Sramana Mitra: You said Kimberly-Clark has developed 400 applications in a year on top of your big data platform. Talk to us about what the platform consists of, what data sources they are drawing from and what the types of applications are.
Adriaan van Wyck: Let’s talk about the role we play within the concept of big data. It is a fairly significant space, and because it is so young and developing so quickly, there are different areas of specialty in there. K2 plays a specific role within those solutions. We don’t look at ourselves as an end-to-end big data player. As far as the data consolidation analysis and essentially data mining capabilities are concerned, we rely on technologies that exist around us, which do a good job of providing those capabilities. We come in as soon as organizations need to react to the information they have. What they need to do at this point is as soon as certain information falls outside a certain parameter or it meets a certain criterion, the business needs to react to that information. Typically there is a process wherein we automate that reaction or bring that information to the attention of people within the organization, and they need to react and intervene.
There are many different examples. If you think about the vast amount of information that exists within a logistics organization, they need to react to the top 10% of that information to make sure they meet the SLAs [service level agreements] they have with their customers. How do we allow them to rapidly respond to that information and move the data that exists outside those normal SLA parameters to the right people, give them the tools and information they need to rapidly address it, and respond to it within an acceptable SLA?
The data sources we integrate in are almost unlimited. It depends on the systems around us, how accessible their systems are, whether they have made it easy to integrate with their data, etc. But if that kind of information exists around us, we pretty much step into anything that is available. We have a patented technology called SmartObjects that is focused on tapping into those data sources in a rich way and then logically consolidating information from across those data sources into things that make sense for businesspeople.
If they think about a customer, as an example, and they think about the orders a customer placed in the context of logistics, they want to work with things that make business sense rather than just raw data. Our SmartObjects allows you to do that with the vast amount of data sources that exist around you. That includes the business data, SAP unstructured information from your document repository, as well as real-time information that gets generated by your operational systems. Then you add to that information that exists and constantly changes around you in the public domain – questions like, “Where are the patterns that might change and that might affect the SLA to certain customers?” and “The moment it falls outside certain parameters, how do you retrieve all orders for customers in a specific region, bring it to the attention of people responsible, and then adapt your processes rapidly to make sure you can address those changing circumstances?”
That is where we come in. As those data sources exist, there is a lot of good technology that allows you to get to their data sources or information. But once that is defined, you can then set up triggers within K2 that will react based on that information that is made available. Then K2 will allow you to build users interfaces that make it easy for you to interpret that data and respond to that data when these anomalies occur. If you think about what our customers are doing, those are exactly the kinds of problems they solve.
Another example is the financial services industry, where we are doing very well. Oil & gas is yet another example. I was talking to one of our regional offices this morning, where a big oil & gas customer deployed 13 mission-critical applications within two months, which allowed them to consolidate information across vast data sources and to be efficient in responding to the underlying changes within that information.
SM: Can you describe the tools required to make this happen? What is the position of K2 within the stack of data visualization, analytics, etc.?
AW: There are data access layers, the analytics that essentially allow you to mine and dive into data, activity monitoring–based layers within those solutions that allow you to do even and trigger based responses, etc. We essentially sit on top of all of that. Our touch point into those are one of two: Either tapping into the data sources themselves – either through well-defined data access layers such as HTML, or sometimes much more native access layers, depending on the systems you use. But we don’t rely on any specific data access technology. We don’t want to build a specific reliance on a specific vendor before we can add value to your organization. What we are saying is that through our SmartObjects technology that really understands how to integrate into that data and turn it into logical information, we abstract the need for you to implement a specific system or technology into your data layers.