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ThoughtSpot roadmap aims to make analytics simple, efficient

The vendor's product development philosophy is designed to give users more output from the platform while requiring less effort from the users themselves.

LAS VEGAS -- The roadmap for ThoughtSpot is guided by the idea of enabling users to get more output from their analytics while putting in less time and effort.

"That's the philosophy," said Sumeet Arora, ThoughtSpot's chief development officer. "Whatever we do, we are always putting ourselves in the shoes of our users. Whether it's the business user or the analyst or the application builder, we want to make sure that they can achieve their outcome with less input and more output."

Similarly, Cindi Howson, ThoughtSpot's chief data strategy officer, noted that making analytics as simple as possible is key for the vendor.

"We want getting data and insights -- and linking those insights to action -- to be as easy as working in your consumer-grade apps," she said.

Target audiences

It's with the three personas Arora referenced -- the business user, analyst and application developer -- in mind that ThoughtSpot has developed its roadmap, according to Arora.

ThoughtSpot, founded in 2012 and based in Sunnyvale, Calif., plans to add automation and machine learning capabilities to better enable business users with self-service analytics.

According to ThoughtSpot CEO Sudheesh Nair, one goal going forward is to reduce the amount of searching data that users need to do.

ThoughtSpot chief development officer Sumeet Arora
ThoughtSpot chief development officer Sumeet Arora speaks during Beyond 2022, the vendor's user conference.

Though the vendor is known for its natural language search capabilities, rather than force users to ask a question when they first log in to ThoughtSpot, Nair wants ThoughtSpot to already have answers ready for the users based on what ThoughtSpot has learned about their wants and needs from past activity.

In addition, while ThoughtSpot unveiled rudimentary data storytelling capabilities on May 10 during Beyond 2022, its first in-person user conference since 2019, it says it plans to add more in the future.

"We are asking, 'How do we also make it easier for business users to understand data itself?'" Arora said. "We call it data fluency. That is one direction on the roadmap."

To address the needs of data analysts and engineers, ThoughtSpot unveiled ThoughtSpot Sync and a host of integrations with partners' platforms, including DBT Labs, Databricks, Dremio and Starburst. ThoughtSpot Sync is the result of the vendor's 2021 acquisition of SeekWell and enables users to automatically trigger actions within applications through APIs.

Whether it's the business user or the analyst or the application builder, we want to make sure that they can achieve their outcome with less input and more output.
Sumeet AroraChief development officer, ThoughtSpot

The integrations, meanwhile, further enmesh ThoughtSpot into an ecosystem for data management and analytics that frees users to customize their analytics using the tools that best fit their needs, with the knowledge that they'll work together.

And as part of its roadmap, ThoughtSpot plans to add more integrations.

"It's important to be integrated with the ecosystem, but it's also super important to make it easy for the end user -- the end persona -- to make the most of the ecosystem," Arora said. "ThoughtSpot is always focused on that aspect."

Finally, for applications builders, ThoughtSpot plans to build on capabilities such as Data Workspace -- a tool that enables analysts, engineers and developers to build and operationalize interactive, real-time data assets -- and add more pre-built SpotApps, analytics applications for specific third-party workplace applications that customers can quickly deploy with a few clicks.

"For sure, we'll be continuing to add SpotApps," Howson said. "You'll see a lot more of our partners creating these SpotApps, and those include insight to action."

Customer desires

While ThoughtSpot is working to address the needs of different customer personas with its roadmap, the customers themselves have specific capabilities they'd like to see added to the vendor's platform.

ThoughtSpot has evolved significantly in recent years. Perhaps most importantly, it transformed from a vendor that served an exclusively on-premises customer base of large enterprises to a cloud-first vendor offering pricing models that enable companies of different sizes to use the platform.

In addition, after initially gearing its platform almost exclusively toward business users with its natural language search capabilities, it added tools to address the needs of the additional personas Arora referenced. And the new integrations and capabilities unveiled during Beyond 2022 served to further ThoughtSpot's evolution, according to customers.

In particular, the integrations with partners were the most useful addition unveiled during Beyond 2022, according to Pat Deshler, senior vice president of technology, survey and document solutions at Data Recognition Corporation (DRC), a vendor of assessment systems for K-12 education, federal and state governments, and commercial clients.

"The amount of work they've been doing with partners -- whether it be DBT, Databricks, Starburst -- stood out," he said.

ThoughtSpot has long had a close relationship with Snowflake, and the integrations with other cloud data vendors such as Databricks and Amazon Web Services give ThoughtSpot users more freedom to deploy data in the location of their choice or multiple locations of their choice, Deshler continued.

"As we've started moving from on-premises to a cloud infrastructure, the notion that we're going to put all our data in Snowflake is not reality ... so seeing ThoughtSpot apply the due diligence it has applied in the past to Snowflake to other providers is critical for us," he said.

Similarly, Brent Litwak, vice president of global sales and field operations at no-code AI platform vendor Accern, highlighted the integrations.

"I'm a bit biased toward connector frameworks because they touch our systems so much, so it means a lot that ThoughtSpot has done a lot, not only investing and augmenting, but delivering on that great, scalable connector framework," he said. "Being able to tap into the large-scale APIs of the world and then being able to utilize the scale ThoughtSpot provides means a lot."

Nevertheless, there's more that customers would like from ThoughtSpot.

DRC has been a ThoughtSpot customer since 2017 and has used the vendor's embedded analytics capabilities extensively in its development of data and analytics products for a customer base that includes many school systems. But with many of its end users being teachers themselves, Deshler said he'd like ThoughtSpot to add more filtering capabilities to ease the filtering burden on its end users who might not have the same data literacy as a business analyst.

"We want to pre-filter that to get them into a comfortable, inviting initial view," he said. "So [it would be good to have] the ability to enable us to think and tailor in terms of that end user in finer-grain detail than some of the groupings that are in there today."

Litwak, meanwhile, said adding no-code prescriptive analytics capabilities would be helpful. He noted that some vendors offer such capabilities -- for example, analytics vendor MicroStrategy launched Guided Insights in February 2022 -- and would like to see them on the ThoughtSpot roadmap.

"I want that one-click prescriptive nature," Litwak said. "Some other products out there already offer it, but more one-click features that are not programmatic in nature and allow for more guided, iterative analytics for the user would be a further push in direction toward self-service. ThoughtSpot has a lot on the roadmap, but the prescriptive analytics is extremely important."

Ease of use

Given ThoughtSpot's guiding philosophy of attempting to enable users to do more while making the process of going from data ingestion to insight and action easier, Deshler and Litwak might soon get the capabilities they want.

One-click prescriptive analytics and added filtering capabilities are both geared toward enabling end users to work more easily with data. And both DRC and Accern have worked with ThoughtSpot in the past to add features to the vendor's roadmap.

"We are building a smarter system with more automation that's powered by AI smarts, and any other smarts that we can create, so that users give the least possible input and we give the most possible output," Arora said.

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