Back when business intelligence (BI) wasn’t quite as cool as it is today, performance management was just emerging as the next big thing and the term analytics was a term that kept Howard Dresner up at night, there was Patrick Morrissey. Pat ran enterprise performance management (EPM) marketing at Business Objects where he was a one-man sound bite machine. He was also the guy that salespeople wanted in front of their customers to talk about the promise of dashboards and the opportunity to incorporate financial data into a single view. One time he famously pointed to a CFO in a meeting and told him that enterprise performance management (EPM) solutions from Business Objects would make him a rock star. Classic Pat!
Since Business Objects, Pat has gone on to manage alliances organizations at salesforce.com and is now running marketing for a new analytics vendor called Tidemark. I caught up with him recently to discuss the company, the traditional barriers to BI adoption and analytics in the cloud.
Q: Pat, you’ve got an interesting background of both analytics and software as a service (SaaS) applications and platforms. What have been the initial barriers to wide-spread cloud-based BI adoption?
Patrick Morrissey: There have really been three big barriers to adoption of cloud business analytics.
- The big issue is that business owners have lots of skepticism around the value they are actually going to receive from yet another BI investment. Gartner, Forrester and other industry analysts have released countless studies which suggest that 80 percent of analytics projects fail, so just adding cloud to the mix does not change the state of play.
- Most analytics projects are shelfware. I’ve seen research suggesting that as much as 75 percent of all analytics purchases are shelfware, which is absolutely dismal. I suspect a big part of the root issue here is that most analytics projects are driven by the IT department, and they are purchasing tools, not applications. The result is a lot of time and money spent, but no broad use of business analytics to drive business results.
- The third issue is that generally the initial round of cloud BI players has become yet more point solutions for a specific department or data source. There is no credible cloud business intelligence player today that is enterprise class.
Q: Tell me about Tidemark. What’s your approach? What makes your company different?
Patrick Morrissey: Tidemark has reimaged analytics for all users in the business with a specific focus on enterprise performance management. We offer financial and operational analytic applications on our cloud platform for midmarket and large enterprise companies like Acosta Sales and Marketing and US Sugar to help them tackle their toughest analytic problems — financial planning, forecasting, profitability and metrics management.
Our differences start at the founding of the company. Our founders, Christian Gheorghe and Tony Rizzo, went out and surveyed 100 business leaders to understand where they were challenged. That primary research resulted in the company that is now Tidemark.
One of the big bets we made two and half years ago was to build mobile first in HTML5 to deliver beautiful applications that are completely functional on a tablet or iPad. The other big bet we made was on Hadoop, allowing us to handle the challenges of Big Data, both structured and unstructured data, in cloud computing framework equipped to handle the requirements of a large enterprise.
Q: How important is integration to analytics in the cloud?
Patrick Morrissey: Integration is critically important to analytics, but the big difference is that, in the cloud, integration is largely a business conversation because business owners need to have in-depth analysis of business operations to drive for insight and take action. The cloud makes it much easier for business owners to specify their application requirements and then get the data very quickly. Cloud computing dramatically changes time to value.
Q: What’s different about the SaaS model and how are you approaching marketing at Tidemark?
Patrick Morrissey: Marketing is really about storytelling. The impact of the SaaS model and cloud computing is that it presents the opportunity to get deeper and deeper into the story and into the customer’s business. The elegant part of the cloud model is the direct connection between investment and results — if you don’t perform, users can cancel their subscription and move to another provider that delivers value. That is a great gift for the business and to marketing as it requires all of us to continue to unlock more and more value.
As a result, my approach to marketing is to try to spend as much time with customers as possible in order to bring those stories to life. I can spend a lot of time explaining how Tidemark’s cloud analytics platform forces you to rethink everything about analytics, but it is much more fun to talk about how US Sugar uses Tidemark not only in the office of finance, but how farm managers in the field on a tractor use Tidemark on their iPads to run the business more efficiently.
Q: Are you having fun?
Patrick Morrissey: It is almost unfair how much fun I am having. I work on a great team, delivering real innovation at a very exciting time in the market. Business users are now the buyers and the consumers of technology, often on their iPads. That changes the game. Everyone wants to get out of bed and change the world, which is what we are doing at Tidemark.