Why is ThoughtSpot Cool?

It’s an exciting day when you get named by Gartner as one of the five Cool Vendors in Analytics for 2016. While I’ve always thought that what we’re building was really cool, it obviously carries a lot more weight coming from them.

For those of you who don't know, every year Gartner picks 4-6 cool vendors in every technology sector. Vendors are chosen for innovative technology, solutions and go to market strategies. It's like a version of the tech industry's "Starwatch". ThoughtSpot's selection as a cool vendor is indicative of a much broader trend in the making. The BI industry has been going through a massive transformation over the past two years, as Gartner has called out in the 2016 BI & Analytics Magic Quadrant report. On the one hand, IT and BI teams are making significant investments into data warehouses, data marts, and license costs for maintaining and expanding the footprint of their traditional BI technologies. On the other hand, business users are still finding it hard to get timely answers to their questions from the overworked BI teams that cannot keep pace with the requests for reports and dashboards. This has resulted in them making parallel investments into desktop BI tools which have proliferated across departments within the enterprise, resulting in data security and governance challenges, as well as wasted resources in building parallel BI infrastructure.

In their 2014 Magic Quadrant report, Gartner predicted that the future belonged to vendors that could excel at governed data discovery and “address both business users' requirements for ease of use and enterprises' IT-driven requirements.” This is the fundamental premise upon which ThoughtSpot was started in May 2012. Business users get instant access to their data through an easy natural language search interface that offers suggestions as the user types, and computes one accurate answer to their question. IT and BI teams can now offer one ad hoc analytics platform for the enterprise that can scale to hundreds of terabytes of data and tens of thousands of users, while centrally administering and governing it.

Since we officially launched in October 2014, it’s been really cool to observe the transformative impact our search-driven analytics has had on our customers. A Fortune 100 retailer has over 600 merchants using ThoughtSpot and running over 8000 queries a week to improve online sales performance. This was unthinkable just a year ago with their desktop BI tool that could not scale to the terabytes of data in their data warehouse.

It’s also been cool to see the transformation in the expectations of our users on how long it should take for an answer to their question regarding their business data. It used to take a Fortune 200 telecom provider three months to calculate churn data to understand success of their marketing campaigns. Today their users can get access to daily churn numbers using ThoughtSpot, and that is their new norm for how long it should take.

We are excited to be selected as a Cool Vendor by Gartner this year. We would like to believe that our “coolness” is not just because of the fact that we brought the ease of web search to analytics at scale, but also because we offer it without nickel and diming companies with per-user license fees. We’re built for enterprise-wide adoption with an all you can eat licensing model. This is an integral part of our vision to reach 20 million business users by the year 2020.

Being named a Cool Vendor in Analytics is a great first step for us in our journey towards the Magic Quadrant. We expect to see Gartner’s coverage of search-based data discovery to continue to grow in the coming months, and look forward to seeing more mentions of ThoughtSpot as we grow our user base.