Birst: Making Data Into The World's Most Valuable Natural Resource

Jan 13 2014, 9:08am CST | by

Birst: Making Data Into The World's Most Valuable Natural Resource

While the 20th century was about oil, the next century is going to be about data. This is what the CEO of IBM, Ginni Rometty, thinks. She calls data a “natural resource.”

While it’s heady stuff, the vision does seem reasonable.  Just some of the powerful forces driving this include: the relentless growth in mobile devices and the prevalence of sensors, as well as trends like cloud computing, social media and dirt-cheap storage.

Although, there is something else that’s absolutely critical: analytics software.

As should be no surprise, there is a growing number of providers hitting the market. But there is one that has been able to stand out – that is, Birst.

No doubt, the CEO and co-founder of the company, Brad Peters, definitely has the right background. While at Siebel – which is now a part of Oracle – he led the Analytics business. It was actually the key for its growth.

However, he saw that using on-premise software was far from ideal. So when he launched Birst in 2005, he built the software as a cloud app. It would allow for a much more effective platform for collecting and analyzing data across diverse sources.

“If you are in the marketing department,” said Brad, “Birst can consolidate information on purchases, returns, service interactions and so on. From this, you can get a better view of your customers across different touch points. Or, you can do something similar on the sales side by bringing in data from CRM systems and other data sources. From this, you can get an idea of how deals are progressing, such as looking at lead-to-close.”

In other words, Birst is not just a fancy set of dashboards. “We are much more than a UI for building charts,” said Brad. “Dashboards have become commoditized.”

But unlike traditional on-prem analytics tools, the technology is meant for broad appeal. “From the start,” said Brad, “we wanted to make it easy for anyone to use analytics. You no longer have to be a data scientist.”

And when everyone in an organization is using analytics, the impact can be transformative. After all, look at how companies like, Netflix and Google have done this. It can seem like magic.

To highlight this, Brad offers an interesting example: “Let’s suppose you have 100 employees and you want to expand. One approach is to, say, hire 10 more people. Or, using another strategy, you can make each of your 100 employees 10% more productive. You’ll get the same impact.”

And of course, this is what next-generation analytics products can do today – and at prices that many companies can afford.

Tom Taulli (@ttaulli) operates MasterCFO, which helps early-stage companies with accounting, payroll and taxes.

Source: Forbes Business


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