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Quantivo Launches Cloud-Delivered Data Analytics Service

A data analytics firm whose corporate lineage is traced back to BigFix, an IBM acquisition, has emerged as Quantivo, which is offering data analytics as a cloud-based service. Quantivo, whose CEO, Dave Robbins, grew BigFix from a start-up to a $400 million business, is targeting customers that may not be the biggest companies around but still have "big data" issues to handle.

While most data analytics solutions are run on-premise, Quantivo is unique in starting solely as a cloud service, says Amrit Williams, VP of products for the company. In addition, Quantivo is unique in its ability to do analysis of compressed data; most existing solutions have to uncompress data before analyzing it, which adds to a company’s need for data storage. Quantivo can analyze data that's compressed to 10% of its size when not compressed, Williams sasys. Williams and other BigFix executives came with Robbins to Quantivo after the IBM acquisition closed in February.

Big data is the industry term for the petabytes of data that businesses accumulate from their websites, databases and business software applications, such as customer relationship management or finance apps. Businesses try to analyze this big data--conducting queries--to understand how their business is operating and how to make it more successful. Quantivo’s proprietary technology grew out of work its people were doing analyzing transactions for a credit card issuer to detect possible fraud, says Williams.

While Quantivo wants to serve enterprise customers, it sees a strong opportunity in the small-to-midsize business market where, despite being smaller than enterprises, companies still have vast amounts of data to grapple with.

Williams gave the example of a 20-store supermarket chain in the Minneapolis area whose sales are about $200 million annually and is a customer. In addition to tracking sales and inventory, the chain operates a website, distributes online coupons and maintains a loyalty program, he says. "They want to track all the information across all this data ... to truly understand customer buying behaviors and patterns so that they can look at how they can increase revenues and profits," Williams explains. "They don’t have anything near the type of resources to try and implement that internally."

Quantivo’s ability to analyze compressed data gives the company an advantage over other data analytics firms, including those from tech giants such as HP, IBM, EMC and Oracle, says Joshua Greenbaum, principal analyst at Enterprise Applications Consulting. "In the process of compression, you're storing it in a way that, already, the associations start to surface. From the get-go there’s a set of associations that could show affinities or interactions between elements in the data that may not have been obvious to begin with," he says. "That gives their customers a very powerful starting position to do their analysis." However, Greenbaum adds, some of Quantivo’s competitors are developing second-generation analytics software that works on compressed data, too.

Quantivo shared some industry forecasts that put the size of the entire business analytics market at $24.3 billion in 2010, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) forecast of 7% through 2014. A subset of the market in which Quantivo competes, for "query, reporting and analytics," was pegged at $6.8 billion in 2010 with a CAGR forecast of 7.8% through 2014.

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