The Boulder BI Brain Trust


February 2010 Archives

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SAP logo.pngPresenting for SAP BusinessObjects are: Tom Turchioe, Product Mgt, Michael Stamback, Product Mgt and Byron Banks, Solutions Marketing. Founded in 1990, SAP announced their intent to acquire BusinessObjects in October 2007. For details on the company history, see this Wikipedia entry.

SAP arch.pngTom started with a high-level slides showing strategy versus execution, balancing risks and opportunities. In other words, it had little content. Next is an overview of the BusinessObjects portfolio: (a) Governance (b) Performance Mgt (c) Business Intelligence (d) Enterprise Information Mgt ... all of which is sitting upon (later integrated into) the Information Mgt Platform.

Tom emphasized that there was no "hidden agenda" with SAP. Their products do not sneak the SAP ERP components into SAP BO accounts. There are parts of SAP BO that only cater to non-SAP vendors, like Oracle, IBM, Microsoft, etc. The improvements in version XI 3.x are: performance increases, administration tools, dependency analysis among data elements, trusted BI to track the validity of analysis values, refresh data will highlighted changed values, integration with Microsoft SharePoint and with Oracle E-Business Suite, etc. Tom remarked, "Our goal is to eventually scale our systems to touching one billion users per day ."

Mike continued about their mid-term BI roadmap, which is mostly under NDA. They have not dropped support for any third-party tool or database. Tom emphasized that they integrate with anything that their customers have within their infrastructure. When Claudia asked about collaborative BI analysis tools, Mike mentioned their "12 sprints" work. See a related blog by Shawn Roger.

After the break, Mike shared the long-term "Intelligence Vision" most of which is under NDA. Interesting discussion on various future technologies and their impacts on future product offering. Byron finished with a short discussion of SAP executive shuffle and presented the perspective of Enterprise Information Management, which cuts across all SAP product lines (not just BusinessObjects).

ParAccel - Poised for Growth

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On Friday, ParAccel met with the BBBT to share with the members the latest information about their company and products.  Some of that information is public and can be discussed here and some is confidential.  Presenters were Kim Stanick, Vice President of Marketing and Rick Glick, VP of Technology & Applications.


ParAccel has an impressive list of over 20 clients.  Unfortunately, most of those clients are not ready to be identified publicly, so I can’t name them here.  However, customers and prospects can probably learn the names of at least some of them from their sales rep.  Also some can be found in the “Featured Customers” section of  ParAccel’s web site.  It was worth noting that no product is “right” for everyone.  ParAccel seems to have accepted this and is not trying to sell their solutions as panaceas for every data analysis challenge.  Instead, (taking page from “Crossing The Chasm” by Geoffrey Moore) they have been carefully screening prospects to ensure that their capabilities are a good fit for their customers’ needs.  This appears to be resulting in their clients being very successful and very pleased.


ParAccel is being very pragmatic in their approach to the market.  Offering their solutions as:

            Software only

            An appliance (i.e., hardware (EMC and Sun) and software fully integrated)

            A set of components

Comment: It will be interesting to see what happens to the Sun relationship in the wake of Oracle’s acquisition of Sun.


ParAccel’s real claim to fame is its blazing speed that makes practical complex queries in very large databases.  While such queries have been long been “possible”, but only if you were willing to go out for a long, leisurely meal, or perhaps an overdue vacation.  It makes such queries now possible in near real-time.  Key to achieving this are the power of columnar databases, query optimization, and compiled queries.


They are planning to make a “big splash” at TDWI later this month, with a large floor presence, customers in their booth and a bundle of announcements. 


As part of getting ready for their move to the “next level” of growth, they have strengthened their management team with the addition of a new CEO (Mark Lockarff). 


ParAccel seems poised to aggressively attack the market.  They appear to be well funded (details not provided), have a solid product and a strong management team.  Add to those, a well developed marketing plan and you have a company that should be able to make an impact.



ParAccelLogoToday, ParAccel presented to the BBBT.  There were several main components to the discussion with Rick Glick, VP of Technology and Applications and Kim Stanick, VP Marketing:

  1. Enabling Technology
  2. Applications to Business Analytics

Enabling Technology

One of the key aspects to the ParAccel message is that traditional enterprise data warehouses (EDWs) have always had the ability to build analytical logical models.  But it was moving those analytical models to the physical implementation that cause issues for traditional row-based DBMS applications.

Now with ParAccel’s “software appliance” architecture for columnar-based DBMSs, EDWs can grow from the theoretical into the actual because now those models are possible due to the power and speed of the ParAccel database.

The particular area that I enjoyed was the ability to provide PCI compliance for implementations in finance and in particular telecommunications.  In the past, I have seen IT departments “encourage” (read demand) PCI compliant level encryption for entire data tables based on the need to have a single column encrypted.  ParAccel offers that ability on a column by column basis which allows for EDW implementers to make better decisions on where they would like to allocate their DBMS resources both in terms of disk space and processing power.

NOTE – I would liked to have seen/heard more about specific size/speed metrics from customer implementations on the PCI compliant encryption, but the answers I received provided comfort that the answers weren’t simply theoretical. 

Business Analytical Applications

One of the topics brought up both “in the room” and “in the twitter-sphere” was about how it was entirely possible that the Voltaire quote, often often attributed to the late Senator Ted Kennedy, had direct application to perceived success of traditional EDWs:

QuotesLThe perfect is the enemy of the good. QuotesR

This quote implies that many EDWs in striving to be “perfect” in terms of data model design and being able to understand everything from “the things we know we know” all the way to the “unknowns we don’t know” often missed the opportunity to provide a very specific analytical ‘services’ to the business stakeholders of the EDW.

ParAccel aims to correct that issue with EDWs by using their enabling technology to solve some of the analytical issues facing businesses today whether that be associated with the EDW or the operational platforms that hold the raw data.

Again, a telecommunications application caught my eye.  LatiNode’s Communications used ParAccel technology to prove out an active analytical business model for optimization in telecom network routing selections.

NOTE – In the interest of full disclosure… Despite LatiNode’s compelling application of telecom route optimization analytics, it appears that at least some of their success at telecom network optimization came via unscrupulous routes ( …no pun intended… ) and is now longer operating.

The ParAccel featured customer page provides more information on other specific analytical applications.

In Summary

ParAccel, in my humble opinion, is approaching the data analytics market in the right way.  They are cautious in their customer “selection” and their product development.  They aren’t necessarily attacking the ‘big boys’ of the DBMS world, but rather providing a clear alternative in particular areas to build their reputation and qualifications.

I look forward to hearing more about the customer successes of ParAccel and the “impossible” tasks that ParAccel enables as many industries move from traditional EDW implementations to more targeted, and potentially operational system oriented, analytical applications.

ParAccel Doing Analytic Databases

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paraccel logo.png ParAccel joins the BBBT this morning to discuss their work in analytical databases. Conducting the discussion are Kim Stanick, VP Marketing and Rick Glick, VP of Technology and Applications.

Unfortunately much of the discussion below is confidential, but watch for announcements from ParAccel in the near future.

Kim reviewed their market and current 20+ customers. Some customers are using ParAccel to provide analytic apps as stand-alone and SaaS. Customers can buy ParAccel as a software package, or as a fully configured hardware/software appliance, or as kit of components. They are positioning their ParAccel Analytic Database (PADB) as an analytical application platform, rather than a data warehouse platform. See a technical manual of ParAccel Analytic Database at

An interesting issue emerging from their customer experiences is the interaction with the traditional enterprise data warehouse (EDW) and agile analytic applications. So, what is not working with EDW?

  • We are burdened with all the baggage of EDW infrastructure, politics, etc.
  • Business demands extreme agility in deployment new analytic applications
  • EDW trends to shift power away from end users, creating tension
Rick argued that the analytic ecosystem is at an inflection point driven by the technologies of solid-state memory and computing virtualization.

Kim outlined their future messaging on:

  1. Intrinsic speed of the technology is now supporting any thinking style
  2. Analytic capabilities allow us to ask the 'unaskable' questions
  3. Elastic scalability ensures full scope of required infrastructure
We discussed Kim's plan for "Going Big at TDWI". Fun stuff! Getting traction in media mentions. Mark Lockarff recently became CEO to take the company to the next level. Founder Barry Zane remains as CTO.

My Take... ParAccel has good people who are pursuing a solid vision using a set of exploding technologies. In the large corporations, their success depends on opportunities driven by business requirements for analytic application, relative to IT requirements for a common enterprise DW with a standard infrastructure. For the rest of the industry, ParAccel will do well with the numerous business initiatives within smaller and emerging companies.
paraccel logo.pngWow! big turn out this morning, representatives from the BBBT are tuning in from France, The Netherlands, UK and South Africa not to mention 14 of us here in Boulder and the US. Rick Glick VP of Technology and Architecture and Kim Stanick VP of Marketing have joined us today to help bring us up to date on the new things around ParAccel. For those of you not familiar with ParAccel they are a columnar based MPP database for data warehousing and analytics. 

Kim is kicking things off with an impressive list of clients (sorry NDA can't share the list) The cases and stories are intriguing and include government, big retail, pharma and financial services. The solution is available as software only and totally configured appliance or you can purchase and build it yourself. 75% of ParAccel's clients are either purchasing the software or doing the "build your own" type of appliance approach. 

Version 2.5 of ParAccel is due in the coming months and offers some pretty cool upgrades (sorry NDA again) ParAccel sees that speed continues to lead the way with client needs and opens the door to more innovative analytics.  They leverage query optimization, compiled queries, shared nothing MPP and the power of the columnar database to serve these needs. The company is growing, and has added personnel during the last quarter.

To continue the companies growth Mark Lockareff is now in place as the new CEO of ParAccel. Mark's job is to take the company to the next level and beyond the late stage startup phase. I think this is a a big positive for ParAccel and this type of leadership will help them in what has become a very fast moving and competitive market segment.

It seems that ParAccel is at a tipping point, combined with a new CEO they have a new aggressive marketing campaign staged and ready to go in late February. I think this too is important and a positive for the company because in the past competitors in this segment have made a lot more noise and carried a stronger if not louder message to the market. The next couple of business quarters will tell the story for ParAccel it seems they are well armed for the battle and ready to start the next stage in the companies maturity.

Today's conversation was animated and brisk proof of this can be seen on Twitter under the #BBBT hash tag where we set a record today for the BBBT with over 170 tweets!



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