Cloud Startup In Focus – Anaplan
Cloud Analytics is a hot space right now and there’s no second guessing about it. Driven by the demand for quick analytics for anyone and everyone, from C level executives down to a plant operator, startups are sprouting up and taking on the challenge to solve the equation of providing big data analytics for SMEs and enterprise companies alike. Anaplan is one such startup with solid technology and rapidly growing customer base. It provides modeling solutions for finance and operations, all served through the Cloud.
The industry has perfected the art of gathering data, huge amounts of it. This is what we often call “big data”. It may be temperature readings inside a manufacturing plant being streamed through a WSN (Wireless Sensor Network) onto a big data store or finance transactions of an organization or consumer product sales etc. With the humongous amounts of data being logged around the clock, what use would it be if we cannot model it and derive trends, patterns and insights? Unfortunately, the “processing” part of this equation has yet to catch up, despite a plethora of new and old companies offering big data modeling and analytic solutions.
The big promise of Cloud based big data analytics is to enable decision makers to base their forecasts and decisions, albeit small, on real data being constantly streamed into companies own systems or on the internet. One such case, for example, is sentiment analysis on Twitter. There are companies which offer solutions to process tweets and determine user sentiment on a particular product, service or an event. Small and medium sized companies would find it hard to procure hardware and license software in order to log the twitter data and then perform analytics on it. Cloud analytics provides a viable alternative. It helps you log and process data and generate analytic reports without the need for any sort of hardware.
Anaplan is one such startup. It has recently closed its Series C with $30 million funding. The company promises to offer an “alternate to (Microsoft) Excel based analytics”. This promise comes with lightning fast multi-dimensional modeling engine powered by their patented Hyperblock technology which is a hybrid of relational, vertical and OLAP databases and a calculation engine. One user quotes processing 2.8 million transactional records under 2 seconds – on the Cloud.
Since the complete application resides on the Cloud, there’s no need for any dedicated hardware for the application to work. You can fire up the application inside your browser on a mobile platform. This thin deployment which they call “Zero Deployment” is what Cloud is all about. You no more need to license “boxes” along with the analytics solution although there’s still an aspect of vendor lock-in which needs to be addressed deeply. However, the solution comes with a data migration tool which enables data to be imported or exported in/out of popular platforms like Salesforce and SnapLogic etc.
Putting powerful and yet simple-to-use analytics into the hands of decision makers liberates them from the need to tie up IT and drives better decisions based on real data. Anaplan and startups like this are making a headway into this territory.
By Salman UI Haq
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