We are extremely proud to have been named a finalist for the prestigious SIIA CODiE Awards in the ‘Best Business Intelligence / Analytics Solution’ category. SIAA is the leading industry association and this is the 30th year for these awards. Past winners include the who-is-who in our industry, including Salesforce, NetSuite, Adobe and Intuit among others, so we are in great company. It’s a great honor to have been named a finalist by our peers.
Not only does this recognize our hard work building a leading data visualization platform, but it also validates our vision on where the market is heading.
Lessons from consumer software
Let me explain with an example that may be familiar to many of you…
If you’ve ever traded stocks, imagine you had to log into two apps:
- Trading app: to enter and execute your trade
- Portfolio charting app: to view and analyze your portfolio.
To determine which trades to make, you’d have to first login into your portfolio-charting app to analyze the performance of your portfolio. You would then switch back to your trading app to enter your actual trade. In the process, you ‘d hope that the data between the two apps was properly synchronized.
Unthinkable, right? Yet, in the business application software market, this is the reality today. You have a transactional system of some kind – CRM, ERP, HCM, SCM, etc. – and you are either using an external Business Intelligence (BI) tool or, most probably Excel, to build your dashboard which.is.very.painful.
Most BI platforms today serve the needs of C-Level executives which is great, but what about everyone else – the other 99.9999% of users? They are left with Very.Painful.Excel.Wizadry.
In many consumer apps, such as Banking, Personal Finance and Stock Trading, having state-of-the-art built-in visualizations has become a key differentiator. Visualizations allow you to consume and process insights faster by a factor of 60,000x, hence the old adage: a picture is worth a thousand words, or in this case, 60 thousand. The human brain is built for massive parallel processing of visual information.
The reality of business applications today
In the business applications market, consumer-type visualizations don’t cut it. The data is much richer and can be viewed in many different ways. Insights are often significantly more complex to extract. The “personalization factor” is many times larger. The solution of choice today: Flexible.But.Painful.Excel.Wizadry.
So, why don’t business apps simply add the required visualizations into their respective platform? Why don’t platforms such as NetSuite and Salesforce offer rich visual analytics capabilities out-of-the-box? The answer is simple. Building a transactional platform is very different than building an analytical application that is flexible enough to serve the “personalization-factor” demanded by the users’ need for rich insights.
Business applications today are typically either a transactional app where you work, or an analytical app where you get your insights. Transactional apps typically have pre-built reporting capabilities, but only serve a very small percentage of their users’ real needs with regards to visual reporting.
In short – user experience across many business apps is fragmented and suboptimal at best today.
Enter the Software Industrial Revolution
The good news is with the advent of SaaS we are entering a software paradigm where business applications are created from components. Many of these components are sourced from external commercial and open source providers.
We are now entering an era where the software industry is entering its own industrial revolution. Think of the aerospace or auto manufacturing Industries. Your infotainment system in your car is not created by your auto manufacturer, but by a component provider delivering an integrated experience to the user. In most mature industries today, the manufacturer sources components to provide the whole product.
We are at the forefront of bringing this capability to the software industry through our iCharts platform. Our platform allows software application developers to embed best-in-class visual analytics capabilities into their app without the hassle of creating custom components that at best serve 10% of their users’ needs.
Our iCharts for NetSuite app is a robust first implementation that showcases our unique and novel platform approach for embedded visual analytics. NetSuite users are able to create and publish inside their NetSuite instance live interactive visualizations regardless of the data source. We are currently replicating this model for Salesforce and look forward to bringing this technology to many more platforms enabling them to offer rich interactive visual analytics to their users.
Stay tuned for many more announcements over the coming months. In the meantime, please stop by and say hi if you are attending SuiteWorld in a few weeks.