In recent years, the Business Intelligence (BI) world has been dominated by a handful of vendors. However, ThoughtSpot is on the rise. It records strong growth figures, is appreciated by analysts and has recently entered some new markets. Time for a conversation with the CEO of ThoughtSpot, Sudheesh Nair.
Business Intelligence is a data discipline that companies have been using for decades. It makes historical information, but also actual numbers transparent. With BI, the data is often displayed visually, with tables and maps, for example. This way, companies can discover certain patterns and discover trends and threats. With data, predictions can be made about what will happen next.
We believe there is an opportunity to make the world more factual.
In recent years, there have been plenty of developments in the BI market, while innovation is also welcome. That is what a vendor like ThoughtSpot wants to ensure. The relatively young company, founded in 2012, sees opportunities with its own approach and vision on business intelligence.
Taking factual decisions
“We believe there is an opportunity to make the world more factual”, Nair explains about the goal of ThoughtSpot. With this, he refers to the power of hard numbers. At many companies, there is a culture of making decisions based on opinions. Of course, these opinions are relevant in some sectors, but data can do its part in supporting these opinions. Companies often already have this valuable data at their disposal. By applying the right technology to this information, this should lead to more factual decisions.
It’s not a surprise that not every company uses this valuable data to its full extent. For most employees, numbers aren’t ‘sexy’. They prefer to focus on other things. If they are interested in diving in the numbers, they sometimes run into a lack of special skills. The data landscape of a company is often scattered: data can be found in all kinds of systems and databases. To obtain and understand this data, special skills are often needed.
ThoughtSpot aims to make data as easy to display and understand as possible.
BI throughout the organisation
ThoughtSpot wants to eliminate these barriers. Data needs to be as easy to display and understand as possible. In the world of analytics, this is called ‘Business Intelligence for Everyone‘: getting as many decisionmakers and employees to use data. There is a lot of future in that. Imagine a sales employee using much more valuable data because of this. Then he can signal potential problems and opportunities by himself. Certain signals can be picked up in all kinds of processes, such as how to personalize the customer experience better. The possibilities are endless.
Everyone needs to gain insight into data. To accomplish this, ThoughtSpot built a search interface, comparable to Google. Just enter a couple of keywords, and it generates some tables. If you want more detailed information, you can edit your query. There is also an AI that automatically generates insights. These AI-generated insights are like answers to questions that the user didn’t come to think of themselves.
For example, this system initially shows who has visited a specific web page in the last week. From there on, more detailed data can be requested: how many of these visitors were male, how old were the visitors and at what times did they visit the pages? The goal is to be able to interact with data without actually having a lot of knowledge in the matter. Users don’t need to be an expert in data structures, databases and SQL.
Nair indicates that ThoughtSpot has developed this feature at such a high level, that it offers a unique feature. The idea is to make the masses of data from all cloud applications easily understandable. To do this, particular attention must be paid to data warehouses, an important basic component for BI. ThoughtSpot promises easy integration with often-used data warehouse products such as Snowflake and Amazon Redshift. According to Nair, ThoughtSpot is really good at this, as the company was founded during the cloud era. During founding, the focus was already in gathering a large amount of data from cloud sources, making that easily searchable and transparent.
According to Nair, the ThoughtSpot approach fits into the augmented analytics idea.
According to Nair, this approach fits into the augmented analytics category formulated by Gartner. This uses artificial intelligence to support data preparation. AI also supports generating and explaining the insights. These steps are especially interesting to make data analytics more widely available. However, augmented analytics also means that data experts can look forward to simplification, for example, by automating certain management tasks.
Managed SaaS service to simplify data searches
By approaching Business Intelligence this way, ThoughtSpot has taken a strong position in the market. Because of this, the BI vendor is looking for more ways to let employees interact with data. For this purpose, it recently launched ThoughtSpot Cloud: the BI platform as a fully managed SaaS service.
ThoughtSpot Cloud promises to require little in terms of setup and configuration. It also offers specific onboarding flows based on the position of an employee, creating a personalised user experience. To further help new users, a search assistant is available, helping them step by step. Besides, reusable low-code templates should simplify insights from specific applications (such as Salesforce). Thus, many parts of ThoughtSpot Cloud fit the philosophy of bringing analytics to every employee.
Also, ThoughtSpot emphasizes that queries can be directly executed in high-performance cloud data warehouses. In addition to Snowflake and Amazon Redshift, it also works with Google BigQuery and Microsoft Azure Synapse. With ThoughtSpot Cloud, companies only pay for the data that is used, not for the number of users.
ThoughtSpot is on its way to fulfil the broad desire of the market, analytics for everyone. The relatively young company is ambitious in this area. Handling data is something that often still requires a lot of skills, but when it’s simplified, all kinds of employees can make decisions based on hard data. The whole company as well as data professionals profit from this. Data professionals are often drowning in work, and with augmented analytic, some of his tasks can be automated.
Ultimately, simplifying BI contributes to ThoughtSpot’s mission: making the world more factual. We are curious to see what the company has to offer in the coming months and years.