Archive for the ‘Analytics’ Category

LucidEra- Looking ahead

March 6, 2007

Earlier in the day I talked with LucidEra‘s CEO Ken Rudin regarding the launch of his On-Demand BI platform and future plans regarding the product. To start with, LucidEra has already signed up 12 customers ranging from medium sized businesses to smaller sized businesses. LucidEra will keep its product focus on enabling end users to generate custom reports according to their needs and requirements. Customers will be able to drill, dice, and subscribe to enterprise data as and when they need it. This goes contrary to the accepted approach in enterprises where IT departments dish out mountains of reports which are than shared across business teams to be analyzed and eventually deliver some meaningful numbers.

From the automation and maintenance standpoint, reporting as well as data load part of the platform will be completely self-managed by the customers with almost no support needed from the LucidEra Technical Support team. Customers will be able to connect to their data using LucidEra connectors to bring the data into the pre-built solutions. I think the data load part might involve Siebel like approach where customers will match their data columns with the requirements of the pre-built solution. As for connectivity to customer data, LucidEra platform right now includes adaptors for Salesforce, Oracle Financials, Netsuite, flatfile/Spreadsheets, and connectivity to databases through JDBC. Adapters for Peachtree and Quickbooks are under works which can even now be accessed using the LucidEra’s universal adapter that can fetch data from CSV files.

LucidEra has also made important updates to the product pricing since the last time I wrote. Basic part remains the same – for $3000/month customers will get access the end-to-end BI solution, all of its capabilities including the pre-built solutions, and disk space of 5 GB. This pricing would now include access for 100 users which is more than what a typical SMB would need.

As part of future plans, LucidEra will be releasing pre-built solutions that go deeper into Marketing, Finance, and other domains. By the year end LucidEra will be launching BI version of AppExchange to involve the developer community. I think we can expect LucidEra partners soon enough delivering applications for Life Sciences, Call Center, HR, SCM, and other business domains.

LucidEra launches; Enterprise BI goes On-Demand


LucidEra launches; Enterprise BI goes On-Demand

March 6, 2007

One of the most awaited startups to launch in 2007 has opened its door to new customers. LucidEra has launched its On-Demand BI platform and is all set to shake the enterprise reporting and data integration world. I have written about LucidEra few of times before, so won’t like to repeat the basics. Enterprise customers will be able to take the advantage of LucidEra’s built-from-scratch platform and pre-built solutions to deliver highly responsive end user reporting capabilities. As part of the initial launch LucidEra is introducing the Forecast-to-billing pre-built solution with more similar solutions coming in future targeting other business domains including Marketing. All this will come at a considerably low cost of implementation and maintenance that will for sure make existing BI product customers rethink their long-term data integration and reporting strategies. Apart from the product launch, I like Ken Rudin’ argument that while Oracle, Cognos, BusinessObjects go about integrating their recent acquisitions for the next 1-2 years, LucidEra will have its freshly baked product to deliver the next generation analytic and reporting capabilities that would lead to better insight into customer’s business.

Checkout the LucidEra DEMO by clicking here.

8 startups to watch-out for in 2007
LucidEra set to rock Business Intelligence market
LucidEra to launch On-Demand Analytics


Quantcast funded?

March 1, 2007

This news has been floating around for a while, but I wanted to wait before getting a confirmation on the amount raised. Initial news was that Quantcast has raised funding from The Founders Fund and Revolution Ventures. Looking at the Founders Fund and Revolution Ventures websites there is no mention of Quantcast. However a quick search and peek through the reveal all Google cache page for Revolution Ventures tells a different story. Quantcast name and description were present till recently on the site but now stand removed. From the communication I received from Quantcast they are denying any did not confirm the funding round. Not sure what is going on out there.

Funding or no funding we can always talk about the startup itself. Couple of weeks back I had a talk with Quantcast CEO Konrad Feldman who gave insights into Quantcast’s vision. Konrad, who has previous experience in building enterprise grade applications, had co-founded Searchspace which is a financial fraud detection and response software. Looking to apply that analytics experience elsewhere, Konrad and his team got together to work on building a second front to commercial Internet traffic estimation and analytic service providers like comScore and Hitwise, and also freebies Alexa, and Compete. To do get their hands on real data, Quantcast has put forward a simple plan.  Instead of working out deals with ISPs to measure traffic and than running extrapolation, Quantcast gives a widget code to publishers to include on all their pages. After that Quantcast starts tracking number of users hitting your site and presenting quite a few interesting demographic and siteographic analysis for the site. If a large publisher doesn’t want to give out its traffic details Quantcast falls back to the panel based approach, which can lead to inaccurate estimates(that can indirectly force publishers to include the widget). Quantcast started collecting  mass data earlier in January and right now they are raking in 1 TB data everyday. This makes Quantcast  a good target for advertisers to run analysis on, which was the real plan to start with. Quantcast’s long  term goal is to make it easy for advertisers to find highly targeted sites to run their campaigns on. 

In my PoV Quantcast idea and implementation is great but does need to work on its user tracking algo(so does FeedBurner) since results for atleast my blog are way off. Either way it is good to know that Quantcast is getting the attention of big name publishers including, and

Enough digression. Anyone any tips on Quantcast’s funding?

Update: Title of the post has been updated


DabbleDB keeps getting better

February 8, 2007

For the past more than 1 year DabbleDB guys have been working on some impressive database work out in Vancouver. With EditGrid and GoogleSpredsheets trying to take on Microsoft headon, Dabble wants to stay clear and add much needed intelligence to our data. But what they were missing till today was an important piece of functionality – Charts. Couple of options we had till now- EditGrid and IBM Many Eyes. Anyway wait is over for Dabble fans. Today Dabble launched the charting feature that does intelligent guessing on your data and plots it accordingly onto Line or bar charts. I would like to see more charting options but this is great to start with.

Dabble has also got more intuitive about address and location data in your spreadsheets. Any data column which is configured to have Location data now gets mapped onto a Map. So getting a quick view of customer or revenue data mapped onto a US-State map gets a no-brainer.

I would still like to mention that LucidEra, the Enterprise 2.0 BI company for real, will have its awesome reporting/analytics interface and capabilities to show off pretty soon. However most of the application feature will stay out of bound for most of us ‘cause of the high price tag compared to Dabble DB. Hope LucidEra also plans a consumer version.



ComScore does blogo-ga-ga

February 2, 2007

With a new found attention with bloggers for traffic analysis and reports, there have a barrage of them coming from  ComScore, Hitwise, and Compete. To add to that, ComScore is now hooking up with Federated Media Network “to provide comprehensive measurement of  conversational media such as blogs and community-driven sites”. To me it seems we have another variant of blog analytics  coming up adding to the ever expanding list including Nielsen-BuzzMetrics, Umbria, BIZ360, Magpie, Buzzlogic, Monitor110…..


IT Managers: Buy yourself a 6thSense

January 31, 2007

Yeah you are reading it right. As an IT Manager, you might always wonder – How much time your development team is actually spending on developing the product? What is the actual usage of the development tools/IDEs so that you can cut down on the non-essentials? How your development team compares to others in the community? And many more questions related to performance and usage metrics. So while the really insightful managers, with the so called 6thSense, can glean the right information from what they are being reported, others are left out to play the guessing game by looking at hurriedly filled Friday timesheets. With increased level of outsourcing it adds another dimension to judge how many hours are actually spent by your outsourcing partners.

Research Triangle, North Carolina based 6thSenseAnalytics takes out this guessing and approximation game and presents you with the real usage stats. The hosted solution from 6thSense plugs-in data collectors into most of the major IDEs like Eclipse and Visual Studio to enable On-Demand tracking. Co-founded in November of 2005 by Greg Burnell, and Todd Olson, 6thSense has till date received $5 million in Series A round of funding from Core Capital, and $1.7 million in seed funding from Intersouth Partners for their SaaS solution.

With the new release of 6thSense coming this week they will be introducing around 5000 pre-built reports making much easier for managers to track activity from the account dashboards. Some of broad domains touched by these reports provide aggregated times spent per project, team, activity, and technology. The data collected can be used from micro to macro analysis. On the micro-side managers can track activity of their developers. Reports at 6thSense makes use of the “Active Time” concept, which shows exactly how much time an individual contributor spends interacting with software development tools to design, develop, test or debug each specific project. These reports from 6thSense should prove to be very effective in understanding contributions and efforts of an individual towards key organizational initiatives.

On the macro-scale, managers can track the complete development effort for a project which can make future estimations and comparisons to initial estimates easier. Using the 6thSense reports, CTO can present exact reports to his CEO at their level of investment in each of the primary systems that comprise their application portfolio.

6thSense also has application on the licensing compliance end. Number of the enterprise software licensing based on per seat basis. Sooner or later there are most installations floating around than the company is licensed for. Not each of these installs might be under active use. 6thSense data collectors can aid companies in tracking down this activity and getting rid redundant installs of costly softwares. 6thSense also has an community side to the service. The service provides completely anonymous data(all community date is “de-identified” and cannot be associated back to any specific 6th Sense customer) from the community of all 6th Sense users. This makes it very easy to compare your development effort data and perform comparative analytics.

6thSense service is priced very competitively at $960/user/year with no extra charges for the number of data-collectors used. With no server side product to install and availability of SDK to build data collectors for specialized products, 6thSense can provide real value at a tiny price.


IBM ManyEyes does great data plots

January 23, 2007

IBM’s Alphaworks team seems to be on innovation spree. New product from the IBM research team is a cool new application – Many Eyes, which in other words is a web-based data visualization application. Upload your data, select a the kind of visualization you want, and you ready to share and publish visualization. You can plot your data onto Bar Chat, Histogram, Bubble chart, US State Map, World Map, and many other formats. I especially like the speed with which you can navigate the site and create new visualizations for existing data sets. Since collaboration is the buzzword these days at IBM, commenting on the visualizations is enabled. “Blog this” icon gets you the HTML of the visualization to be used in your blog post or on your site. Currently all data loads are manual. You need to copy paste data from Excel or Text file into a text-box in the application. I hope Teqlo can automate this part for me.

Few early issues I see -1. Once uploaded, data cannot be edited. This can result in junk data getting uploaded by mistake or AOL kind of consumer data leak sitting IBM site without anyone having the option to get rid of it quickly. Off course you can email the Alphaworks team for urgent edits, but that can be painful for the team itself. 2. No support for private data sets and visualizations 3. I think you cannot really choose which data column corresponds to a particular axis. 

Still a good application to get your point across quickly.

Also checkout QEDWiki from Alphaworks, a cool mashup canvas.


Many Eyes


Feedblitz Analytics now tracks In-Post links

January 23, 2007

Till now blog publishers could access the stats only for what the users click on the website. Content publishers could either use freebies like Google Analytics or FeedBurner Analytics or CrazyEgg, to get stats for their blogs for cheap, or get additional stats for RSS feeds from FeedBurner. However detailed stats of click-throughs from RSS readers or RSS-Email newsletters were not available. Not anymore. With the launch of “Automatic In-Post Link Tracking” feature by Feedblitz, publishers should be able to get insight into this very important missing metric for their newsletters. In case you don’t know about Feedblitz, it is a Boston, Massachusetts based startup that converts Blog/RSS feed to email based newsletters.

Once publishers enable the link tracking feature from their Feedblitz Syndication Setup menu, the service will automatically start tracking user clicks on internal links and add it to your link tracking database. If as a publisher you are interested in the same link occurring across multiple posts, Feedblitz will aggregate all the click-throughs for that link. Stats provided as part of this service will vary according to the plan you are subscribed for. Standard users will have access to aggregate scores while premium users can drill down and see which user clicked on a particular link. Definitely a great feature that can tilt the balance in case you considering one of premium plans at Feedblitz.



Cognos, BusinessObjects scramble for SaaS BI. Really?

January 18, 2007

Recently there has been lot of stir in the Enterprise software market related to SaaS, which has forced enterprise vendors make acquisitions of smaller SaaS players, or so as they call themselves. Last month Business Objects acquired NSite and yesterday Cognos went ahead and bought privately held Celequest. Lets look at both the acquisitions closely.

Celequest is basically a real-time information monitoring solution that provides real-time operational dashboards. Celequest gains traction more on the Fortune 500 companies side who might want to get up-to date analytics of their business. Coming to the real point, Cognos news release claims:

Celequest is the industry’s only dashboarding solution to be offered as an appliance or via a Software as a Service (SaaS) model

I am not sure since when putting a software on an appliance qualified it to be a SaaS service. Appliance located either on the client location or on Cognos data center doesn’t mean that the application itself becomes an On-Demand offering.

Coming to BusinessObjects acquisition of NSite- NSite basically is a transaction oriented platform or as they say an On demand, self service Quote, Proposal and Channel Management solutions. Following is an excerpt from the BO press release:

………the world’s leading provider of business intelligence (BI) solutions, today announced it has acquired NSite Software, Inc., a Sunnyvale, California-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider. The acquisition gives Business Objects access to NSite’s on-demand application platform; engineering talent experienced in building and managing SaaS offerings; and approximately 27,000 current NSite subscribers.

 Agreed that NSite does offer SaaS kind of service, but  I am not sure how BusinessObjects core BI/Reporting products align with NSite platform which in other words enables SMBs to build forms-based applications. BO getting access to NSite’s 27,000 customers is great idea, but what will BO do with them. Try selling them client-server based CrystalReports?

On-Demand and SaaS means an easy to use product(mostly web-based), very clear product matrix, a well defined pricing strategy that offers considerable savings compared to existing products, and a fully hosted solution where client doesn’t even have to think about storage, maintenance, and upgrades. Looking at companies like Cognos, BO, Informatica, Hyperion,… they are far off from the On-Demand path. Even if they do come up with some kind of SaaS capabilities, it is going to be really-really tough for these enterprise vendors to kill their existing revenue streams based on long-term licensing whose price was never justified in first place. Days of pulling off million dollar half-baked product sales deal are going to be over pretty soon. On web where prices are very flexible and it costs a fraction to try out new products, customers will stay only if the product delivers real ROI. Also confusing customers by branding non-SaaS solutions as SaaS is never going to work in the long run.


Microsoft builds competitor to Google Analytics

January 11, 2007

Microsoft’s new web analytics tool code-named Gatineau has now entered alpha testing stage. Gatineau comes out of Microsoft’s purchase of the Canadian web-analytics tools provider DeepMetrix in May 2006. Gatineau is supposed to offer functionality similar to Google Analytics/Urchin service that has become the staple stats tool for blogosphere and SMBs. Features aside, there is no word on pricing of the tool that can make or break the deal.