The Boulder BI Brain Trust


May 2008 Archives

I've blogged about HP's business intelligence strategies over at my blog at the Business Intelligence Network. My impression a year ago was that HP was serious about being a major player in the business intelligence and performance management space and should probably be on your short list when investigating solution providers. It seems that things are continuing on the right path. Rod Walker, John Santaferraro and Greg Battas all joined us for the meeting today and covered the business intelligence portfolio, whats new in the group and where they plan to go in the future.

Notable announcements in 2007 included the Knightsbridge Solutions acquisition, the addition of Ben Barnes to the executive ranks, the Neoview launch, new research from HP's labs. This year staffing on the Neoview side has been doubled, marque clients are in place in many verticals and solution upgrades on Neoview continue. Sales force development and service build up are key to their progress going forward with Neoview as well as developing the partner ecosystem.

HP continues to move its solutions along the following track, Tactical - Strategic - Operational - Transformational while most clients are still jumping the chasm between strategic and operational business intelligence HP is focusing on solutions to assist along the entire journey with a focus on the operational side of things.

HP Decision Center  for IT Analytics is now being used by over 30 clients and is a solid example of their commitment to performance management.

Overall things at HP are steaming ahead, often times when I visit with big companies on an annual basis the story changes along with the focus. I have to say that HP has been transparent with their overall roadmap and plan to for the business intelligence and performance management sector and the strategy has stayed consistent.

Tags: HP, business Intelligence,operational business Intelligence, performance management

LucidEra Pioneering BI-as-a-Service

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Ken Rudin, CEO and co-founder of LucidEra, subjected himself and his company to the scrutiny of BBBT. In my humble opinion, all emerged from this experience fill of insights into an emerging market segment called BI-as-a-Service.  

I was impressed with the focus and depth that Rudin has instilled into his company. This is a market for which it is so easy to deal with the superficial, with making the next sale, without struggling with the larger issues. Rudin stressed that their service provides solutions with simplicity, innovation and a time-to-value of days. Further, Rudin aptly argued that LucidEra is not selling a data warehousing service that generates fancy reports. They are selling access to the best business practices in key business processes, which they call ‘analytic applications’. The reports are the means, but they are not the ends.

For example, current focus of LucidEra is to leverage the data from with analytics about sales pipeline performance. The reports vary across sales pipeline evolution, closed revenue comparison, sales KPI, trends in new/repeat business and lead sources. One usually gawks at these reports and thinks: “if we only had that information for our company. Where do I sign?”

The wise manager realizes that their way of doing business must incorporate the best practices embedded in LucidEra’s services. This implies that the individuals involved must think deeply about key issues and surface the false assumptions that they have carried for years. The best information only has value if it is utilized in a critical business process. That utilization is dependent on individuals who must understand the information, connect its significance to the business, and execute the necessary changes to the business.

An exciting future for BI-as-a-Service is the opportunity for continuous incremental improvement of those best business practices. SaaS offerings often change in small increments every day. LucidEra can evolve their service easily because the software is managed within their data center. Further, the application of social networking to the LucidEra customer base can build a community that shares their ideas for better business practices. The existence of such a community will become a major decision criteria whether to adopt a vendor’s solutions. This is a development to watch, particularly with LucidEra and the other BI-as-a-Service vendors.

Finally, is BI-as-a-Service complimentary to or disruptive of enterprise IT? See another blog for some thoughts.

Ken Rudin, the CEO of LucidEra, presented to the Boulder BI Brain Trust last Friday, May 2, and what a presentatin it was. I certainly learned a lot about Software as a Service (SaaS) or the on-demand model for business intelligence. Is this fact or fiction? There can be no doubt that the on-demand model is alive and well. Good customer traction, funding from the VC community, innovative offerings -- all spell a good business model.

Some interesting tidbits from the presentation:

1. Ken emphasized that LucidEra is NOT a BI company. Sounds strange at first but he went on to explain that his customers are not IT implementers - they are sales or marketing VPs, directors, managers -- business users in other words. If his sales people comes in waving the BI flag, talking about data, reports, queries, etc., they would immediately get shuttled off to the IT department. Instead, their conversations focus on managing performance, tracking sales effectiveness, or monitoring revenue generation activities - these are what is important to the business, not terabytes of storage or whether the solution is MPP or not...

2. The core values of LucidEra come from this new way of thinking. The first one is Simplicity. Most BI environments are quite complex. Ken likens them (tongue firmly in cheek of course) to building a nuclear reactor just to get electricity. The on demand model removes all the complexity of gathering the data, integerating it, cleaning it up, and storing it from the customer. Now they can simply focus on the analysis of their buisness. The second value is Customer Adoption. The on-demand model by its nature must be very sensitive to the adoption of their services in the customer's business community. If the business community is not using their services, then they will not resubscribe to them - end of story. LucidEra works hard to demonstrate to their customers how they can benefit by usng more of the capabilities. Since they know exactly what services are being used, by whom, and how often, they have great insight into the customer's adoption of them. They also get immediate feedback regarding how easy their services are to use, what features are useful, and what features are not. The third value for LucidEra is Analytic Innovation - their sales model as mentioned is very different from the traditional on-premises one. Rather than focus on a complex and tool-based IT sale, LucidEra emphasizes a simple and solutions-based sale. The final value they embrace is Customer Success -- the bottom line is that they get immediate feedback in terms of the successful usage of their products by their customers. No usage equates to no subscrition. Hence their sensitivity and focus on customer success.

3. This lead to the last topic I wanted to cover -- Ken is very excited about LucidEra developing an online community of users so they can help each other. He commented that people don't know what they don't know. A community that discusses how they use their analytic services can educate each other and overcome this lack of knowledge. Ken wants LucidEra to be the catalyst for this. A worthy ideal indeed.

 If you want to hear more about these and other topics, please listen to the podcast I did with Ken. You can find it here.


Until next time... this is Claudia Imhoff.

Goodbye and good business!



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