Listen to my conversation with Quentin Gallivan, CEO of PivotLink, which delivers on-demand analytics.
In this podcast, find out how pre-packaged key performance indicators (KPI) can make business intelligence more readily productive for the average user and learn why the SaaS model helps deliver that insight more rapidly than traditional solutions.
Listen to or download the 10:00 minute podcast below:
PW: Quentin, I know you’ve been doing some work recently with PivotLink to make analytics and business intelligence more relevant to ordinary business people like you and I. Why is that necessary? Why is BI so difficult for people to get to grips with?
QC: BI was developed as a technology platform, where IT bought the technology platform and then tried to solve business problems for business users. And the traditional architecture around BI was one that was very complex and cumbersome, because you’re integrating data from various sources. In many cases, projects would take months or years to get going, at a very, very high cost. What PivotLink is doing is really turning it on its head and really building the new BI for business users.
So instead of business users — and specifically VPs of sales, or VPs of marketing, or VPs of HR, or supply chain management executives — having to wait for IT to build cumbersome, complex software, what we’ve done is really come out with BI for the business user, where we have BI-based applications that are off the shelf. We call them ReadiMetrix — and they’re targeting executives in the sales, marketing, HR, and supply chain department — and they come with pre-packaged key performance indicators that are relevant to that specific business user. They come with prepackaged reports and metrics.
So out-of-the-box, for example, a VP of sales can do deep-dive analytics on that person’s pipeline, their order status, their opportunities — and really get up-and-running with deep insight in a matter of hours and sometimes days, compared to months and years in the previous technology model.
Okay. So what you’ve done is, instead of giving people a technology toolkit from which they can then build an application and finally get doing the things that they originally wanted to do, you’re actually delivering them something which is effectively ready-made — an off-the-shelf solution that is pretty close to what you think they’re going to need.
Exactly. That’s why we call it ReadiMetrix. It’s really based on industry best practices for that specific function or department.
What I was going to ask was, how can you be sure that people will want to use these KPIs — key performance indicators — that you’ve chosen? Because I guess the whole point of people using the toolkit to build their own custom BI in the past was that they didn’t think — or the vendors didn’t believe — that they could offer the right metrics that people were going to want to use.
Right. What we’ve done is really — our market research around what the business users require or what industry best practices are — really based on both talking to analysts, talking to the market, but also talking to our existing customer base. We have over 15,000 subscribers on the PivotLink service that are generating over two million analytical reports every month, and a lot of those use cases are sales analytics, marketing analytics, supply chain analytics. So we looked at all the KPIs that our existing customers use and then we’ve rolled out this service.
And the great thing about the way that PivotLink is doing this, for example, with Readimetrix for sales, there are 56 KPIs and 17 reports. And what we’re seeing is, our customers are buying this and they’re going, ‘Hey, I didn’t think about running my business with these four specific KPIs; this is great. This is information [so] that I can be more effective in my job.’ And then there’s flexibility in the PivotLink platform, so that if the VP of sales says, ‘I’d like those 56 KPIs out-of-the-box but I want to add 30 of my own,’ it’s very easy for us to add those custom KPIs into the solution for the VP of sales.
And I suppose that’s characteristic also of a SaaS vendor — because you deliver your solution on-demand. And what we see with the software-as-a-service vendors is that increasingly they’re not just delivering the software; they’re actually delivering something, which is more like a business solution. And I suppose in a sense that’s what you’re doing.
Yes, in fact, instead of business intelligence delivered on-demand — which we do, we provide a service for IT in the more traditional sense — this new BI for the business user, we’re calling insight-as-a-service. Because again, not only providing very fast tools and value and KPIs, but we’re doing it based on the collective insight of existing customers, the collective insight of the industry.
In fact, the extension of these ReadiMetrix is our customers are coming back to us and saying this is great, we like what you’ve done originally but we’d also like to be a community. For example, other VPs of sales or sales ops are using our service. They would like to form a community of their own and share KPIs that they’re using going forward. It’s very easy for us to incorporate this shared wisdom back into our service…