It’s spring in San Francisco and Birst is getting ready to host our annual user conference, Birst FORWARD 2014, which brings customers, partners and colleagues from around the world to the city where Birst was founded and is headquartered. Spring is one of my favorite times of year and I’m looking forward to sharing my enthusiasm for this city, as well as some of the local sites and attractions, with Birst conference attendees.

In 2010, President Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. While interest groups and party extremists continue to debate nearly every facet of the law, one major component has been widely gaining momentum while out of the public forum: a provision that allows healthcare providers to create Accountable Care Organizations, which seek to tie patient outcomes to reimbursements.

I recently had the opportunity to participate in a podcast series on marketing technology with Glenn Gow, Managing Director of Crimson Marketing. During the interview, we discussed the continued alignment of sales and marketing, and the issue of increased accountability for marketers today with regard to quantifying Sales Qualified Leads and other marketing metrics. Much of this stems from the increasingly important role data plays as an underlying strategic resource in today’s organizations.

Successful businesses run on data. There’s a lot of value in looking at information within your business systems, comparing quarter over quarter growth or comparing regions to one another. But what about when you want to compare data across systems, from multiple data sources and types? You want to understand how your marketing campaigns have influenced your customers’ buying decisions over the past year, 5 years and 10 years. What if you want to map those campaigns against customer locations to see if particular messages have resonated with specific regions?

Last week, Cloudera issued a news release talking about the next version of its Hadoop powered platform, Cloudera Enterprise 5. As one of the partners within that ecosystem, Birst is excited announce that we are now certified on Cloudera’s Distribution Including Apache Hadoop Version 5 (CDH5) and are quite excited about what that certification means to our customers too.

Last month I talked about how the initial high of being able to capture and manipulate large volumes of data is fading and that we are collectively looking toward what is coming next. A significant part of this is a shift toward realizing the value of data quickly and intuitively. The possibilities that were once hidden deep within mountains of data, are just now being uncovered in ways that deliver competitive advantage.

Birst continues to be on a roll. Things are moving quickly around here and are reflective of the rapid and growing adoption of Cloud BI. In fact, Birst is setting the pace across the industry. From impressive customer growth to innovative product offerings and new offices opening up around the world, it’s an exciting time at Birst… and we are just getting started.

How Soon is Now?

Does this sound familiar? Your intuition tells you an investment in analytics is likely due. You’re a growing SaaS business with an amazing solution and looking to optimize your company for long-term growth and success.  And, while you have a talented team of analysts who perform gold medal-worthy gymnastics with Excel to keep your executive staff updated on the health of your business, you can’t seem to prioritize an analytics project over investing, say, in a Configure-Price-Quote tool for your sales team or an incentive compensation management system.

Like Apple in the consumer space, Salesforce.com in the Enterprise space has done more to create an ecosystem of developers and vendors whose chief source of revenue is providing applications that allow SFDC customers the ability to enhance the value they get out of their SFDC investment.

CDO Wrap-Up

The future for data within organizations – who is in charge?

Over the past few months, I have had multiple conversations with customers, press and analysts about the role of data within companies. With so much information at our fingertips, we have to be smarter about how we use that data. With so many different people involved in decisions, responsibilities will have to change as well.

Cultivating Culture Champions

Culture, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is a way of thinking, behaving, or working that exists in a place or organization, such as a business like Birst. So what goes into making a corporate culture successful? How do you continue and strengthen that success?

Cloud Expo Europe is one of the bigger events in the UK focusing on cloud technologies, applications and services that are available in the market today. Over the course of two days, this year’s event attracted around 5,000 attendees which is an impressive number by any account.

From the conversations I had at the event, there were a few things that struck me so I thought I would take a moment to share my thoughts with you:

Please join Birst’s CEO for a panel discussion hosted by Druva on March 6 at 10:30 a.m. PST. As cloud-based solutions become the “standard” for enterprises to conduct business -- including managing vast amounts of data from disparate locations – cloud accessibility and scalability will be key prerequisites to success. Come hear thought leaders discuss how enterprises can ensure their cloud-based solutions meet the needs of employees, while maintaining control of corporate data.

Nobody would deny that Big Data was one of the most talked about areas in tech last year. And while Big Data was once viewed as the golden child of tech, its bloom is fading in terms of the value that it is able to deliver all on its own. There was a time not that long ago when the focus was on finding, capturing and storing data. But today, the shift in everyone’s focus is how to unlock the value from each and every piece of data we can uncover.

Every year, Gartner releases a highly anticipated and widely read set of reports that rate businesses across a variety of technology industries.

Birst was included in a recent report from Gartner that shows the research firm has started to pay serious attention to the cloud BI market. The recommendations section of the report, "Who’s Who in Cloud Business Analytics", written by Gartner analysts Joao Tapadinhas and Dan Sommer, encourages buyers to find out if cloud-based BI solutions are a better match for their business needs.

Social media is now a mainstream capability with hundreds of millions of active users on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Although many of us are avid users of social media, how do we translate these metrics into actual value? To translate this data to value requires a three-part process.

Now that you’ve decided that you need a Chief Data Officer to remain competitive in the Age of the Cloud, where will you find this person and what tasks will you give him or her to have the greatest impact on your organization? Most of all, how will you protect your new CDO from the many entrenched company interests that may resent (and impede) this person’s vital work?

If you are lucky, your company already has a CDO – even if that person doesn’t wear that job title. And if you don’t have someone performing this role, you’d better start thinking of hiring one fast, because the CDO may prove to be the key to your success in the years to come.

As information management assumes an ever-greater role in the modern corporation thanks to the cloud and Big Data analytics, the task of handling that role by default is increasingly falling upon the Chief Marketing Officer.

But is the CMO the right person for the job?

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