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!