nanobi Analytics – Building India’s first analytics app store on Windows Azure; empowering SMEs with affordable BI
“Seeing analytics in action at large companies and people making decisions that steered the company, made me wonder why this isn’t something available to a larger set of businesses. Why should a bus ticket seller not know what bus routes would be more profitable for him? Or where the unmet demands are to help him increase his revenue?” says Sumant Sarkar, co-founder and VP –Technology at nanobi Analytics.With the belief that “business insights is not about big data, it’s about well-connected diverse small data” and the vision of enabling the SMEs of India with the power of business analytics, nanobi Analytics was founded in 2012 by Mahesh Ramakrishan and four of his former colleagues, Abhishek Purohit, CV Vinod, S.Jayaprakasha and Sumant Sarkar. Mahesh has for over 25 years of corporate experience and is one of the high potential individuals and innovators in business analytics and business intelligence in India. nanobi analytics has built India’s first analytics app store, theanalyticstree™, with the concept of self-service analytics. It provides readily available business and data analytics app on an easy subscription basis to the SMEs.
We got in a deep dive conversation with CV Vinod, co-founder and VP – Industry solutions, to understand nanobi Analytics product and vision better.
Data’s power to drive decisions
The rapid increase in the amount of data generated within organizations and the amount of public data available for use makes the management and effective use of information hidden in the huge volumes of data very difficult for organizations. Over the past several years large enterprises across all domains have made significant investments in DWH/BI/analytics. But small and medium organizations have consciously avoided investments in data analytics, and those who have invested are striving hard to protect their investments.
It has been a big challenge for organizations to capture insights from the ever increasing data volume and apply them for taking right business decisions. They have struggled to take benefit of the wealth of information available in data made public by government organizations, regulatory bodies and global financial institutions. And often feel challenged in sharing insights and gain from the collaborative thought process and ideas of people at different levels within the organization too. Analytical capabilities or even access to information is restricted to a small set of users in an organization and predictive analytics are usually avoided due to lack of technology to support.
While working with the UIDAI Project for the design and development of the BI layer, Mahesh also found that governments across the world are providing small pieces of data, and not huge datasets, to public that provided insights on the performance levels. Vinod says, “this was when we felt why don’t we design a product that enables organisations to connect small amounts of diverse data which when seen together can provide valuable insights. And nanobi was started in February 2012.”
theanalyticstree™– the analytical app store on the cloud
nanobi has created a unique concept of self-service analytics at the nanobi app store, theanalyticstree™. The technology enabler of these self-service analytics is nanobi’s liquidData platform, that powers the analytical app store and can also be used by businesses to build custom analytics for deployment on a private cloud or in a data center.theanalyticstree™ contains analytic apps built for specific industry verticals that businesses can choose from, subscribe for and connect with their concerned internal enterprise apps too. Some of the ready to use analytical apps available include the Financial Performance Analytics, Sales and Distribution Analytics, Social Media Analytics, Analytics for Startup Companies, Educational Analytics. nanobi has also developed data adapters to make data acquisition from source applications simple.
Vinod shares, “We offer multiple SaaS deployment models to address enterprises of different sizes and requirements. Our offering on the cloud, theanalyticstree, is for SMEs who want to have a quick start to their analytical journey to achieve faster ROI with no investments on infrastructure or resources. For large enterprises, we have the On-Premise model which an enterprise can build analytical apps on or subscribe to the pre-defined analytical apps available on the cloud. Since, the Indian market is price sensitive arriving at the right pricing is crucial. Out of the 48 + million SME’s in India, we feel that the potential for analytics would at-least be around 2 to 4 million SMEs. We aim to democratize the usage of analytics across spectrum of enterprises ranging from small neighborhood stores to large enterprises without asking for huge upfront investments or evoking any fear of failure.”
Building and scaling the product on cloud
We were looking for a scalable cloud hosting on a pay per use model as well as support for java and other open technologies for our cloud offering theanalyticstree. We also wanted easy horizontal scaling of the infrastructure so we could scale up without any downtime or impact. We took a strategic decision to become a Microsoft Bizspark member right at the outset and not look at any other offerings as Microsoft provided affordable software, training and mentoring to Bizspark / Windows Azure customers. Windows Azure met our needs as it’s an open and relatively inexpensive platform which allowed nanobi to pass on the savings to its customers.
It delivers manageability and scalability and hence makes it easier for the company to leverage and launch newer solutions on the fly while working with a variety of solution partners across the globe. The Analytical App Store on Windows Azure cloud is the easiest way for analytical thinkers to give shape to their ideas. There are no technology entry barriers for them; all it now takes is a great idea.
The analytics infrastructure needs to keep pace with the constantly evolving business realities and ever growing data. Analytics is taking on harder and harder problems of the world. It’s one thing to sift through machine production data to predict parts failure. But mining through CCTV footages and match faces/actions against a known database in real time, is a different challenge altogether. We have been seeing such requests of late.
theanalytictree is the only player in the market offering breadth of analytics on the cloud and the adoption of cloud across market segments poses a challenge to nanobi Analytics. Vinod shares that their competition in the enterprise segment are traditional BI tool vendors whose architecture and deployment models are complex and expensive to implement. They have observed that people are open to adopting cloud technology and feel that the adoption is going to increase soon. They want to grow first in India and then go global with their vision of being a one stop store for analytics developed not just by nanobi but also by nanobi partners addressing various analytic requirements of businesses.
This article is brought to you in collaboration with Windows Azure.