Yellowfin 7.1: Steady progress

Yellowfin held their 7.1 global release Webinars on Wednesday and I listened to the first. The presenters were Glen Rabie, CEO, and Daniel Shaw-Dennis, GM for EMEA.

The key point I took from it was their clear understanding that self-service isn’t the end-all of BI. One early slide pointed out they are concerned with making “A find balance between the needs of self-service users and enterprise IT.” All of us want to allow knowledge workers to more easily understand their business, but data must have some centralized control to security, consistency and validity requirements. It’s nice to hear vendors, and Yellowfin isn’t the only one, begin moving away from the extreme self-service message.

Another critical point is their claim that only 10% of their users want to create data and the other 90% want to consume. They pointed out that they want to focus on the 10%, providing tools that allow for faster and easier creation. Given their demonstration, I believe them. I don’t think the 90% is going to easily get up to speed, but the power for the 10% is very good. The only question is how sustainable that model is.

One way they’re making it easier to create is by extending the power of auto-charting. Vendors are also realizing the business users start with their data and many applications demand they pick graphics (histograms, line graphs, etc) both too early and to people who might not be clear about which is the best chart to use. Yellowfin is helping users by using under-the-hood analysis to suggest default display methods while still allowing the method to be easily changed. That’s a great way to speed visualization and understanding of the data.

Another key YellowFin 7.1 enhancement area has to do with Glen’s statement that 80% of all business data has a location component. Yellowfin is adding a much stronger geospatial package. They are creating what they call Geo-Packs to provide customers with information that helps with geospatial customer, logistical and other analysis. While the package is in the infancy and, as usual with companies focused on the large US market, aren’t strongly fleshed except for the US, it’s a great start and it looks like the company has built in a way to easily expand.

Finally, they announced a marketplace to share reports between customers but, to be honest, who hasn’t? It’s rapidly becoming standard functionality in the marketplace, a “me to!” It’s good they’re adding that but, so far, I’ve mainly seen companies putting out their own reports for customer consumption. I haven’t seen the market mature enough yet for major sharing between customers. It’s needed, but still early to be of full value.

Summary

Yellowfin 7.1 continues to focus on helping power users create analytics for consumption by business knowledge workers. The focus on balancing self-service with the needs of data governance is very good while the growth of geospatial analysis has a strong start.

Their messages and products seem to be working together to continue to give them a good presence and strong growth potential in the marketplace.

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