Many data industry spectators have spoken highly of the purpose and design of data-transformation startup Trifacta. But academics have led the fledgling company, not seasoned business executives.

That changes today. Trifacta has just hired for itself a new chief executive, Adam Wilson, a 13-year veteran of $948 million data-integration company Informatica. If Wilson gets what he wants, Trifacta’s technology for more easily getting data ready for analysis when it’s sitting in the open-source Hadoop file system for storing lots of different kinds of data could get a lot more pervasive.

“I think we’ve been very focused on building tremendous technology, and I think … it’s time to catch up the go-to-market side of the business from where we are from an engineering perspective,” Wilson said in an interview with VentureBeat. “That’s priority one.”

Wilson’s goal sounds reasonable. So far, talk about Trifacta customers has been limited to naming just two customers: Accretive Health and Lockheed Martin. That isn’t bad, but there’s room for improvement.

Companies, government agencies, and schools have been gradually moving toward Hadoop, so slow pickup for Hadoop-focused tools is understandable.

But just as Hadoop distribution vendors Cloudera, Hortonworks, and MapR have raised big funding rounds and focused more on sales execution, along with analytics tools like Platfora, now it’s time for Trifacta to accelerate its push.

Competitors include Paxata.

Indeed, Wilson believes in Hadoop’s power, not necessarily as a replacement for data warehouses, but more as an essential supplement.

“Our belief is that Hadoop is changing the way people work with data, and we think Trifacta is a critical enabler to that transformation,” he said.

Wilson, who held product marketing, product management, and general manager roles at Informatica, said he’ll focus on the partnerships Trifacta has made with Cloudera and other companies, among other things.

San Francisco-based Trifacta started in 2012 and announced $25 million in new funding in May.

Joe Hellerstein, a Trifacta co-founder who until this point has worked as chief executive, will now hold the title chief strategy officer.

“Funny enough, as part of the building of the company, bringing it off campus [from the University of California, Berkeley], and building the product team, we’ve been looking all along,” Hellerstein told VentureBeat. “We wanted to bring in someone who had experience doing that.”


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