A long time ago I came to the conclusion that “independent industry analyst” was an oxymoron. But the willingness to sell independence for cash reached a new low with TDWI’s New SaaS Business Intelligence Portal. Please visit the link and see if there is any trace of independence left…
I am not happy to see LucidEra disappearing. It is not a good sign for the SaaS BI market in general and the startups in our space specifically. And I still believe Rob Ashe (IBM/Cognos) was wrong when he said that “BI doesn’t lend itself to SaaS”.
There are some fundamental differences between first generation SaaS BI providers and cloud-based platforms like Good Data. Some of them are technological while others are simply common sense:
- Good Data is based on true cloud architecture
- We use Amazon Web Services to host our multitenant platform and so we have minimal fixed and very low variable costs.
- We are true believers in Steve Blank’s Four Steps to the Epiphany, and the idea of spending over $20M before validating our go-to-market strategy is foreign to us.
- Cookie-cutter pre-built analytics apps are should be the STARTING POINT for customers to try – not the conclusion of an enterprise sales process.
- LucidEra was probably too expensive for small companies and too limited for large ones. And this is why we offer plain-vanilla NetSuite analytics for free.
I am sure we will see the era of success of on-demand analytics. The most useful analogy here is the disruptive business model of low cost airlines – it did not disappear after the demise of People Express airlines either…
PS. Good Data Offers Safe Harbor to LucidEra Customers (link)
Tim O’Reilly wrote a great post about the collapse of demand for consumer electronics and there he quotes the term “peak waste” – in an analogy to peak oil maybe we’ve reached the pinnacle of waste in our consumer culture. I absolutely agree that the “creative destruction” – the process of transformation that accompanies radical innovation grew to unsustainable levels recently but here is my explanation of the radical innovation that our society went through over the last 10-15 years.
One of the biggest shifts of the last decade was the move from analog to digital media. The only digital media widely used only ten years ago was the CD. And the typical CD player fits more into the analog rather then digital era (most CDs still don’t support CD-Text). The rest of media was analog – TV, VHS, radio, phone, photographs…
Ever since the mid-nineties we saw the rapid development and adoption of new music formats (MP3, WMA, OGG, AAC, Apple Lossless), new video media and formats (DVD, BlueRay, HD-DVD, DivX, MP4), new interfaces (DVI, HDMI), move from analog to digital TV (HDTV, DVB-T, DVB-S) and digital radio (DAB, DVB-H). Along with these changes came the new business models of digital media distribution (iTunes Store, AmazonMP3, Netflix online), new music providers (Sirius, XM-Radio, Pandora, last.fm). We also saw the advance of digital communication (Bluetooth, GSM, UMTS, SMS, VoIP) and it led to the rise of new providers of communication services (Skype, Vonage). Photography underwent the same transition – from analog cameras to digital cameras and now to camera-phones and from photo albums to Flickr.
The move to digital era had a dramatic impact on the design of devices we use and so we saw some very rapid changes in the consumer electronic industry: move from VHS to Tivo, POTS to iPhone, analog TV to LCD screens and many, many others. The usecases for digital world were not clear when we started this retooling and it took ten years to discover how will users get access and consume digital media and the requirements for new set of standards and interoperability.
I expect that the once we finish this transition we will be able to design more interoperable and software upgradeable devices. These devices will hopefully last longer but I still can’t imagine handing down “my grandfather’s iPod”. The rate of innovation will not decrease, it will simply move to the social aspect enabled by this retooling. Once we assume that every person in the world has an access to a device that is always connected, has a microphone, camera and GPS chip we can change the ways our societies communicate. Fortunately it will require less physical waste…
For a long time I planned to write a case study on NetBeans and the innovations we brought to the tools market back in 1997 and I finally manage to finish it yesterday. Here it is and it is probably very timely as Steve Gillmore speculates on TechCrunch that:
“Sun Microsystems has been under particular pressure to realign; analysts and even Sun employees such as Tim Bray have been outspoken in their pleas for Sun’s executive team to jettison unprofitable ventures in favor of some kind of cloud strategy. JavaFX could be one of the casualties if Sun decides to pare technologies along with the 18% of its employees it’s trimming. Other cuts might include the NetBeans development environment, which has kept pace with or even bettered Eclipse in quality but not in uptake”