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A Rallying Cry For Big Data Analytics

A Rallying Cry For Big Data Analytics

Today we announce Platfora Big Data Analytics 3.0.

While many in the press are calling big data overhyped (and this may well be true based on the number of companies adopting the term), there is a clear shift in how I hear the smartest business leaders and analysts talking about it. A year ago it was a peace-time discussion – CEOs and CIOs were asking their teams to dabble with big data technologies to see if there was more they could do with their data. But today there is a palpable sense that things are shifting to a war-time footing – i.e. once these leaders get a taste of the new level of clarity that is possible, it becomes clear that this will be an arms-race and an existential threat if they don’t up their game. In the same way that Blockbuster was outmaneuvered by Netflix, no industry that is built on data and the insights that come from it will be untouched. Even a century-old company like GE is revolutionizing the way it sells large assets like jet engines and disrupting their competitors through the use of data.

I expect that this will be one of the big emergent themes of next week’s Strata + Hadoop World event in NYC. This is a critical transitional moment in this industry and in the countless industries that it touches.

At the foundational level, great companies like Cloudera and Hortonworks are leading the innovation around the core enabler of this movement – Hadoop. More than a disruptive open source technology, Hadoop has decisively won as the infrastructure for the big data stack. By eliminating the need for up-front data modeling and embracing the massive and diverse new datasets being generated in most enterprises (e.g. clickstream, mobile events, sensors, ad data, other event series) it eliminates the friction of the past and opens the door to new kinds of analysis that can connect the dots across all of this data.


With the foundation laid, the focus shifts up the stack, to what is becoming the hottest and most important category of the software industry – Big Data Analytics. We define Big Data Analytics as an emerging category of software that allows business users to interrogate enormous amounts of data in an easy to use, iterative manner. Business users can ask deeper questions, correlate behavior and actions across multiple domains of data (no matter if it’s click-streams, mobile apps, social networks, sensors or internal databases) so they can make fact-based decisions, faster. According to a September 2013 Gartner survey, 64 percent of respondents said they have invested in or plan to invest in Big Data Analytics.

Various analyst projections argue that the Big Data Analytics category will be a $7 billion dollar market by 2017, and have disrupted at least a third of the traditional Business Analytics market dominated by companies like Oracle and IBM. This is what a generational shift feels like.


Platfora is playing a leading role in this shift. We have established a number of important beachheads in the Big Data Analytics market. Specifically, our strategy to be the first company to mask the complexity of Hadoop and really empower business users with self-service interactive Big Data Analytics is clearly working. Platfora is honored to see customers like Disney, Citigroup, Comcast, Washington Post, Netflix, Shopify, Edmunds and MdotM vote with their time and investments in making Platfora the platform of choice for exploiting the value of the Big Data in Hadoop.

These companies aren’t prepared to live within the narrow view of data in their old siloed data warehouses and BI tools. They aren’t prepared to make decisions based on a pretty chart showing metrics that they know don’t tell enough of the story and amount to fiction, feelings and faith. We call these companies Fact-Based Enterprises.

What makes Fact-Based Enterprises different? They use Big Data Analytics to know more about every digital touchpoint, from web, mobile and the internet of things, to transactions, conversions and product engagement. They see patterns and correlations, across all of this data, between behavior, actions and results. Said another way Fact Based Enterprises understand that fiction and feelings are great for movies, but bad for business.


To paraphrase Albert Einstein, “Today’s problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them”. Platfora is taking a very unique and different approach on how to empower customers to get to the facts.

We know that companies can’t exploit the Big Data Analytics opportunity by continuing to apply the narrow perspective of BI (business intelligence) thinking to big data and Hadoop. When it comes to this new world of big data, BI is BS.

To really capitalize on the big data opportunity, we have expanded our offering, and with the announcement of Platfora Big Data Analytics 3.0 we provide an unprecedented capability for every business user to visually and interactively find the facts in their data and understand the connection between behavior, actions and results.

1) Ask an unlimited number of questions from Big Data in Hadoop

This might not be an obvious problem unless you have been tasked to get a simple answer to a simple question from data stored in Hadoop. It’s really hard – almost impossible in some cases. In the old way, with every question, IT literally had to build new SQL queries, change data models, and create new reports. This led to decisions being made with fiction, feelings, and faith that we discussed before. And it would literally create 18+ month backlogs to get data for even simple questions.

Now Platfora has new offers like our Dynamic Lenses that automate this entire process and allows IT and business users to conduct on-the-fly queries to interrogate the data until it surrenders the facts. This is a unique capability of Platfora and our customers love the fact that they can get the facts they need from Hadoop in a completely unconstrained way.

2) Go beyond BI and interrogate patterns of behavior with event-stream analytics

We are really excited about unveiling our new Platfora Event Series Analytics capability. We are the first to empower business users to analyze all the facts in their business across events, behaviors, and time.

This is a true breakthrough in this industry – as far as we know it has never been done before.

In the past, business analysts had to make decisions based on small pockets of aggregate data, such as number of customers, conversion rates, etc. They could not easily correlate this data with more context relevant data such as behaviors associated with those pockets. So, most decisions were based on limited perspective and incomplete data – or said another way – fiction.

What we do is different. We empower customers to bring all the facts to the table. We combine events, behaviors, actions, and results over a single timeline to give the first full picture of all the facts.

With Platfora Big Data Analytics 3.0, we provide a breakthrough set of new capabilities, and I encourage you to read more about them on our website.

  • Platfora Event-Stream Analytics – to visually analyze patterns of behavior across all channels of interaction around subjects of interest (e.g. customer, products, endpoints). We provide interactive funnel-charts, in-memory acceleration of event-stream analysis, and deep event-correlation against raw Hadoop data.
  • Platfora Entity-Centric Data Catalog – the first visual way to browse your entire Hadoop Data Reservoir that puts the subject of interest (e.g. customer, products, endpoints) at the center and shows every attribute, channel of interaction and segmentation in one browseable view.
  • Platfora Iterative Segmentation – find groups of any subject of interest (e.g. customers, products, endpoints) based on their attributes or patterns of behavior. Name them, and then use them for comparison or analysis in any other context. A remarkable capability for marketers, but broadly applicable across almost every industry.


3) Mask the Complexity of Hadoop

We are well known for our unique ability to mask the complexity of Hadoop and our new 3.0 platform really makes working with Hadoop even easier and more importantly, faster.

Why is this important? Well, just ask the analysts who are following Teradata and their earnings miss, which amongst people in the know has been attributed to Hadoop adoption. Hadoop is the king of big data. All meaningful big data is stored in the Hadoop Data Reservoir.

The only problem with Hadoop is that it is very hard to access without spending tons of money and time on multiple tools to rig up a system to get to the data. I have had customers tell me that using Hadoop is similar to the feeling when you put your money in the vending machine and the candy bar gets stuck in the rack. You know it’s there, you are hungry for it, but you just can’t get it unless you slam and rock the machine.

We have built a Big Data Analytics platform that is native to Hadoop and delivers the facts at the speed that the business demands. We invested heavily to process big data in memory and eradicate the need for any business to have to suffer long waiting times from legacy analysis.

We have extended our product blueprint from our BI capabilities to a robust set of Big Data Analytics features that allow customers to conduct an extensive array of analysis, without those 18 month waits and the need to rely on expensive data scientists.

To say we have democratized Hadoop is putting it lightly. And that’s a fact.

Please check out our announcement today and we hope to see you at Strata + Hadoop World.

Thanks, Ben

Reference Articles: GE CEO Jeff Immelt’s Big Bet