Blue Hill Research BI and Machine Learning Highlights, January 2017

Blue Hill Research BI and Machine Learning HighlightsTo support questions from enterprise buyers and private investors interested in the Business Intelligence market and related analytics and machine learning topics, Blue Hill provides a monthly summary of key enterprise BI and related analytics and machine learning announcements that catch our eye.

In contrast to some of the other enterprise markets that Blue Hill covers, this has been an extremely busy month for business intelligence providers both in reacting to regulatory issues and in partnering with each other. This month’s roundup features Arcadia Data, Birst, Chartio, Datasift, Domo, GoodData, IBM, Klipfolio, Logi Analytics, Looker, Microsoft, Qlik, and Tableau.

Arcadia Data

Arcadia Data Introduces First Visual Analytics Platform Native to Cloudera Enterprise

On January 11, Arcadia Data announced that it was providing visual analytics that were directly integrated with Cloudera’s platform to provide a solution for streaming historical and unstructured data within a single analytics visualization platform.

Blue Hill believes that this integration is an important step forward for providing performant and multi-sourced visualizations consistent with the variety of Big Data. Ultimately, the value of Big Data does not come solely from the integration and ingestion of massive data volumes, but from the practical capability of gaining real-time visibility to a wide variety of data types in proper context. With this announcement, Arcadia Data is a step ahead of other Big Data analytics solutions in unlocking the analytic value of enterprise Cloudera deployments.


Birst Achieves EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Certification, Upholds International Data Protection Standards

On January 17, Birst announced TRUSTe validation for meeting Privacy Shield qualifications needed to transfer personal data between the United States and the European Union.

Blue Hill is watching data transfer and privacy rulings between the United States and the European Union closely with the understanding that current governmental policy makes these standards difficult to predict. As Evan Swarztrauber of TechFreedom recently shared in Hadooponomics, Privacy Shield itself is far from perfect. The most important part of this announcement is in Birst’s rapid ability to receive validation. Blue Hill believes that these standards will continue to change rapidly due to governmental policy concerns. As these changes occur, enterprise software providers must be prepared with a flexible toolkit of data configuration, data lineage, and data transfer capabilities to meet legislative standards.


Treasure Data And Chartio Announce Integration To Drive Live Business Intelligence

On January 10th, Treasure Data and Chartio announced a partnership to provide a “Live Business Intelligence” integration intended to ingest, unite, and visualize a wide variety of sources through a drag-and-drop interface and at high performance.

Blue Hill notes the competition occurring to be “Real-Time,” “Live,” and “Timely” with data. In this battle, Treasure Data has established itself as a strong supporter of rapid event analysis and a high performance warehouse of massive and varied data. Chartio is well-known for its ease of use and data visualization capabilities. Together, Blue Hill believes that this solution is a cost-effective partnership for organizations requiring rapid and industrial-scale analytics. Blue Hill recommends considering this partnership for companies seeking to unlock a wide variety of data sources and quickly translate into business-friendly visualizations and dashboards.


LinkedIn and DataSift Join Forces to Provide Data-Driven Marketers with Advanced Insights

On January 18th, DataSift announced a partnership with LinkedIn and launched PYLON for LinkedIn Engagement Insights to analyze anonymized data across all of LinkedIn’s current dimensions and variables. The intent of this tool is to provide broad-based guidance based on populations of LinkedIn users rather than to track specific users.

Blue Hill analysts have tracked DataSift for years and previously recommended DataSift as a social media analytics tool at DataHive Consulting prior to our acquisition. DataSift initially positions this product as a tool to find new audience segments, test content marketing initiatives, and to effectively measure brand sentiment. Blue Hill believes that DataSift’s PYLON for LinkedIn could also be valuable for recruiting, learning and development, and product and skill adoption.

The true value of aligning social analytics to core business tasks is still in its infancy, since the focus of social media analytics has mainly been narrowly focused on marketing rather than a bigger picture analysis of customer satisfaction, product development, and ongoing talent development needs. With DataSift PYLON for LinkedIn, companies will be better positioned to quickly benchmark themselves, their partners, and their customers in context of the rest of the world.


Crimson Hexagon Expands Business Intelligence Footprint Through Domo Partnership

On January 12, Crimson Hexagon announced an integration with Domo to bring social media data into a business analytics environment. The Crimson Hexagon connector is available in the Domo Appstore as a QuickStart app that integrates social media into business workflows.

Again, the trend of social media coming into business intelligence comes into play. From Domo’s perspective, this connector provides an important source of social media data and analytics into the same area as sales, finance, and other core business intelligence reports and dashboards. Crimson Hexagon is a Boston-area success story in providing monitoring, categorization, and analysis of social media topics and accounts with a focus on brand management, marketing agencies, and non-profit organizations. Blue Hill believes that this partnership helps introduce Crimson Hexagon to new departments and verticals over time while providing Domo with a strong social media analytics partner that is well suited to account-based and psychographic business drivers.


GoodData Adds a Second International Data Center, in Canada

On January 24, GoodData announced its second non-US-based data center, following the 2015 launch of a United Kingdom-based data center, supporting an increasingly international customer list. This data center helps provide improved support, scale, and governance for international clients.

Blue Hill believes that this diversity will be important for companies seeking to have absolute trust in their data residency, and will serve as an advantage for GoodData in maintaining performance and availability regardless of potential technical, legal, or physical risks by providing more options for a global audience.


IBM provides TensorFlow deep learning for PowerAI users

On January 26th, IBM announced that its PowerAI distribution, designed to support improved performance for human-like information processing and deep learning, now supports the TensorFlow framework initially designed by Google.

Blue Hill believes that this combination of IBM-optimized hardware and software and the quickly-expanding use of TensorFlow for unstructured data analysis such as text, speech, and video will be used by IBM’s Global Business Solutions consultants to create flexible solutions based on the TensorFlow framework. It is hard not to notice how this technology directly competes against existing IBM Watson APIs and services, such as the video analysis that Blue Hill recently noted.  However, this announcement is in line with the IBM approach of quickly adopting both Open Source and trending technological frameworks, regardless of where they were initially created, with the goal of supporting high-value enterprise solutions.


Klipfolio Raises $12 Million (Cdn) to Further Boost Growth

On January 5th, Klipfolio announced a $12 million (CDN) Series B funding round led by OMERS Ventures to provide cloud-based dashboards to the small and medium business market. Klipfolio has consistently doubled its customer base year-over-year and now supports over 7,000 customers while supporting over 500 integrations.

Blue Hill believes that Klipfolio is well-suited to provide real-time dashboards at an affordable price and augment existing business intelligence solutions, especially to support cloud-based services that may not be fully supported by legacy BI solutions. As a solution starting at $300/yr to support five users, Blue Hill believes that Kilpfolio is an extremely low-risk and high-reward solution to support line-of-business and cloud-based dashboard requests focused on real-time data and performance.


Looker Launches Support for Amazon Athena

On January 23rd, Looker announced its support for Amazon Athena, which allows users to analyze Amazon S3-based data with SQL and to support standard structured data formats.

Blue Hill observes that this combination makes sense, given Looker’s strong focus on LookML and supporting analytics at massive scale. This move is consistent with the progress that Blue Hill noted from Looker in October 2016 when we said that Looker was “empowering data analysts to implement new business logic more quickly, getting analytics out to a broad audience more quickly through the API, and empowering data users and browsers to provide intelligent and qualitative ways to display and prioritize analytics that matter in the context of daily work.”

With support for Athena, Blue Hill believes that Looker should be considered as a preferred analytic querying and visualization solution for existing data on S3 storage without having to move into RedShift or other analytic environments.

Looker’s support for Athena brings enterprises one step closer to the Holy Grail of being able to conveniently analyze all data by translating CSV, JSON, ORC, Parquet, and other standard data on Amazon S3.

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT)

Push data to Power BI streaming datasets without writing any code using Microsoft Flow

Announcing General Availability of Power BI Real-Time Streaming Datasets

In the last few days of January, Microsoft made two announcements regarding streaming data and Power BI. On January 26th, Microsoft announced the ability to push data into  streaming Power BI dataset with a codeless action. And on January 31, Microsoft added to this by announcing general availability for real-time streaming data sets on Power BI and support for Azure Stream Analytics.

When Power BI first launched in 2015, Blue Hill warned that Microsoft’s Power BI Will Transform Enterprise BI and it continues to do so by combining an extremely affordable cost with ongoing functionality improvements that expand the scope of BI.

This current focus on streaming analytics reflects the increasing need for enterprises to support log analytics, social media analytics, and the Internet of Things through standard BI and reporting tools. Power BI’s support for streaming data integration and visualization demonstrates the increasing necessity to support streaming data as a foundational BI capability.


Qlik Delivers Advanced GeoAnalytic Offerings with Acquisition of Idevio

On January 4th, Qlik announced the acquisition of Idevio to support advanced geographic analytics above and beyond basic mapping capabilities. Idevio is available immediately as Qlik GeoAnalytics, and Qlik has announced plans to integrate with Qlik Sense in the second half of 2017.

Blue Hill’s take is that as geography and weather become increasingly important to real estate, retail business, logistics, and many other business use cases, businesses can increasingly take advantage of advanced and pinpointed spatial data. With this acquisition, Qlik moves closer to other analytics companies known for their geospatial analytics, such as Alteryx and Teradata. With this acquisition, Qlik extends its ability to provide contextualized analytic insights.

Qlik Sense Cloud Business Now Available

On January 24th, Qlik Sense was announced as a team and group solution to support analytics in the cloud. The Qlik Sense Cloud Business offering will be available at $25 per user per month and provides the Qlik visual analytics platform in the cloud.

Yes, Qlik is now truly in the cloud. Blue Hill covered Qlik’s initial launch of Qlik Sense as a self-service data discovery tool back in September 2014 as an individual data discovery tool. With this addition of group-based governance and shared work spaces, Blue Hill expects this offering to be immediately competitive both in the SMB and mid-sized enterprise spaces based both on the Qlik brand and the ability to support collaborative analytics.

Tableau (NYSE:DATA)

Tableau Names Winners of 2016 Partner Awards

On January 25th, Tableau announced that it had recognized its top technology and channel partners for 2016. Winners included Icimo, Slalom Consulting, Deloitte, Teknion, Informatica, Sirius Computer Solutions, BluePatagon, and FedResults.

Blue Hill found it interesting that Informatica was named Global Technology Partner of the Year, an award previously won by Alteryx. Although Blue Hill believes that Tableau-Alteryx will be a strong partnership for the foreseeable future, Blue Hill also believes that this award represents a shift as Tableau focuses on enterprise deployments to a greater extent and demonstrates its ability to expand both users and wallet share in its existing market base over time. Now that Tableau has quickly evolved from market upstart to market leader, the company is pursuing deals that reflect this next stage of maturity.


If you are interested in a deeper discussion of any of these perspectives or how they affect customer purchasing decisions, please reach out to us at

About Hyoun Park

Hyoun Park is the Chief Research Officer of Blue Hill Research where he oversees day-to-day research operations, delivery and methodology focused on vendor and technology selection. In addition, Park covers analytics and enterprise mobility technologies as a noted advisor, social influencer, and practitioner. Park has been named as a top 10 Big Data, analytics, and mobility influencer including quotes in USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, and a wide variety of industry media sources. Over the past 20 years, Park has been on the cutting edge of web, social, cloud, and mobile technologies in both startup and enterprise roles. Park holds a Masters of Business Administration from Boston University and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Women's and Gender Studies from Amherst College.
Posted on February 2, 2017 by Hyoun Park

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