Last week we shared insights from Jay Larson about the big data and business intelligence industry. In this second post, Jay discusses Birst as a leading Cloud BI company, as well as its differentiating features, the value the platform delivers for customers, and a look into the company’s future.
Birst’s Differentiators in the Marketplace
Simply put, Birst is different. First, we were born in the cloud. We have modern cloud architecture, which is a huge differentiator. Secondly, we’re not just the front-end. There’s a lot of focus right now in the market on discovery tools and the front-end user interface, but that’s the easy part. The hard part is extracting data from multiple systems, aggregating that data and making it what we call analytic-ready. We do this better than anyone else in the world. We have patented technology that automates the data extraction, aggregation and preparation process and makes data ready for business leaders to analyze. This ability is a huge differentiator for us. We’re not just trying to do one-off analysis, we’re trying to help business leaders leverage their data in a way that optimizes processes and drives business performance improvement. We like to talk about this as a metrics-driven business execution, and that’s what we’re driving. That’s the promise of BI – and if it isn’t what you are getting now, you should be so why are you settling for something less? We don’t believe in one-off analytics, but rather we believe in leveraging your data across all of your employees in an ongoing, rigorous way that drives continuous improvement. If you do this, you can run your company better and more profitably. That’s what we’re bringing that nobody else is.
The Value Birst Brings to Business
We have a number of things going for us when we work with large enterprises. One of them is the cloud. As more and more applications move to the cloud there is a greater and greater need for BI that leverages the data in these cloud-based applications. But more than that, we are especially good at addressing specific issues for business leaders. Whether they are in sales, marketing or customer support all of those functions want to leverage data to optimize processes and drive improvements in their business. We can help them do that better than anyone in the world and our ability to serve needs for senior level business executives is really our secret to success. For us, half of winning is showing up. When we show up and have a chance to tell business leaders what we can do to help them operationalize data, identify key performance indicators and leverage metrics to drive improvement in business performance, good stuff happens.
Birst’s Presence in Europe
How is it different doing business in Europe? In some respects it’s quite different, in some respects it’s quite similar. I’ve had a good deal of experience working outside of the US. In two previous companies I was hired to build our business outside of North America so I’ve spent a tremendous amount of time on the road. In the last 10 years of my career I’ve been on the road an average of 150 days a year and have travelled an average of 150,000 air miles. I’ve done business in 45 different countries and spent a lot of time in England. I feel comfortable being in Europe. One of the differences between me and other software company CEOs is that I am willing to show up. I’m willing to get on a an airplane and physically be where I need to be to lead the charge from the front and get to know people whether it’s customers, partners or our local team in the field. We have a growing business, we are investing heavily in this market and we have rapidly growing business in Europe. Any place in the world I’m needed or can help our team, I’m there leading the charge from the front. I’m thrilled to have the chance to build another software business at Birst and an important piece of our success will be driven by what we do in Europe. We are well on our way to having a big and important operation here in England.
What Challenges Birst Will Overcome
The biggest challenge for us is scale. We have a fantastic product, but we need to build the awareness. We have invested heavily in building the best BI product in the market, but we have invested much less heavily in marketing that product. As a result, we are a very well kept secret, and I am going to make sure that changes. My challenge is to scale up the business, grow the business and capitalize on what feels like a once-in-a-lifetime market opportunity. Every company wants to better leverage their data to optimize processes, push data to the front lines and use their data assets to help them win in the marketplace. We can do this in a way that’s better and different than any of our competitors — bar none. As we scale, we will amplify our strong message. When people learn about what we can do and how we can help solve their data and analytics problems, good things will happen. But half of winning is showing up. We have to scale up our business and make sure we are doing a better job at amplifying our message in the marketplace. If we can do these two things, life is going to be very good for us at Birst.