On the Road: Simplicity with NGDATA and Podium Data
By Jack Phillips, Jun 22, 2017
Last week I had the pleasure of meeting with two promising new(ish) data analytics companies that are worth exploring. Both have established and tested products, clear value propositions, and a strong list of initial customers.
The first is NGDATA, a Belgian company with strong traction in Europe, now breaking into the North American market with U.S. operations headquartered in New York. NGDATA plays in the growing Customer Experience Management category with a focus (for now) on financial services, media/publishing and telecommunications. Their flagship product, Lily Enterprise, is aimed squarely at bringing deep analytics and AI “under the hood” to marketing teams who need simple, turnkey customer experience management capabilities. The demo is simple and straightforward, and focuses on actual customer case studies rather than algorithms, AI and models. The data underpinning is solid (strong dev team), and the product appears to allow CMOs the ability to acquire and manage without a whole lot of interference from IT.
Luc Burgleman, CEO of NGDATA, positioned NGDATA’s products as allowing marketers to move quickly from “insights to impact.” After seeing the demo, I know what he means. These folks are moving beyond insights (tell me) to impact (take action).
Two recent acquisitions should differentiate the company from others in the space. Rednun, acquired in 2016, brings customized video at the single customer level, built entirely from loads of customer data. Reminds me of Narrative Science’s Quill product that creates that transforms data into intelligent narratives, but NGDATA’s technology is doing that for individual, consumer-facing videos. Earlier this year, the company acquired Eccella, a New York consultancy to give them arms and legs and customer relationships to make a big splash in the U.S.
The second is Podium Data, founded by a veteran team of engineers, backed by fresh fundraising capital that has enabled them to build a strong sales and marketing team. During his tenure at New Vantage Partners, CEO Paul Barth saw customers struggling with data management in the new world of data lakes and cloud computing and assembled a team to do something about it with what has become; the Podium platform.
Podium recently assembled a customer advisory council, and asked me to join. The first meeting of the council was hosted by TD Bank in Toronto and included Podium customers from global 1000 companies in Europe, Japan, and North America.
Most notable for me was how timely the Podium solution seems to be for large enterprises making the shift to big data via Hadoop, data lakes and cloud (AWS mostly). Most of the use cases described were complex, large (data), and highly analytical, requiring a data management platform that could work on premise and in the cloud. Again, simplicity was a constant theme mostly in terms of time to implement (low), compared to more traditional DW experiences.
Each of these companies is challenging the status quo in well-understood, known markets with solutions that are focused, simple and flexible. Among IIA research clients, those are absolute requirements for technology acquisition today.
About the author
IIA marks the sixth successful start-up venture for Jack Phillips over the past 20 years. Jack specializes in spotting emerging job functions, and building successful information publishing and research firms to help those professionals make better decisions. Prior to joining IIA, Jack held operating and founding roles at INFONXX (now kgb USA), ISI Emerging Markets (now Euromoney, PLC), CCBN (now Thomson/Reuters) and the Institute for Applied Network Security (recent private sale). Jack began his career as an investment banker at Morgan Stanley & Co. in New York, and at the Long-Term Credit Bank of Japan in Tokyo, and held senior operating positions at various McGraw-Hill business units in 1994 before becoming an entrepreneur. Jack is a graduate of Harvard Business School and Williams College, and lives with his wife and three children in Portland, Oregon.
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