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GoodData to unveil analytics platform overhaul in April

Self-service business intelligence and data as a service form the foundation of the overhauled platform GoodData plans to release in April following two years of retooling.

GoodData is set to unleash its new analytics platform on April 15.

After nearly two years of work overhauling every aspect of its suite that began during the summer of 2019, the vendor, founded in 2007 and based in San Francisco, will unveil a set of capabilities that promotes self-service analytics through a cloud-based data as a service (DaaS) model.

Key to DaaS is that data files don't have to be transferred from a data warehouse or data lake into a business intelligence platform for analysis and are made available to customers over a network on a pay-as-they-go basis. In addition, the data wrangling, data preparation and data interpretation is handled for the users.

Over the nearly two years it's taken to overhaul its platform, GoodData has gone through every part of its analytics portfolio, altering some capabilities to make them compatible with the vendor's new approach, eliminating others that are no longer relevant, and adding still others to keep up with the latest trends in analytics.

Among the capabilities GoodData has added in the past six months are self-service data modeling tools, and most recently tools to improve data storytelling and data literacy.

GoodData's intent with its platform has been motivated by an effort to enable customers to get insights from their data rather than merely see it and attempt to derive meaning from it, according to CEO Roman Stanek.

Previously, GoodData focused heavily on embedded analytics, and while tools that enable embedded BI remain part of the vendor's platform -- and Stanek said he still believes in the value of embedding applications in users' workflows -- they're no longer the vendor's main focus.

Making analytics self-service, given the complexity of data and licensing and so on, was a big deal for us, and we're very focused on it. We see it as the key to the future of the company.
Roman StanekCEO, GoodData

"Making analytics self-service, given the complexity of data and licensing and so on, was a big deal for us, and we're very focused on it," Stanek said. "We see it as the key to the future of the company. Most of our customers will have a low-touch experience with us, and [using the platform], everyone should be able to educate themselves and use analytics."

Ease of use is a key part of that, enabling many users as possible -- not only trained data scientists and data analysts -- to work with data and derive insights in order to make data-driven decisions.

Traditional BI, Stanek said, didn't enable everyday business users to glean insights. It provided information in the form of statistics and data visualizations, but it took significant training to actually interpret and make actionable. Even embedded BI, he continued, while an improvement, isn't enough to make analytics accessible to a wide audience of users.

"That's not a business we want to be in," Stanek said. "It's an awful solution for the problem of providing analytics and metrics to the whole company. The whole BI model is fundamentally broken, so our solution is to turn the GoodData platform into data as a service. The fundamental thing is we have to provide insights to customers in a flexible way."

A sample GoodData dashboard displays an organization's sales data.
An organization's sales data is displayed in a sample dashboard from GoodData.

Meanwhile, the move to promote self-service analytics and offer data as a service is the right direction for GoodData, according to Mike Leone, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group.

"We've heard self-service from virtually everyone in the analytics space over the last couple years, and I think this is the year we see adoption based on self-service really catapult forward. GoodData is in a fantastic position to capitalize," he said.

And the flexibility Stanek referred to will be an important part of being in a good position to capitalize, Leone continued.

"Based on where the platform is today, I think we'll see a heavy emphasis on flexibility going forward," he said. "Organizations want more flexibility in what data sources can be leveraged. They want deployment flexibility. And they want integration flexibility to existing and new workflows."

Though GoodData's fully revamped platform won't be unveiled for general availability until April 15, the customer response to the steps the vendor has taken since the summer of 2019 has been positive, according to Stanek.

In a bid to attract new customers and introduce its data-as-a-service model, GoodData released a free version of the self-service product in spring 2020.

The move accomplished its goal, and despite the financial struggles many organizations experienced as a result of the pandemic in 2020, GoodData's revenues from its self-service product were nine times higher in 2020 than the previous year, Stanek said. In addition, even though GoodData offered a free version of its capabilities, 63% of the vendor's customers spent more with GoodData in 2020 than they did in 2019.

"They've seen fantastic customer retention, increased spend from existing customers, and net new customer acquisition growth," Leone said.

And that, according to Stanek, has given GoodData confidence it's headed in the right direction.

"That helped us validate the technology we were developing," he said.

Although April 15 will mark GoodData's launch of data as a service, and though much of the past two years has been spent preparing for that date, GoodData is continuing to invest in new features and capabilities to advance the overall performance of its platform.

Its roadmap includes new augmented intelligence tools, predictive modeling capabilities and continuing to enable embedded BI, according to Stanek.

"It will all be in the framework of data as a service," he said. "There are so many things that are not being solved today that we see on our roadmap, but the foundation will be the new framework."

Enterprise Strategy Group is a division of TechTarget.

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