Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

GoodData Promises Business Intelligence That Really Makes Money

Lots of companies these days talk about “big data.” The prevailing theory is that, with the right kind of intelligent analysis, there is embedded within the ebb and flow of a company’s daily operations useful information that can lead to cost savings or more efficiency, the elimination of bottlenecks and better anticipation of patterns that might not otherwise be apparent.

But few come out and promise that performing that analysis will actually make you money. Today, GoodData — the cloud-based data analysis firm that in July took a $25 million series C round of venture capital funding led by Tenaya Capital — is promising exactly that.

CEO and founder Roman Stanek hopes to create a new business category: Business Data Monetization. A great deal of money has been invested in finding meaning within otherwise meaningless data, and yet companies are still struggling to make heads or tails of it. “It’s ironic that, despite billions of dollars spent on business intelligence systems, we are still data-bankrupt,” Stanek says in a company statement.

GoodData’s approach is to do what it has aimed to do from the start: Offer its business intelligence platform as a service. But now it’s kicking that up a notch. Having worked for a few years with more than 6,000 customers, including AOL and LivingSocial, the company has enough experience that it has developed a series of prebuilt templates that it calls “Bashes.” These Bashes, it says, allow any business person at a company of any size to collect and process data from several sources, and to find not only meaningful patterns, but ones that can be turned into new sources of revenue.

There are three Bashes available right away: The GoodMarketing Bash, the GoodSales Bash, and the GoodSubscription Bash. Naturally, the one devoted to marketing allows you to measure how your marketing campaigns contribute to revenue. The point is to spend your marketing dollars more efficiently by concentrating on efforts that are more likely to convert. The sales Bash tracks sales opportunities; the subscription Bash tracks engagement with customers.

GoodData’s strategy is a little different from the other players. Rather than compete directly with the usual providers of business-intelligence software, like SAP, Oracle and IBM, it offers its service indirectly, via cloud service providers like Amazon Web Services, Dell’s Boomi cloud-integration service, and Okta, the start-up focused on providing unified access to SaaS services. It seems to be working. Sales are growing super fast — 600 percent in 2011 — and Stanek is starting to talk about taking the company public within the next few years.

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— Gitesh Pandya of comments on the dreadful opening weekend box office numbers for “The Fifth Estate.”