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When organizations need to optimize their business processes and improve operations and decisions, the often speak of having the right information at the right time, but don’t always make that a priority. This information optimization is often thought to be expensive and time-consuming, especially with advent of big data and disparate data sources across cloud and on-premises environments, as I have articulated. Datawatch can help business get to information of any variety or volume at any time through its access and integration tools. When I published my last analysis of Datawatch, it had made significant advancements in its platform, with enterprise-class reliability and support for business analytics through its data discovery and virtualization processes. Over the last year Datawatch continued to grow its business worldwide, and through investments into its marketing, sales and product efforts is finding more potential from existing and new customers. The company’s energized product efforts earned it our 2012 Technology Innovation Award for Information Applications for its Information Optimization Suite.
Datawatch has simplified its product portfolio over the last year, focusing on how organizations transform, distribute and optimize information. Its Monarch Professional, Data Pump and Enterprise Server products respectively support these common functions. It has expanded its support for big data to ensure that no matter where information exists, it can be optimized for use across business and IT. In its 11.6 release Datawatch added support for Hadoop and Hive through its Data Pump product. It also works with commercialized Hadoop providers such as MapR, which provides enterprise-scale deployments. Datawatch supports other types of big data technologies, including RDBMS, appliances and systems, which a third of organizations in our big data research are planning to adopt.
Datawatch brings information into business processes through support for a range of environments. For instance, in cloud computing, it partners with Amazon Web Services, a rapidly growing Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) provider, for a range of applications and tools. Our research finds that business has led the way to cloud computing. Datawatch can operate safely and securely across these environments with little impact to IT.
Datawatch continues to advance in many small but critical capabilities, such as document approval and state management. It optimizes information processing through prefetching data needed by the operating environment. It has added visual presentation methods to its product, including traffic lights and thermometer gauges, and lets users drill down to any level of detail. It now provides Section 508 compliance for supporting the disabled, for which it has created a template that can be adapted to an organization’s specific needs. Datawatch products are used for a wide range of governance and compliance needs. Our research finds that the cost of compliance is rising faster in the last three years, according to 53 percent of organizations in heavily regulated industries.
Datawatch now provides more power to analysts and individuals who need to facilitate information optimization through the Monarch Power Client, a visual environment that was part of the Monarch Professional 11.5 release. This product helps address assembling information into a view, a process that almost half (47%) of organizations in our information applications research found challenging. Monarch Context for Excel helps address the issues in using personal productivity tools with support for secured embedding of information inside spreadsheets and for data lineage. Data is always more valuable when it is a click away, rather than accessible only upon request from a separate analyst.
To support specific needs of IT, Datawatch supports machine data that is generated by applications and systems, which, if shaped in the right format, can help optimize not only IT systems and resources but also business processes. Datawatch can take data in log files and database and combine it with information in reports, documents and HTML pages. Datawatch recently announced it can utilize machine data from Microsoft Windows.
Datawatch has grown through partnerships with software providers such as Qlikview, helping them get access to semistructured data, and solution providers such as Asta Systems. Resellers use Datawatch as a new business enabler to empower the optimized use of information across an enterprise. For global deployments, Datawatch supports languages like Japanese and Chinese and unique character sets. Support for and focus on partners is a critical investment for Datawatch as it seeks to grow globally. I would like to see Datawatch provide a version of its product for free trial on its website, operating either in the cloud or on the desktop.
Datawatch makes information optimization more readily available at an affordable price. Its software’s ability to access content and semistructured information and blend it with structured data is what organizations require to optimize business processes and make more informed actions and decisions. Our research into business technology innovation finds the needs to improve and drive better quality in processes are important to more than half of organizations. We are busy researching information optimization to see how the best practices and efforts of organizations are changing how technologies are used for business.
Datawatch finds itself at the intersection of information needs for an enterprise. I would like to see more support from the company for mobile technology, and simpler methods to flip through information assets and even collaborate on them, but with its current focus on its foundation and enterprise-class requirements, those features represent potential for providing more value by harvesting its investments in big data and cloud computing. Organizations should examine Datawatch to see how it can help them leverage investments to access and integrate information and meet business needs while meeting IT requirements for security and policy compliance. Its progressive software earned Datawatch our 2012 Ventana Research Leadership Award for Information Applications for its deployment at Piedmont Henry Hospital. If you are looking to get information from any source to any form for any business need, see how Datawatch meets the requirements of the next generation of information optimization.
CEO & Chief Research Officer
Businesses aim to make their sales function as productive as possible, but they don’t always support that goal with investment in technology. I recently wrote about sales needing a swift technology kick. Sales application vendor Xactly provides a boot with the release of Xactly Incent 8 and will make parts of the application suite available from the Apple App Store for the iPad in the coming weeks.
According to our benchmark research on sales applications, 40 percent of sales organizations plan to deploy tablets initially or deploy them further. Since sales is already one of the largest adopters of tablets and smartphones, vendors that provide relevant applications will have a ready market. On the iPad, Xactly is providing sales analytics, easy access to quota and commission metrics and specifics of compensation plan performance by product and customer. Users can quickly determine sales performance and interact with the analytics. In addition to the native iPad app, Xactly offers a browser-based version that can work across a variety of smartphones, including those running Android. These advancements in sales analytics are smart as sales is one of the fastest growing adopters of using mobile tablets and smartphones for getting to applications and information. The new Xactly Explorer provides drill down and ad-hoc analytics needed by a range of sales roles. But beyond analytics they now provide the ability to set objectives to address the larger scope of sales performance that can be monitored and scored for integrating into a sales review for providing any additional compensation.
Along with the advances in mobility, Incent 8 helps administrators and sales operations team communicate within the application through its announcements, which can provide immediate notification for reviewing plans or when payments are ready to be made.
I like Xactly’s eDocs and Approvals module, which automates workflow for compensation documents and plans and integrates them within the system. This saves time and hassle by bringing all the components of a compensation plan into one application. Another module, Xactly Territories, lets users manage and optimize territories and define crediting rules and assignments, which is an area where mistakes often occur in manual and spreadsheet-based approaches. Xactly Sandbox provides users with a copy of their production data they can use to experiment as they deal with the changes that are constant in sales and strive to achieve their goals.
Almost half (49%) of sales organizations in our research admitted that the use of spreadsheets impedes the management of sales. Xactly can integrate data from sources such as sales force automation (SFA) and accounting applications and Microsoft Excel spreadsheets with its enhanced data integration service Xactly Express Connect, which uses technology from Informatica Cloud. This helps organizations bring data into the application and send it out to payroll and other systems that need commission and quota information. This application is built using Force.com, so it already integrates with Salesforce.com’s SFA environment.
Incent 8 shows sales administrators the state of their data and documents. To expedite access to the many applications that sales people might need to sign in for, Xactly has added SAML integration for easier single sign-on across applications. This release provides all the core capabilities for compensation and planning and management of sales commission payments. If you need analytics, modeling, territories and other capabilities, you can upgrade to other packages, which Xactly facilitates through its support services.
Xactly provides its applications on demand via software as a service (SaaS), which has become the preferred choice of 41 percent of sales organizations. By operating in the cloud Xactly can provide benchmark metrics that aggregate above and across its customers, providing broad insights into sales operations.
In addition to Incent 8, there is a new version of Xactly Express for small and midsize businesses; it also includes a tablet-based application that helps users ascertain their teams’ reps performance toward quota, which tops the list of concerns in our sales analytics research. Express also empowers sales teams to review their progress at any time without resorting to spreadsheets. The new version provides the drill-down and ad-hoc analytics needed by a range of sales roles, but beyond analytics, Xactly can set objectives and so monitor and score the complete scope of sales performance as part of reviews and for compensation purposes.
Xactly has supercharged its applications with analytics, which our research has found is the number-one technology trend for sales organizations, and now offering internal communication within its products that will hopefully evolve to further collaboration which is the second most desired technology trend in sales. Xactly goes well beyond sales compensation to provide a suite of applications for the needs of sales operations and the overall sales organization. Xactly understands the role of sales operations in supporting both management and account representatives, which is a major reason its business continues to grow. With Incent 8 it offers more sophisticated mobile and sales analytics support while addressing many of the core sales process and efficiency needs of organizations. I expect Xactly to continue to expand and support more needs of sales teams and impact not just the pipeline and forecast, but commissions and incentives. Xactly has advanced significantly since my last written analysis and continues to deliver incremental value to its customers and the industry. If you have not looked at Xactly recently, now might be the time to learn about the latest version.
CEO & Chief Research Officer