The Omniture Excel Client Tool is indispensable for reporting purposes. It is also as sensitive as Middle East politics. I have very little idea of how it technically works, but over the years I’ve found some practices which help make the tool more reliable.
First, how do you know the tool is broken? Here are some things I’ve seen:
1) Data Blocks return all “0’s” where last week there was real data.
2) Line-items you’ve defined come up now as “Undefined” or “Unspecified”.
3) Instead of the data-block, you get an Excel version of the Omniture Login screen.
4) Your date-range is nonsensical (such as dates in the 1990’s).
5) You get a “No Data Returned” message when you know data should exist.
6) On “refresh”, the data-block disappears and nothing happens.
7) The structure of the Data Block changes (e.g. dates are now left-right instead of top-down)
8) You get error messages telling you that an Excel-referenced value is missing.
If any of these happens, there’s a bug. Here are some tips to try to fix it:
1) Logout, then login again.
2) If you’re trying “Refresh All”, go to each worksheet and use “Refresh Worksheet” instead (Refresh All is notoriously unreliable).
3) Quit Excel and re-enter, opening only the Omniture-fed document (other Excel Documents might be confusing the Excel Client).
4) Do a “Edit Data Block”, don’t change anything, and refresh the request manually.
5) Make sure there are no other people logged on as you in either Excel Client or SiteCatalyst (I don’t think this affects SiteCatalyst, but I know it effects Excel Client).
6) If you’ve renamed the document recently, go back to the earlier version and refresh that one instead (this is a tip for symptom #8 above).
7) Wait an hour or two, use a different computer, change your IP address, or use a proxy server (I think bugs are specific to different Omniture servers).
To avoid bugs, here are some tips:
1) Keep all Omniture Data Blocks in one worksheet, with no formatting, and have forward facing, pretty tables in other tabs.
2) Never insert, delete, or move columns, rows, or cells in the worksheet with SiteCatalyst Data Blocks.
3) Excel-referenced values should be on the same worksheet as the Data Blocks, and should be kept to a minimum.
4) Don’t move around in Excel when you’re refreshing a Worksheet.
5) When designing the Data Blocks, decide whether to have data going top-down or left-right, and keep that consistent.
6) Use the same login when creating multiple Data Blocks. Also use the same Excel version (2003 or 2007) when constructing the document.
7) The tab with the Data Blocks should be called something very simple – no caps, spaces, or strange characters.
If anyone has other tips or tricks, please let me know. The last thing I ever want to do is call Omniture and open a ticket.