We just got back from a action-packed few days in Las Vegas at the Gartner BI and Analytics Summit. After all the effort that the team put into making this happen, it was awesome to witness first-hand all the enthusiasm surrounding our company’s over-sized presence, given it was our first time attending this conference. My favorite quote from the week was one customer who said, “you guys came out of nowhere?!” It was also fun to see the disbelief among attendees in terms of what our product can do and how it works.
Based on conversations with hundred attendees on the expo floor, in sessions, and at the social events - here are my top takeaways from the event.
1. Every BI team is looking to solve the adoption problem.
With adoption of BI still stagnating at a mere 22%, BI leaders could be wary of investing in anything new unless it helped with the adoption problem. There was a strong theme of expanding access to BI tools. As noted in the keynote at the event, the key is to support decentralized empowerment without compromising centralized information consistency.
2. The shift to a “Bimodal BI organization” is well underway.
As noted by Kurt Schlegel during the keynote, organizations of today want a bimodal mode of operation - on the one hand, they want centralized data - for governance and security reasons. At the same time, they want a decentralized mode of operation for data discovery as well as to find new insights in a self-service fashion without increasing the workload of the reporting team. The challenge today is in being able to achieve this within a single BI environment. Tools that are centralized for governance lack the ease of use that self-service needs and tools that are relatively easier to use just don’t scale. This is the opportunity that vendors like ThoughtSpot are perfectly suited for.
3. Not all search is created equal.
“Search” made it into the vocabulary of a lot of BI and analytics vendors this year. And this will only increase over time. The interesting question that customers have is what “search” means in the context of a product. Is it a way to find pre-canned reports built for you by others? Or is it a way for you to search through your data yourself? As Frank Buytendijk observed at the summit, “BI needs to evolve from Business Intelligence to Business Inclusion.” In other words, are the tools about business intelligence - where someone creates insights that they think you need to see - or about business inclusion - where business users can look for insights themselves armed with the context of their business awareness and access to all the data that they need to find those insights?
We came back supercharged from the event. The excitement with which customers received the simplicity of our search at the scale of terabytes of data tells me that there is a real need in the market for one product that marries the needs of IT/BI teams and business users.
We also got several questions about our product and how it is different from the other vendors at the event. Here are the top questions answered:
4. What data can I search with ThoughtSpot?
You can load any data from across your enterprise - data warehouse, cloud data sources (CRM, ERP, HR), processed data from Hadoop, or even spreadsheets from your desktop. You can then analyze all of this data together with ThoughtSpot’s browser-based search interface.
5. How much data can ThoughtSpot handle?
ThoughtSpot can scale seamlessly from tens of gigabytes up to 100 TB of data.
6. Do I need to predefine search terms or data models?
You do not need to predefine any search terms, cubes, hierarchies, aggregate tables or drill paths. When you load the data, the data model is automatically created for you based on the schema of the source.
7. How can I test ThoughtSpot with my own data?
We will work with you to load your data into ThoughtSpot and then show you how easy it is to do yourself. You can contact us here to set this up.
8. Is there a per-user license fee?
No. We charge per ThoughtSpot appliance and place no limit on the number of users. ThoughtSpot is browser-based, so there is no client software to install - anyone in your company can login and start searching for insights from their data with zero training.
All in all, Gartner was a fantastic opportunity for us to get to know enterprise data enthusiasts and leaders, as well as understand what they are looking for (and currently lacking) in an analytics solution. Our user-friendly, search-based approach aims to address many of these villains. Whether we had a chance to meet you at Gartner or not, we’d love to chat more about how ThoughtSpot can fit into your current BI and analytics environment.
Want to schedule an in person meeting or watch a quick online demo? Give us a holler.