I had a chance to review Lyza a few times in the last couple of weeks - both before and after its launch on Sept. 22. The biggest reason why I like it is I found immediate applicability to both a client situation and a personal situation. I.e., I've actually used it. Perhaps another reason, by way of disclosure, is that I've known and like the team at Lyzasoft and know their goal to provide a strong value proposition to the market. The extent of the focus groups that went into the product development is amazing.
With dynamic connections to the underlying data sets you define to Lyza (refreshed with a click), I find that it extends the functionality of the desktop. Think of it as providing a functional way of enabling joins and analysis across file types. You will mostly use this with Excel, Word, Access and text files. You pick the cell to start the connection or the range of cells that define the connection. It does not have to be the entire file. Then, again, there will be enterprise uses for its ODBC/JDBC connectivity, which is probably its ultimate destination.
My favorite feature is the ability to put all these data types on an equal footing and establish the joins.
It also has the ability to store data that you may want to derive from the underlying data sources in its own (column oriented) data store. So, in effect Lyza itself can become one of the data stores used in the analysis. And you can publish complex worksheets that contain the logic, from the underlying files, to determine sales commissions, vendor rankings, promotion effectiveness, etc. Worksheets can also be effectively a data set and connect dynamically. The metadata makes tracking your way back very easy.
Though not to the level of a Tableau Software yet in terms of charts and display options, the conditional logic, rich function library and ability to subdivide a data set (i.e., 1st 10,000 rows, a random 500 rows) make it pretty rich for a version one.
Unlike more complex tools that fit the gather requirements, out-of-sight development and launch to users, many of the Lyza applications for users can be developed in front of the user, or by the user.
Lyza doesn't categorize easily, but I think it's going to find a fit in the large gap between Excel capabilities and data integration - the lair of the true business analyst. With its quasi-EII capabilities to understand source data from its metadata, Lyza fits the unstructured nature of the analyst's work in a modern, heterogeneous corporate information environment.
Posted September 27, 2008 2:33 PM
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