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Wayne Eckerson

Welcome to Wayne's World, my blog that illuminates the latest thinking about how to deliver insights from business data and celebrates out-of-the-box thinkers and doers in the business intelligence (BI), performance management and data warehousing (DW) fields. Tune in here if you want to keep abreast of the latest trends, techniques, and technologies in this dynamic industry.

About the author >

Wayne has been a thought leader in the business intelligence field since the early 1990s. He has conducted numerous research studies and is a noted speaker, blogger, and consultant. He is the author of two widely read books: Performance Dashboards: Measuring, Monitoring, and Managing Your Business (2005, 2010) and The Secrets of Analytical Leaders: Insights from Information Insiders (2012).

Wayne is founder and principal consultant at Eckerson Group,a research and consulting company focused on business intelligence, analytics and big data.

Platfora is a three-year old company that is designed to provide real-time, ad hoc analysis of data stored in Hadoop. While most Hadoop enthusiasts are embracing real-time SQL query engines, such as Cloudera Impala, Platfora goes several steps further: it is a full-stack BI tool that comes with data wrangling, ad hoc visual discovery, and analytics, such as segmentation and behavioral analysis.

Best of all, Platfora is equipped to blend all types of data, including transaction data from operational systems, interaction data from emails, text documents, and call centers, and machine data from Web and application servers and sensor networks.

Platfora is an in-memory, distributed application that runs alongside Hadoop clusters, either on premise or in the cloud. Developers or highly skilled business use a visual design environment to create "Lenses"--personal data sets with a visual front-end that contain aggregated data from Hadoop. The Lenses run in Platfora's in-memory engine, providing subsecond query response time, allowing business users to analyze data at the speed of thought. And since Platfora maintains a metadata store, it maintains references to source data, enabling business users to drill into atomic data stored in Hadoop, if needed.

Platfora's biggest competitor is the do-it-yourselfer who tries to build custom analytical solutions themselves using Hadoop, MapReduce, Hive, and Pig. Platfora has applied its expertise to creating a scalable, fast analytical platform so customers can focus on analyzing data rather than building and maintain the tools to do the analysis. Platfora manages metadata, security,

For more information, see www.platfora.com.


Posted August 15, 2014 2:28 PM
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Silicon Valley startup X15 Software recently shipped a data analytics solution designed to help companies capture, store, and analyze petabytes of machine-generated log files from Web and application servers, among other things. The on-premises solution which runs on the Hadoop Distributed File System provided by major Hadoop vendors, such as MapR, Cloudera, and Hortonworks, supports real-time SQL queries against streaming log data.

Called X15 Enterprise, the big data solution competes against search-based, log management tools, such as Splunk, which must move data from Hadoop into a proprietary engine to index and search the data, which limits their scalability. And since most search-based tools don't leverage SQL, this limits their ability to query both traditional relational data and semi-structured log data in a single pass, limiting their usefulness.

In contrast, X15 Software runs on a company's existing Hadoop cluster so they don't have to move the data to a separate engine. The company has created SQL extensions that handle search-based functions, so users can query, join, and analyze both log data and relational data in the same SQL query. The product works with SQL-based BI tools via ODBC/JDBC and it has inked a partnership with Tableau. The product also supports REST and proprietary interfaces.

X15 Software is based in San Mateo, California. www.X15soft.com.


Posted August 13, 2014 2:35 PM
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Qubole is a new breed of analytic software company that runs on Hadoop in the public cloud. The ideal customer is one that already runs a lot of applications in the cloud and wants to accelerate the time it takes to make big data available to business analysts and data scientists.

Qubole's big competitor is Amazon Web Services and its Elastic MapReduce (EMR) offering, which provides the Hadoop platform as a cloud-based service. Unlike EMR, Qubole was designed from scratch to support queries and analytics. Also, the service is geared t business analysts and data scientists, not Java and other developers, so it is easier to use.

Qubole officials says its queries run faster than EMR  and offers better total cost of ownership since the service abstracts much more of the complexity of provisioning and managing an analytical data service on Hadoop  in the cloud. Qubole competes with other rising cloud-based analytics vendors, such as Altiscale, Mortar Data, and Treasure Data. 

Qubole is based in Mountain View, California. Its Web site is www.qubole.com.


Posted July 22, 2014 6:52 AM
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ScaleOut Software provides an in-memory data grid that primarily provides fast reads/writes for high-speed operational applications, such as e-commerce, reservation systems, credit card processing, equity trading, smart grids, and cable network streaming. There are a lot of competitors in the space, such as Oracle Coherence, but ScaleOut and Apache Spark differentiates itself by supporting analytics on live, operational data, among other things.

ScaleOut Software resides at the bleeding edge of the convergence between operational and analytical applications. With ScaleOut, analysts no longer have to wait until operational data is moved to an operational data store or data warehouse; they can analyze the data in place as it is changing. ScaleOut also has a product that runs on Hadoop and executes MapReduce code, but on live data at 20 times the speed of regular MapReduce. With 400 customers, ScaleOut is a company to watch in the emerging "operational intelligence" market.

See www.scaleoutsoftware.com


Posted July 19, 2014 12:45 PM
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There is no better source for the trends in the use of business intelligence (BI) tools than the BI Survey conducted annually by the German-based research house, BARC. The BI Survey, now in its 14th year, is the world's largest independent survey of BI users, with more than 2,500 survey takers around the globe.

This summer, I will help BARC's research staff evaluate the results of the BI Survey, which closes in a few weeks (late June.) The BI Survey tracks customer attitudes towards more than two dozen BI products. The published report discusses key purchasing and usage patterns, including total cost of ownership, market and customer penetration, query performance, support quality, business benefits, and technical challenges, among other things.

The report also looks at various emerging topics and technologies, such as mobility, self-service, cloud, in-memory computing, collaboration, and more. I look forward to seeing what you think of the key BI products your company uses today. So I encourage you to participate so that your views are heard and recorded.

If you would like to provide honest feedback on your company's BI tool of choice, click HERE.

To give you a taste of the type of analysis the BI Survey provides, here is a sample from last year's report. This segment focuses on mobile BI:

Mobile user interfaces are a major trend in business intelligence. Despite the media attention for mobile BI, only 16 percent of respondents use BI on a mobile device and we have seen very few success stories with mobile deployments in the field. Furthermore, even vendors with the most popular mobile solutions, don't have robust mobile usage: less than 45 percent of their customers have deployed a mobile BI solution.

Some BI vendors are far ahead of the rest of the industry when it comes to converting their customers to mobile BI. The top three are Yellowfin (43% of customers use mobile BI), MicroStrategy (34%) and LogiAnalytics (32%). (See figure 1.)

Figure 1. BI Vendors by Percentage of Customers Deploying Mobile BI Solution

Mobile BI Leaders.jpg

South America and Asia Pacific have the highest percentage of mobile BI adoption. More stringent data security requirements in North America and Europe may be the cause of the lower-than-average. South America and Asia Pacific have wider usage of the Android mobile operating system, which is less secure than Apple iOS, which dominates North America and Europe. (See figure 2.)

Figure 2. Mobile BI Adoption by Region

Mobile BI by Country.jpg

Southern Europe is well ahead of the rest of the continent while France's adoption rate is strikingly low compared to other European regions. Our experience in the French market points to a combination of three factors that contribute to this figure. (See figure 3.)

Mobile BI is deployed across all industries. As a general rule, financial services companies have far more robust security policies than other industries and, in our experience as consultants, we have seen a few financial services firms decide against deploying mobile BI as a result of security concerns. (See figure 3.)

Figure 3. Mobile BI by Industry

Mobile BI by Industry.jpg

Initially, mobile BI was only used to view static reports and dashboards with no interactivity. Now we see that the display of interactive reports and dashboards has overtaken static reporting. Data analysis is generally more difficult to perform on a mobile device than on a desktop computer where drag and drop and drilldown is easier. But mobile apps are improving and we expect the figure for Data Analysis to increase next year. (See figure 4.)

Figure 4. Types of Usage For Mobile BI

Mobile BI Usage.jpg

Please Participate!

The BI Survey provides a shortcut to understanding the pros and cons of BI tools in actual practice. To help us prepare this valuabe report, please take the 25-minute survey now. For your time and effort, we will send you a summary of the results and get entered into a raffle for $50 gift certificates from Amazon.com. Click HERE to take the survey now!


Posted June 9, 2014 9:05 AM
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