Big Data, Big Revenue for Marketers

December 12, 2013

Why might Big Data mean millions for marketing?  Because it has the potential to create a more complete picture of the buyer, thereby empowering marketers to more effectively deliver the right message to the right individual at the right time – and ultimately increase sales.  In the following brief video from DMA 2013, Marketo VP/Co-founder Jon Miller and Pentaho CMO Rosanne Saccone provide a crash course on what Big Data means for marketers.  It covers:

  • The defining characteristics of Big Data – Velocity, Variety, & Volume
  • How marketers can leverage Big Data to blend operational information (CRM, ERP) and online data (web activity, social networking interactions) for new insights
  • Sample Big Data use cases that organizations are green-lighting today to optimize customer interactions and drive marketing’s contribution to revenue

Note that this is an excerpt from a larger presentation – for the full video please click here.

We’d also recommend this blog post by Jon Miller for more context on Big Data in marketing.

For additional compelling use cases that leverage Big Data for marketing and other functions, see here.

Ben Hopkins
Product Marketing
Pentaho


Big Data 2014: Powering Up the Curve

December 5, 2013

Last year, I predicted that 2013 would be the year big data analytics started to go into mainstream deployment and the research we recently commissioned with Enterprise Management Consultants indicates that’s happened. What really surprised me though is the extent to which the demand for data blending has powered up the curve and I believe this trend will accelerate big data growth in 2014.

Prediction one: The big data ‘power curve’ in 2014 will be shaped by business users’ demand for data blending
Customers like Andrew Robbins of Paytronix and Andrea Dommers-Nilgen of TravelTainment, who recently spoke about their Pentaho projects at events in NY and London, both come from the business side and are achieving specific goals for their companies by blending big and relational data. Business users like these are getting inspired by the potential to tap into blended data to gain new insights from a 360 degree customer view, including the ability to analyze customer behavior patterns and predict the likelihood that customers will take advantage of targeted offers.

Prediction two: big data needs to play well with others!
Historically, big data projects have largely sat in the IT departments because of the technical skills needed and the growing and bewildering array of technologies that can be combined to build reference architectures. Customers must choose from the various commercial and open source technologies including Hadoop distributions, NoSQL databases, high-speed databases, analytics platforms and many other tools and plug-ins. But they also need to consider existing infrastructure including relational data and data warehouses and how they’ll fit into the picture.

The plus side of all this choice and diversity is that after decades of tyranny and ‘lock-in’ imposed by enterprise software vendors, in 2014, even greater buying power will shift to customers. But there are also challenges. It can be cumbersome to manage this heterogeneous data environment involved with big data analytics. It also means that IT will be looking for Big Data tools to help deploy and manage these complex emerging reference architectures, and to simplify them.  It will be incumbent on the Big Data technology vendors to play well with each other and work towards compatibility. After all, it’s the ability to access and manage information from multiple sources that will add value to big data analytics.

Prediction three: you will see even more rapid innovation from the big data open source community
New open source projects like Hadoop 2.0 and YARN, as the next generation Hadoop resource manager, will make the Hadoop infrastructure more interactive. New open source projects like STORM, a streaming communications protocol, will enable more real-time, on-demand blending of information in the big data ecosystem.

Since we announced the industry’s first native Hadoop connectors in 2010, we’ve been on a mission to make the transition to big data architectures easier and less risky in the context of this expanding ecosystem. In 2013 we made some massive breakthroughs towards this, starting with our most fundamental resource, the adaptive big data layer. This enables IT departments to feel smarter, safer and more confident about their reference architectures and open up big data solutions to people in the business, whether they be data scientists, data analysts, marketing operations analysts or line of business managers.

Prediction four: you can’t prepare for tomorrow with yesterday’s tools
We’re continuing to refine our platform to support the future of analytics. In 2014, we’ll release new functionality, upgrades and plug-ins to make it even easier and faster to move, blend and analyze relational and big data sources. We’re planning to improve the capabilities of the adaptive data layer and make it more secure and easy for customers to manage data flow. On the analytics side, we’re working to simplify data discovery on the fly for all business users and make it easier to find patterns and catch anomalies. In Pentaho Labs, we’ll continue to work with early adopters to cook up new technologies to bring things like predictive, machine data and real-time analytics into mainstream production.

As people in the business continue to see what’s possible with blended big data, I believe we’re going to witness some really exciting breakthroughs and results. I hope you’re as excited as I am about 2014!

Quentin Gallivan, CEO, Pentaho

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Weka goes BIG

December 4, 2013

funny_science_nerd_cartoon_character_custom_flyer-rb4a8aff0894a4e25932056b8852f8b18_vgvyf_8byvr_512.jpgThe beakers are bubbling more violently than usual at Pentaho Labs and this time predictive analytics is the focus.  The lab coat, pocket-protector and taped glasses clad scientists have turned their attention to the Weka machine learning software.

Weka, a collection of machine learning algorithms for predictive analytics and data mining, has a number of useful applications. Examples include, scoring credit risk, predicting downtime of machines and analyzing sentiment in social feeds.  The technology can be used to facilitate automatic knowledge discovery by uncovering hidden patterns in complex datasets, or to develop accurate predictive models for forecasting.

Organizations have been building predictive models to aid decision making for a number of years, but the recent explosion in the volume of data being recorded (aka “Big Data”) provides unique challenges for data mining practitioners. Weka is efficient and fast when running against datasets that fit in main memory, but larger datasets often require sampling before processing. Sampling can be an effective mechanism when samples are representative of the underlying problem, but in some cases the loss of information can negatively impact predictive performance.

To combat information loss, and scale Weka’s wide selection of predictive algorithms to large data sets, the folks at Pentaho Labs developed a framework to run Weka in Hadoop. Now the sort of tasks commonly performed during the development of a predictive solution – such as model construction, tuning, evaluation and scoring – can be carried out on large datasets without resorting to down-sampling the data. Hadoop was targeted as the initial distributed platform for the system, but the Weka framework contains generic map-reduce building blocks that can be used to develop similar functionality in other distributed environments.

If you’re a predictive solution developer or a data scientist, the new Weka framework is a much faster path to solution development and deployment.  Just think of the questions you can ask at scale!

To learn more technical details about the Weka Hadoop framework I suggest to read the blog, Weka and Hadoop Part 1, by Mark Hall, Weka core developer at Pentaho.

Also, check out Pentaho Labs to learn more about Predictive Analytics from Pentaho, and to see some of the other cool things the team has brewing.

Chuck Yarbrough
Technical Solutions Marketing


Customer Spotlight: WiMP Music, the 2013 BI Award winner for Innovation

December 2, 2013

wimpAwardIn today`s blog post, I want to put the spotlight on our Norwegian partner Conduct and congratulate them for their great work implementing Pentaho for WiMP Music, a music streaming service similar to iTunes that is very popular in Northern and Central Europe. The deployment received the 2013 BI Award for Innovation in Norway given by the prestigious Norwegian Computer Society on October 31st in Oslo.

Through local editorial teams in each country, WiMP provides daily recommendations, tips and playlists for any occasion for its audiences. The ad-free service is available on computers and mobiles, tablets and network players in Denmark, Germany, Norway, Poland and Sweden. The business is entirely digital and data-driven, with music files licensed from a large number of different sources delivered by a huge partner network and priced dynamically, according to where and how it is sold. Wimp’s BI solution was built by Conduct on Pentaho Business Analytics and has been in production since 2010.

Pentaho has become essential for delivering the music streaming service WiMP provides, because it controls income distribution and settlement. It also provides information that WiMP is contractually obliged to provide to content providers and partners. In addition, the solution provides a huge range of easily accessible management information for decision-making based on facts, not gut feelings.

The Jury stated that this year’s winner of the BI Award for Innovation has:

  • Adopted BI as a core component of its business
  • Been thinking outside the box and dared to challenge traditional IT architecture when establishing its business and its IT portfolio. The solution is flexible and meets the changing challenges of a dynamic market.
  • Used Open Source in its solution design and decided to use the data warehouse as the core of its business systems and business model
  • Created a robust solution that satisfies both audits and controls and creates numbers its partners trust

Congratulations to WiMP for its foresight of truly extracting the real value of data and building its business model based on it. And of course a big congrats to our channel partner Conduct who built this great deployment on our Pentaho Business Analytics platform.

Pentaho is supporting its partners also with its marketing activities. If you have impressive customer stories like WiMP, our team is on hand to help you promote and celebrate them by writing up case studies, press releases, co-hosting a webinar or completing award applications. If you are a Pentaho partner and want to get the most out of your partnership, please contact me.

Erik Nolten
Director Channel EMEA & APAC


Happy Thanksgiving from Pentaho

November 27, 2013

To all of our readers in the US, we hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving and are enjoying some time off with friends and family.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving we want to say that we are thankful for our amazing community, customers, partners and colleagues. Happy Thanksgiving!

Visit our Facebook page to see photos from our Worksgiving potluck in the San Francisco office. Everyone brought in their famous Thanksgiving recipes such as Thai sesame chicken wings, spring rolls, jalapeno corn bread, lemon cream bars and of course a big turkey with stuffing.

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Click here to see more photos 


Pentaho wins Red Herring Global 100 Award

November 22, 2013

RH_global100Following Pentaho’s success this summer in winning the Red Herring North America competition, which recognizes the most promising private technology companies, Pentaho was invited to participate in this week’s Red Herring 2013 Top 100 Global event and award competition. And we’re pleased to announce that Pentaho won!

We’re honored to be recognized as a Red Herring 2013 Global Top 100 company!

Red Herring Global culminates a full year of work scouring the globe by the Red Herring editorial team and venture capitalists reviewing thousands of privately held companies in regional competitions around the world. The world’s top technology companies are selected based on financial performance, technology innovation and a variety of other metrics that have made the Red Herring Global 100 a mark of distinction for identifying the most promising private companies and entrepreneurs.

Pentaho was joined by a list of impressive company finalists for the Global 100 competition including Pentaho customers Spreadshirt GmbH and Active Broadband Networks (both ended up on the top 100 list as well – our heartfelt congratulations go out to these innovators!). Top private companies from the Red Herring’s Regional competitions in Europe, North America and Asia flew to the Red Herring Global forum in Los Angeles for the final competition on November 19 and 20.

Pentaho CEO, Quentin Gallivan, was asked to present at the forum, where he shared our point of view about how the big data and analytics markets are transforming, particularly with the need to easily blend big data with other data sources for better business insights. Quentin provided insights from our customer front lines about how Pentaho’s Big Data pilot projects are transitioning into widespread deployments with real business impact—with the most powerful insights coming from blending relational and big data sources.

The Red Herring Global forum concluded with an awards gala, where the 2013 Red Herring Global 100 companies were announced.

photo.JPGThis is great validation for Pentaho, as well as our customers, partners and community. Together we’re driving the future of analytics, and the Global 100 award provides a very solid foundation to build upon as we push the boundaries of Analytics with Storm, YARN, and predictive analytics in 2014.

Rosanne

Rosanne Saccone
Chief Marketing Officer
Pentaho


Amplify SaaS Apps by Tapping Diverse Data

November 14, 2013

How can analytics generate value in SaaS, CRM, HCM, and the proverbial “alphabet soup” of cloud applications?  Read below for the “cliff notes” from Pentaho’s recent webinar series on how vendors are leveraging analytics inside a variety of different SaaS (Software-as-a-service) apps. 

Pentaho just wrapped up several webinars with Montclare, a leading provider of SaaS advisory services, on how embedded analytics can benefit SaaS vendors in the Customer Success, Human Capital Management (HCM), and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) categories.  One clear trend was that thinking outside the box to incorporate new & novel data sources can create tremendous value for end users.  It’s not just about pretty visualizations and dashboards – it’s about insights that bubble up when diverse data is blended together.  We’ve broken out some webinar highlights below, and have also created a short summary video for each webinar – see links in each section.

Customer Success with Nick Mehta of Gainsight

Gainsight is a provider of customer success solutions.  CEO Nick Mehta stressed that before you can really build process around customer success, you need a data management strategy.  This means figuring out where crucial success information lives – whether in CRM, Product usage databases, customer surveys, billing systems, or other places.  It also means finding the right way to integrate this information and understanding the data granularity necessary for useful analytics (time frequency, aggregation, etc).

Gainsight’s “at a glance” view of customer base according to risk level (dot color), revenue (y axis), and time since they were signed (x axis)

Gainsight’s “at a glance” view of customer base according to risk level (dot color), revenue (y axis), and time since they were signed (x axis)

Big Data is one path for streamlining a data management approach.  Gainsight leverages a hierarchical infrastructure, where Hadoop serves as a high-volume raw data store, and NoSQL is used as an operational store for more summarized data, which then connects to a final end-user reporting layer.  Data and architecture innovation has allowed Gainsight to create an “at a glance” view of which customers may be at risk (see picture).  This resonates with an evolving trend where SaaS vendors are innovating via Big Data architectures to create more powerful, intelligent, & valuable apps for their customers.  The Customer Success video can be found here.

HCM with Janice D’Aloia of Mo’mix

Mo’mix is an IT software and services provider that embeds Pentaho Analytics in its Performance Center offering – which it launched to give customers a single view across a variety of enterprise data systems.  While self-service analytics and quick deployment helped drive the decision to partner with Pentaho, Mo’mix has really been able to generate value for customers by being able to connect to virtually any data source (ERP, HCM, niche sources, and more), bringing together an end-to-end view that’s accessible to all types of end users, from HR administrators up to the executive level.

Janice went over a few use cases where its clients improved HCM decision-making.  In one example, a client discovered that it was missing employee termination reasons in its source systems, and then was able to fix the discrepancy and track the relevant trends at a more granular to reduce voluntary terminations.  She also touched on retention use cases that focused on identifying high-performing and at-risk employees.  The HCM video can be found here.

CRM & Marketing with Montclare & Pentaho

In this presentation, Kevin Dobbs of Montclare shared some of the analytics-related trends driving CRM & Marketing application adoption – including demand for data insights on a variety of social media channels.  This was exemplified in the case of Paytronix, a Pentaho OEM partner that provides online loyalty solutions to restaurants.  As part of their deployment, Paytronix integrated social and mobile data sources, as well as Big Data technologies, to help clients optimize campaigns against end customer behavioral data more effectively.  At the same time, as they streamlined multi-source data for embedded analytics, Paytronix was also able to reduce ETL processing time by 80%, generating major operational benefits for customers.  The CRM & Marketing video can be found here.

These webinars highlight just a few examples of how application providers across the SaaS/software landscape are striving to deliver new data sources to their customers for additional analytics context and value.   You can access the full-length webinar videos here.  

Ben Hopkins
Product Marketing
Pentaho


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