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I work in a company that sells SaaS web applications for HR and financial issues. Our customers are key accounts to which we guarantee the privacy of their data, for obvious reasons.

We need to make usage statistics of our applications by its customers (which links are clicked the most? Which browsers are used the most? What is the average screen resolutions? etc). I personally use Google Analytics on my sites. GA is a very powerful and complete solution for this. But it raises questions of privacy.

  • Have you already had this problem?
  • Were you able to impose on your customers? how?
  • If not, did you use an alternative? or did you develop your own measurement tools of statistics?
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you MUST ask your client before putting such scripts. –  Pankaj Upadhyay Jan 23 '12 at 10:48
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You could use one the off-line server log analysis programs. –  edA-qa mort-ora-y Jan 23 '12 at 11:20

2 Answers 2

You could use Piwik from http://piwik.org . It's essentially an open source, host it yourself, web analytics tool. It has most of the major features of GA and is just as easy to use.

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Thank you, I'll watch it. That the result of scripts are hosted by us may be one solution. –  GG. Jan 23 '12 at 13:24

Yes, I've been in your situation. In no way did we impose our choice on clients when that choice of analytics tool had implications for both privacy of data transfer and storage but also external/third-party use of the data.

Our legal counsel's recommendations (and you should absolutely check with yours) were the following:

  • tell clients what you're tracking
  • tell users what you're tracking (basic privacy policy & terms of use stuff)
  • make it clear who owns the data -- is it you? the client? does it depend on different parts of the application?
  • make it clear internally and to the client how that data will be used (here you get into issues of audit trails and compliance)
  • make it clear to the client how they can access their own data
  • store and manage the data in-house

I realize the last point is actually your question, but the lead-up is crucial (& did I mention you should really talk to your lawyer?). We wanted more flexibility for reports and user access to those reports than just offline log analysis tools would offer. Basically, we wanted the GA experience without GA. We evaluated Open Web Analytics and Piwik and eventually went with Piwik.

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