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Application-monitoring expert New Relic has made its first acquisition as it moves more deeply into the analytics market, buying a startup called Ducksboard, a specialist in dashboards that visualizes data. The move will result in the addition of data from scores of cloud services into New Relic’s Insights service for analyzing application usage.

“I found that it takes a lot of time to do a good integration with every one of these services,” Lew Cirne, founder and chief executive of New Relic, said in an interview with VentureBeat. “They all have different APIs [application programming interfaces] and different ways of authentication. It makes sense to buy, not build.”

That says a lot about how much San Francisco-based New Relic wants to succeed with its second act. Acquiring companies in order to strengthen services beyond core capabilities is a classic move in the technology industry. Companies like Salesforce and Oracle have demonstrated this again and again, and now it’s New Relic’s turn.

By buying Ducksboard, New Relic gains eight employees from Barcelona-based Ducksboard — the entire team — and a means to cover 65 services, from AngelList to Zendesk, from to Stripe.


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“We don’t think it will be much [work] at all to take in Ducksboard and funnel it all into Insights, so you can present it all from a common view and build data apps on top of it,” said Cirne, who is announcing the news at his company’s FutureStack conference in San Francisco today.

Incidentally, Cirne is also talking for the first time today about the ability to build “data apps” using information from New Relic. The idea is to enable non-technical workers to generate essentially their very own business-intelligence dashboards.

“We want to make it possible for people to build apps on top of our full-stack platform, where all you need to do is type in queries, put them into dashboards, and with a little bit of work, assemble dashboards together,” Cirne said. “You can build these powerful apps. Somebody who’s not a NRQL [New Relic query language jockey] can use these things to get their job done.”

Companies will be able to start crafting data apps next year, according to a statement.

Taken together, the news from New Relic points to the continuing emphasis on providing tools not just to developers who want to make sure all components of their applications are working properly: More than ever before, salespeople, marketing teams, and executives have become New Relic’s target audience as well. Competitors in business intelligence will take note of the progress, as will AppDynamics, a close New Relic competitor in the app-monitoring market. The question is how long it will take companies small and large to catch on to New Relic’s still-new second area of focus.

Ducksboard, for its part, started in 2011, and has taken on funding from Kibo Ventures, François Derbaix, Jesus Pindado, and Walter Kobylanski, among others.

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