Birst’s CEO says data warehouses are not dead

Birst, a Sequoia-backed business intelligence startup, rolled out a new feature today that targets data warehouses and makes potentially juicy data accessible to business users.

The new product, known as Distributed Business Analytics, combines structured data from data warehouses and any potentially useful departmental data (spreadsheets, lists and files) and stores it in one central place. Currently, companies have one data warehouse and dozens of departmental databases that remain independent of each other. The product, available in 30 days, promises to change that.

Peters told me he was inspired to start an analytics company when he realized that most valuable data doesn’t currently exist in the cloud but is stored on-premise, typically in a data warehouse. Peters told me that data will eventually move to the cloud, but we’re not there yet. He likens the process to jumping into a pool of icy water — “scary at first, but you get used to it.”

Business Intelligence has been accused of being bound by old technology. Companies are increasingly dedicated to the task of exploring the value in their unstructured data, such as emails, tweets, videos, and documents. When asked about innovation from Big Data startups like Datameer, he said: “Data isn’t useful until you can count it, graph it, structure it.”

BI vendors from Oracle to Qlikview will tell you that with their solution, companies can truly harness the power of their data. Birst’s CEO claims his solution is cheaper and more flexible than most; “overall it will probably cost you one-third less.”

This is the San Francisco-based company’s first major product update since nabbing $26 million in its fourth funding round.

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