Kalido: A solution in search of the message?

I had the fortune to see Kalido presentations twice in two days. First, was the Qlik road show event on Thursday and second was the Boulder BI Brain Trust call on Friday.

Kalido provides a streamlined way to create and manage data warehouses. The key seems to be a strong data modeler linked to the engine, providing a more graphical way to define processes and link that to the automatic creation of the physical data layers and data warehousing management. According to their case studies, the result is a significant savings in time to deploy and manage warehouses. As they pointed out in the BBBT presentation, the deployment savings is a clear and compelling argument but the longer term saving in ongoing operational costs is one they haven’t yet successfully attacked.

That ties in to the issue of their major message to the Qlik audience and on their web site: “No ETL!” As anyone who understands their technology knows, and as they pointed out in their BBBT presentation, ETL is one component of their solution. The presenter on Thursday tried to claim it’s not ETL, it’s ELT, because they use a temporary data store to more quickly extract information from operational systems, but that’s not going to cut it. ETL is still performed even if in a slightly different order. IT people will understand that and laugh at the claim while most BI business users won’t know what that means and the rest won’t care as it’s not a major concern to those people trying to get information out of the warehouse.

Operational costs matter to both IT and the business line managers. As many IT centers internally “bill” divisions for costs, that will still have an impact and matter to both sides more than a specious ETL message.

More importantly, the ability to change your business model and have it rapidly be reflected in the data warehouse is of strong value to the decision makers. The ability to eliminate 6-9 months of rework before a change is done only to see the changes now be out of date has a clear and compelling message for business decision makers. The ability to rapidly satisfy business users in changing markets while using less IT resources is valuable to the IT organization.

So why does the message seem to be missing a great market focus opportunity? One possible answer is found on their executive team page. Rather, it’s what’s not found. A company that wants to leave the startup phase and address a wider market would do well to emphasize marketing with the same importance as engineering and professional services. Products aren’t enough, you have to create messages that address what interest stakeholders. Kalido seems to have a very good product, but they aren’t yet able to create messages to address the wider market.

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