Infragistics launched Slingshot, a single platform that joins analytics, collaboration, content management and project management in a digital workplace environment for data-driven decision-making.
The platform was in private preview for more than a year and then public preview for about nine months, and was five years in the making, according to Infragistics founder and CEO Dean Guida.
The genesis for Slingshot came from observing businesses and seeing how they struggle to bring together various tools to create an environment for efficient, trusted decision-making, Guida said. Its objective is simply to enable more informed, efficient decision-making by bringing normally separate tools and capabilities into a single workspace.
"When you make data-driven decisions, you have better business outcomes," Guida said. "So at the heart of Slingshot is an advanced data analytics engine that was designed for businesspeople … so they can discover, find and use data to make decisions."
A new platform
Infragistics, founded in 1989 and based in Cranbury, N.J., is known for its user interface and application development tools. With the acquisition of SouthLabs in 2012 and subsequent release of ReportPlus in 2016, it added self-service business intelligence to its portfolio of capabilities, and with the release of Reveal in 2019 expanded its BI suite to include embedded analytics.
Now with the launch of Slingshot, Infragistics is introducing an entire digital workplace that joins together varied capabilities for the purpose of data-driven decision-making.
Most organizations have tools for analytics, collaboration, content management and project management, but they're separate.
They have BI and data management tools for analytics, tools like Microsoft Teams or Slack for collaboration, and still more tools for cataloging data assets such as dashboards, reports and models and project management.
The tools are often able to work together through integrations and connectors, enabling teams to access analytics assets while in their collaboration or project management environments, for example.
But those integrations and connectors can be clumsy, according to Guida.
Infragistics, therefore, built a single platform that combines what are normally siloed capabilities.
Dean GuidaFounder and CEO, Infragistics
"A lot of people have a BI tool, a chat tool and a project management tool, but there's a huge problem by them being disconnected," Guida said. "Slingshot puts all of that in one digital workspace, and the value of that is huge. People think about chat, project management and BI in siloed ways, but you need all of them in a single experience so you don't interrupt the flow of getting work done."
Specific capabilities of Slingshot include:
- the ability to connect analytics from multiple data sources -- including databases, spreadsheets, SaaS system and CRM applications, among others -- to give a full view of business insights;
- a data catalog so users across the organization can find the data and analytics assets they need and know that the data and resulting dashboards, reports and models can be trusted;
- dashboard development so users can visualize data to identify trends, assess performance and forecast potential outcomes; and
- commenting directly within the analytics section so teams can discuss reports, dashboards and models in context rather than in a separate tool and more easily collaborate on projects, particularly when working in a remote or hybrid environment.
Slingshot is aiming at better organizational alignment on goals and objectives, increased visibility into projects and teams, and the development of transparency and trust, according to Infragistics.
Given that Slingshot combines so many normally disparate capabilities in one environment, it stands out among data and analytics platforms, according to Mike Leone, an analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG).
"While there are definitely tools that look to do portions of what Slingshot is delivering, I've yet to come across a vendor that does all of it within a single platform," he said.
And by joining capabilities within Slingshot, Infragistics is enabling more people within organizations to work with data and analytics and be part of the data-driven decision-making process, Leone continued.
According to ESG's research, about half of all organizations want to involve more people with analytics, and just under half want to be able to integrate more of their data with tools beyond their BI platforms.
"Slingshot is enabling this, but in a more comprehensive and tightly aligned way," Leone said. "[Infragistics] is checking off pretty much every box when it comes to what organizations are expecting to do going forward."
Beyond making data-driven decision-making more collaborative and making analytics part of a broader business ecosystem, Slingshot has the potential to improve productivity, he added. Because users can remain in a single workspace to access analytics, collaborate, find data assets and oversee projects, the time it takes to toggle between different environments is reduced.
"Right now, context switching is a big issue when it comes to data analysis," Leone said. "Having to jump between interfaces can be a massive productivity killer. Now, imagine unifying those interfaces and then enabling a new level of collaboration that can enable improved sharing of results or guidance with self-service. That's a big deal."
Pricing and roadmap
Slingshot comes in three tiers. There's a "freemium" model that comes with three workspaces that enables more users within organizations to use Slingshot without everyone needing to buy a subscription. The basic version, meanwhile, costs $15 per person, per month or $144 annually and Slingshot Enterprise is available for $240 per person annually.
The platform is available as a desktop application for both Mac and Windows and as a mobile app, and users can access it on any web browser at slingshotapp.io.
With Slingshot now generally available, Infragistics plans to add new capabilities to the platform in the coming months.
In particular, automation capabilities that offer suggestions, templates that enable users to develop workspaces based on their individual needs and enhanced overview windows that, in essence, tell users what they should be paying attention to and what is most important are all on the vendor's roadmap, according to Guida.
"We're just so happy," he said.
Editor's note: Enterprise Strategy Group is a division of TechTarget.