Tyler Muth), but it didn't occur to me to try it. Finding an environment might be an issue. I'll ping those guys to see if they have test beds I can use.

    Thanks for the protip.

  3. I've never used the graphing functions in BIP. I'm happy to give it a try, but I'll need some assistance.

  4. Especially in the context of “ENTERPRISE 2.0” you've left off the truly meaningful stats. Things like:

    “what got done” -how many ideas got implemented?

    “how much money did we make/save” – are there any ideas that have been turned into new products/revenue? did you make this a faster/cheaper way to get things into the official ER system, or did you add work to monitor two systems?

    “customer satisfaction” – do people have a better image of the company now and feel more connected to product development? are they more likely to recommend Oracle products and services?

    By only focusing on usage data and input volumes it propagates the negative connotation that a lot of people have (though I DON'T agree) about Enterprise 2.0 tech, which is “yes it will be very popular, lots of stuff will go in, but we'll get nothing usable out of it”. Remember, Enterprise 2.0 is still about RESULTS, not popularity.

  5. You won't catch me calling Mix Enterprise 2.0, and I don't really think it is. Mix is Web 2.0 and targeted at Oracle consumers.

    That said, I don't have the metrics you mention, although it would rock if I could get them. We're planning to add features to track the lifecycle of ideas, which I hope will help with adoption.

    2.0 of all kinds is slowly gaining momentum, but it's not mainstream. So, adoption is hard to track. Some teams use Mix a lot for all kinds of community activity, but many don't even know it exists and probably won't jump in wholesale even when the hear about it.

    Check back in six months, and maybe we'll have those metrics. Assuming we're still here 🙂

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