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Though Leaders in Big Data: Interview with Dave Rich, CEO of Revolution Analytics (Part 7)

Posted on Friday, Feb 22nd 2013

Sramana Mitra: I think the synthesis of everything is that if you play in the platform layer, it is better that you work with application vendors who build on top of your platform and actually go and sell those applications. Those could range from energy trading to agricultural forecasting to financial services. But you need to have specific domain expertise in those areas, and you have businesses that are focused on selling to those client bases.

That is one strategy. The other strategy is: If you are going to develop applications of your own, you have to choose which area you want to go into. In that case productivity tools and applications will get you some distance, but I think you need a professional services organization that consists of data scientists who are trained on your particular technology to bring not just the technology to the table.

Dave Rich: That is exactly what our strategy is. One of the people I added to the team was a VP of partner and channel sales. We believe that this is going to be partner led.  Whether it is the Accentures of the world, or if you point out somebody who takes our platform and builds their own horizontal business domain application, integrators like Accenture then put their industry vertical expertise on top of that, but the core of it is us.

In one of my prior roles at Accenture, I ran the CRM service line and I got to hear the story of Marc Benioff at Salesforce. He said something profound, and it stuck with me at the time. He said, “Had I had to do it all over again, I would call the company Force.com. Then I would have made myself available to anybody who was [ready] to build a sales force, a marketing application, or a supply chain application. I would have left room for them to do their part. Then companies like Accenture can put their industry flavor on a pharmaceutical Salesforce.com.” His point was that he would have created a platform where others could have jumped in, and that would have led to quicker adoption of software as a service as a mainstream way of running applications.

SM: So, you want to be a platform as a service provider?

DR: Exactly.

SM: That has competition. I know that for a fact. If you follow our blog, you will encounter competition.

Michelle Chambers: I am interested, from your perspective and based on what you have heard, who you think the competition would be.

SM: I am still piecing together the ecosystem map in my head. Splunk would be competition from that point of view. But there are other smaller players that are also going to be competition. This analytics platform and service positioning is a space that other people are trying to claim ownership of. When I asked you earlier whom you consider to be your competition, you said there is really no competition except for the legacy companies like SAS and SPSS. That is not a correct position to take.

DR: As you relate to the general purpose of advanced analytics tools, R is the prevailing standard in the world. I was answering a very specific question. I agree with you that if you are talking about a complete suite of application development tools, there is more to the story. I was just talking about predictive analytics tools.

SM: In terms of applications, there is a series of options I have.

DR: OK. Then we need to go to school. Someone will do that homework assignment for our next call.

SM: It was nice talking to you. Thank you very much.

DR: Thank you for your time.

MC: Thank you, everyone.

This segment is part 7 in the series : Though Leaders in Big Data: Interview with Dave Rich, CEO of Revolution Analytics
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