Late last year GoodData gained quite some degree of publicity – due in no small part to the caliber of its investors. Tim O’Reilly is both an investor and board member and Marc Andreesen is also behind the venture. At first blush it would seem that GoodData provides the holy grail – on-demand visualization and analytics of business data. See video below:
A few minutes spent on their site however gave me cause for concern (emphasis mine):
GoodData securely hosts your data, enables you to build and manage a multi-dimensional data model from a variety of data sources, provides the tools to analyze data in a collaborative environment, and the means to share the results with others.
Now I’m not dogmatic that everything should be real-time and on-demand but GoodData strikes me pretty much as a classical BI offering done the traditional way – aimed for organizations with screeds of data and with the ability to both extract data from their SaaS applications, upload it to GoodData’s warehouse and then run BI analytics – sorting, filtering and pivoting.
What on-demand applications really need, in my opinion, is real time on the fly analysis. That’s why YouCalc (my review here) excited me when I came across them. You see YouCalc provides direct queries on data sources, rather than relying on data warehousing and what must inevitable end up as analysis on obsolete data. TouCalc is the business that should have the big dollars behind it but, as is often the case, style tends to overcome substance, at least in the short term.
GoodData occupies an uncomfortable space – their tool is really aimed at huge enterprises with terabytes of data, but as we know big enterprise is hardly in the cloud yet and not very likely to upload all their on-premise data to GoodData for analytics purposes since they can perform more advanced BI behind the firewall with on-premise BI tools.
Don’t get me wrong, the idea of moving some of the data storage and number crunching aspects of bid-data analysis out of onsite data centers and into the clouds resonates with me – I just think that YouCalc don’t go nearly far enough in their approach.