Don't Spy on Your Competitors, Let Argent Do It

The best metric of how a company's e-business operations are running is determining the success, or lack thereof, of the competition. The Web has made it easier to keep tabs on how everyone else is performing. Yes, corporate espionage is still a dirty word, but there are legal means for, for example, to find out how fast operations are performed at

Recently, Argent Software Inc. ( released Argent Sentinel, what it calls an eMetric solution. Using Sentinel, executives can monitor and compare their competitors' Web sites to their own, both in real-time and with historical trending data.

Argent Sentinel consists of five components for Web site monitoring. The first is Web Site Change Monitor, which lets marketing executives monitor a competitor's site for price changes, frequency of changes, or other strategic information. The head of sales could be alerted by e-mail, pager, or cell phone when a pricing change is made.

The next component is Web Site Performance Monitoring. This feature downloads a few pages from a Web site and reports the download times and changes in download times. The third component is Web Site Reliability Monitor. This checks every page on the site for common errors, such as "Link Not Found" or disconnected servers.

Through the fourth component, E-mail Performance Service Level Monitoring, Argent Sentinel will set the maximum amount of time that an e-mail message should take to be transmitted. If the round trip time exceeds the parameters set, an alert sequence is executed.

The fifth and final component is the FTP Availability and Reliability Monitor. This does much the same as the previous components, this time checking the corporate FTP server.

All of these components come with full alerting capabilities. Argent Sentinel is a snap-in extension to Argent Guardian, the company's monitoring and alerting flagship engine for servers and SNMP devices.

Argent Sentinel is also integrated with Argent Predictor, the company's capacity planning and trend analysis tool, which can track the average page load time for an Internet or intranet Web site over days, weeks, or months. Thirty-day evaluation copies of Argent Sentinel are available at Argent's Web site.

The company also offers the Argent Subscription Service, a service used to objectively monitor and compare a company's Internet operations to those of its competitors. The subscription service provides unbiased summary reports on a Web site's performance compared with its competition.