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Deal Radar 2008: Lucidera

Posted on Monday, Mar 3rd 2008

LucidEra, the on-demand business intelligence solution provider was founded in 2005 by Ken Rudin, John Sichi and Tai Tran. We had featured Ken Rudin, the CEO of LucidEra last year in an interview.

LucidEra offers analytics for CRM and ERP to the SME market, accessible by the web. While Business Intelligence solutions are highly common in large organizations, it is often too expensive to develop and then further maintain in small and medium enterprises. LucidEra came up with a generic platform to build vertical solutions for the key questions that most businesses have.

However, research has shown that large enterprises use on-demand BI and the level of interest is not dependent on the size of the company. You could read more on this thought here.
Thus the market for on-demand BI is not limited to the SME market.

LucidEra is priced at $3000 per month, per company (for 100 users), inclusive of the BI software and pre-built connectors to three data sources. It can retrieve information from systems such as Oracle, Salesforce.com and Netsuite. It has recently announced business analytics for Oracle Order Management. The new solution priced in the range of $1900 to $3900 per month/application (depending on volumes of data) will allow the users to unlock useful information contained in the system to identify and eliminate glitches between bookings and shipment.

In August 2007, the company secured Series B funding of $ 15.6 million led by Crosslink Capital. Crosslink Capital investor Peter Rip estimated that the market for web-based BI services is around $ 600 million and is growing at 30 percent compounded for the next five years. The company had earlier started with a capitalization of $7 million in Series A funding from Benchmark Capital and Matrix Partners, in 2005.

LucidEra is not alone, in fact, not only does it face competition from other established BI companies like IBM/Cognos, SAP/Business Objects, Oracle/Hyperion and SAS who offer on-demand options but also start-ups like Seatab software, Host Analytics and Oco who offer BI as a complete on-demand solution. Ken Rudin, however, opines “2007 was the year of market consolidation in business intelligence market. First Oracle acquired Hyperion for $3.3 billion in March. This was positioned as being all about enterprise performance management, but what about the Brio technology that Hyperion was still working on integrating? Next came SAP’s acquisition of Business Objects for $6.8 Billion in October. Again performance management, or performance optimization, was the key message. The deal was great for the BOBJ shareholders, but Business Objects had already been on an acquisition spree of its own. What about Cartesis, SRC, and even some of the yet to be fully integrated Crystal technology? Finally in November Cognos fell to IBM for $4.9 billion. As a result, for these “mega-vendors”, BI will stand for “bloated integration” in 2008 not business innovation or intelligence. Meanwhile, just like in a forest when the tall trees get cut down, the newer undergrowth has a chance to flourish.This is where LucidEra comes in. Founded by the former
head of Siebel’s on-demand CRM business unit, LucidEra is focused on delivering business analytics that are simple to set up, simple to use, and simple to buy.”

Perhaps self-serving, but Lucidera does have an interesting value proposition. But then it also has competition from the other ‘undergrowths’ who are vying to flourish just as badly. Open source upstarts, JasperSoft and Pentaho could offer competition to LucidEra. Yet, LucidEra scores a point simply because it was one of the early leaders to offer on-demand BI solutions. Ken Rudin says, “The Company began selling SaaS analytics applications in May of 2007 and has since signed up over 30 customers the majority of whom are also salesforce.com customers.”

On-demand Business Intelligence, as a category, will do well. My assessment is that Lucidera is one of best bets in this market. Not the least significant of my reasons is that Ken Rudin is a seasoned guy, and I expect execution to be flawless.

This segment is a part in the series : Deal Radar 2008


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