BI on demand

I write recently about the emergence of software as a service as one of the few bright spots in enterprise software at present.  With perfect timing, today a vendor came along and announced a software as a service offering in the business intelligence field.  Celequest is a start-up and it is certainly early days to see how well this idea takes off, but this is certainly an interesting development.  Celequest has the credibility of being run by Dias Nesamoney, who was founder iof Infomatica, and is backed by VCs Bay Partners and Lightspeed Ventures, who both have long track records.  The company was set up in 2002, and has some good customers like Citigroup, Cendant and Brocade, though it is not clear from the company’ website what scale these deployments are.  The application covers dashboards, analytics and data integration technology.  As far as I am aware the company uses an in-memory database “appliance” though from what I can gather the volume of data dealt with by this application so far is modest.  However this is not the point and no doubt will imcrease over time as the concept gains acceptance.  Celequest has made an astute partnership with salesforce.com, with a bridge to AppExchange.  There is also a connector to SAP. 

Certainly, there are barriers to the widesprea acceptance of this approach.  Large enterprises will be naturally conservative about the idea of letting their data out of the corporate firewall, particularly when it is key performance data of he type that BI applications use.  It is also unclear what sort of scale issues come into play when data is being accessed from beyond the coirporate network.  However for many companies, and especially SMEs, such issues will seem less important than the convenience of being able to deploy a business intelligence solution without the usual hassle of complex software installation and an army of systems integrators.  No doubt where Celequest has begun to tread, others will follow, and it will be a healthy new area of competition in the business intelligence industry.