When a tech vendor fails, rivals usually rejoice. Not in the nascent BI (business intelligence)-on-demand space, after well-funded startup LucidEra folded in June.
The company had raised almost $21 million in funding from high-profile venture capitalists. Though competitors immediately began wooing LucidEra's customers, they also felt compelled to put out public statements saying that its failure was an outlier, not the beginning of a trend.
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[ Get the no-nonsense explanations and advice you need to take real advantage of cloud computing in the InfoWorld editors' 21-page Cloud Computing Deep Dive PDF special report. | Stay up on the cloud with InfoWorld's Cloud Computing Report newsletter. ]Not only have customers failed to adopt BI-on-demand the way they have other kinds of apps such as CRM (Salesforce.com, for example) or productivity ( Google Apps), but it has also received little validation from the big players.
IBM, for one, is only starting to "research" a Web version of its Cognos BI software.
"The data model differs from company to company, which is why you just can't put it into a multi-tenant environment," said Rob Ashe, general manager for IBM's BI and performance management division.
"I'd say we are of two minds. We like the benefits of the cloud, the elasticity and the way it scales," Ashe continued. "However, you also have to deal with the realities of security and moving a lot of data around."
While Sybase is launching on-demand versions of several apps, it doesn't yet see strong demand from enterprises for an on-demand version of its BI-focused database, Sybase IQ, says CTO Irfan Khan.
One independent analyst, Merv Adrian, says BI-on-demand remains too scary for most enterprises today. "A lot of companies are not willing to throw data in the cloud. Structurally there's no good reason to do it," Adrian said.
Also, BI providers "need to get ease of use right, and make it easy for data to get where it needs to be. You need to tease the value out quickly, otherwise, people are likely to abandon it," he said.
Brad Peters, co-founder of on-demand BI startup Birst says the value proposition for BI-as-a-service remains strong. "When you buy a piece of on-premise software, you have to spend $3-5 on services on top of every license dollar spent because it's still all on you to make it happen," Peters said.
Like BI-on-demand players such as Oco, Birst emphasizes how quick and easy it can be for many would-be customers to deploy. "We look just like Business Objects," Peters said.