DB Vista – Bringing the Sexy Back!
OK. It may be a bit of a stretch to say that DB Vista is sexy. But I continue to discover that very few Adobe Analytics clients have used DB Vista or even know what it is. As I wrote in my old blog back in 2008 (minus the images which Adobe seems to have lost!), DB Vista is a method of setting Adobe Analytics variables using a rule that does a database lookup on a table that you upload (via FTP) to Adobe. In my original blog post, I mentioned how you can use DB Vista to import the cost of each product to a currency success event, so you can combine it with revenue to calculate product margin. This is done by uploading your product information (including cost) to the DB Vista table and having a DB Vista rule lookup the value passed to the Products variable and match it to the column in the table that stores the current product cost. As long as you are diligent about keeping your product cost table updated, DB Vista will do the rest. The reason I wanted to bring the topic of DB Vista back is that it has come up more and more over the past few weeks. In this post, I will share why and a few reasons why I keep talking about it.
Adobe Summit Presentation
A few weeks ago, while presenting at Adobe Summit, I showed an example where a company was [incorrectly] using SAINT Classifications to classify product ID’s with the product cost like this:
As I described in this post, SAINT Classifications are not ideal for something like Product Cost because the cost of each product will change over time and updating the SAINT file is a retroactive change that will make it look like each product ALWAYS had the most recently uploaded cost. In the past, this could be mitigated by using date-enabled SAINT Classifications, but those have recently been removed from the product, I presume due to the fact they weren’t used very often and were overly complex.
However, if you want to capture the cost of each product, as mentioned above, you could use DB Vista to pass the cost to a currency success event and/or you could capture the cost in an eVar. Unlike SAINT, using DB Vista to get the cost, means that the data is locked in at the time it is collected. All that is needed is a mechanism to keep your product cost data updated in the DB Vista table.
Another case where DB Vista arose recently, was in the #Measure Slack group. There was a discussion around using classifications to group products, but the product group was not available in real-time to be passed to an eVar and the product group could change over time.
The challenge in this situation is that SAINT classifications would not be able keep all of this straight without the use of date-enabled classifications. This is another situation where DB Vista can save the day as long as you are able to keep the product table updated as products move groups. In this case, all you’d need to do is upload the product group to the DB Vista table and use the DB Vista rule to grab the value and pass it to an eVar whenever the Products variable is set.
There are countless other things that you can do with DB Vista. So why don’t people use it more? I think it has to do with the following reasons:
- Most people don’t understand the inner workings of DB Vista (hint: come to my upcoming “Top Gun” Training Class!)
- DB Vista has an additional cost (though it is pretty nominal)
- DB Vista isn’t something you can do on your own – you need to engage with Adobe Engineering Services
Therefore, I wish that Adobe would consider making DB Vista something that administrators could do on their own through the Admin Console and Processing Rules (or via Launch!). Recently, Data Feeds was made self-service and I think it has been a huge success! More people than ever are using Data Feeds, which used to cost $$ and have to go through Adobe Engineering Services. I think the same would be true for DB Vista. If you agree, please vote for my idea here. Together, we can make DB Vista the sexy feature it deserves to be!