“Above the Trend Line” – Your Industry Rumor Central for 8/21/2017

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Above the Trend Line: your industry rumor central is a recurring feature of insideBIGDATA. In this column, we present a variety of short time-critical news items grouped by category such as people movements, funding news, financial results, industry alignments, rumors and general scuttlebutt floating around the big data, data science and machine learning industries including behind-the-scenes anecdotes and curious buzz. Our intent is to provide you a one-stop source of late-breaking news to help you keep abreast of this fast-paced ecosystem. We’re working hard on your behalf with our extensive vendor network to give you all the latest happenings. Heard of something yourself? Tell us! Just e-mail me at: daniel@insidebigdata.com.  Be sure to Tweet Above the Trend Line articles using the hashtag: #abovethetrendline.

We’re thoroughly enjoying the fast-paced summer conference season for the big data industry. So much technology, so little time! In this week’s installment of my regular column, let’s start out with new people movements … Datameer announced the creation of a new Innovation Office, to be led by founding members of Datameer, Frank Henze, formerly VP of Product, now VP of Innovation, and supported by Peter Voss, Chief Technology Officer. Additionally, Datameer has hired seasoned professional services executive Tarlock Sagoo to lead Datameer’s customer success and services organization and has promoted Raghu Thiagarajan to VP of Product Management … Exabeam, a leader in Security Intelligence Solutions, announced that Steve Moore, formerly of Anthem, Inc., has joined the company as Vice President and Chief Security Strategist. In this role, he will help drive solutions for threat detection and response, as well as advise customers in breach management and program development. Prior to joining Exabeam, Moore spent more than seven years at Anthem, in a variety of cyber security practitioner and leadership roles. Most recently, he served as Staff Vice President of Cyber Security Analytics, and played a leading role in the response and remediation of the data breach announced in 2015. He also brings deep experience working with legal, privacy and audit staff to improve cybersecurity and demonstrate greater organizational relevance …  StreamSets, Inc., provider of the enterprise data operations platform, announced the appointment of Shekhar Iyer, former executive at Couchbase, SAP and Informatica, as president. Iyer takes the reins of the company’s Global Customer Operations and will continue to drive the momentum that has defined StreamSets since its public launch less than two years ago. Iyer’s career includes more than a decade of executive roles at some of the largest enterprise data management companies. At SAP, Iyer was global vice president of big data and analytics, where he led the go-to-market, sales and global center of excellence functions. During Iyer’s tenure at SAS, he was general manager with responsibilities covering Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. In this role, he led massive growth for the SAS High Performance and Big Data solutions. At Informatica, Iyer served as senior vice president and general manager for the company’s Strategic Initiatives unit. Here, he played an instrumental role in growing revenue from more than $100 million to $700 million. Most recently, Iyer served as chief revenue officer at Couchbase, creator of the world’s first engagement database. There, he was responsible for all direct and indirect worldwide revenue and market share growth … Kodiak Data, a leading provider of edge-cloud infrastructure, announced the appointment of two new members to the executive team. E. Casey Roche joins as Vice President of Strategic Sales; Sherri Chien-Niclas joins as Vice President of Marketing.

In the new funding news department, we learned that ZingBox closed a $22 Million Series B Funding Round led by Dell Technologies Capital and Tri Ventures. The new investment will enable ZingBox to meet strong demand for its award-winning IoT Guardian technology that addresses several challenges organizations face when tackling the IoT security problem. ZingBox plans to use the additional capital to increase headcount in the next year to accelerate product capabilities, and expand market reach. ZingBox IoT Guardian is industry’s only IoT security solution based on device personalities. It leverages sophisticated machine learning to discover, assess risk, baseline normal behavior, detect anomalous activities and provide real-time remediation across an organization’s entire IoT footprint. The patent-pending solution has a deep grasp of each IoT device’s personality, analyzing communication to and from every device, watching constantly for deviations in behavior and providing alerts for suspicious behavior … Amplitude, the product analytics company, announced that it raised $30 million in Series C funding led by IVP. Existing investors Benchmark Capital and Battery Ventures also participated in this round, bringing total funding to date to $59 million. Amplitude continues to grow its business at over 30 percent each quarter and now serves more than 5,000 companies, including Microsoft, Twitter and PayPal. The company will use the funds to further scale its operations globally and build new solutions to help product teams succeed.

The pace of news partnerships, alignments and collaborations continues to rise, starting with … MapD Technologies announcing a collaboration with the Center for Geographic Analysis at Harvard University (CGA) to bring the power of GPUs to geospatial analytics. CGA researchers will use MapD’s technology to analyze and visualize multi-billion-row geospatial data sets in real time, searching for new insights into a wide range of natural and social phenomena. The collaboration is the result of an I/UCRC membership agreement that MapD Technologies and the CGA have entered into in connection with a Spatiotemporal Innovation Center, of which CGA is a founding research member. The Spatiotemporal Innovation Center is funded by the Industry/University Cooperative Research Center Program of the National Science Foundation, with support also provided by MapD and others as members of the Center … Alteryx, Inc., (NYSE: AYX), a leader in self-service data analytics, announced that it is partnering with Plotly, the preferred data visualization platform for modern data science, to enhance inline “visualytics” within the Alteryx platform. As modern organizations seek to distribute analytics capabilities across a variety of business users, there has been a significant shift towards self-service platforms — and now — for more intuitive visual representations (or inline visualytics) of data as it moves through the analytics pipeline. With this integration, line-of-business analysts can work in a more agile environment that supports sophisticated analytics techniques … Insilico Medicine, Inc, a Baltimore-based next-generation artificial intelligence company announced a research collaboration with The Bitfury Group, a leading full-service blockchain technology conglomerate, to develop novel solutions for healthcare applications. The companies signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to collaborate in the academic and commercial settings to develop AI on Blockchain solutions for the healthcare industry … The leading ICT solution provider Huawei and GPU-powered analytics leader MapD Technologies announced they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to accelerate the application of GPU-powered data analytics at scale. The partnership will enhance compatibility and interconnection between Huawei’s FusionServer hardware and the MapD analytics platform, enabling organizations to search and visualize billions of rows of data in milliseconds. Under the terms of the agreement, both parties will commit engineering resources to a joint R&D initiative that will not only improve software and hardware integration, but also increase support for and connection to third-party applications. The teams will create demo environments at Huawei’s headquarters and OpenLab for enterprise solutions, where customers can road-test the solution with their own data … WekaIO, a high-performance cloud storage software company, teamed up with Intel at the Flash Memory Summit (FMS) in Santa Clara, Calif., to demonstrate a native NVMe-oF system on the new “ruler” form factor for Intel® SSDs which combined will deliver a revolutionary storage capacity of beyond 1PB in 1U while delivering in excess of 3 million IOPS …

In new M&A news, we learned that Centerbridge Partners, L.P., a leading private investment firm, announced that it has completed the $1.26 billion acquisition of enterprise software providers Syncsort Incorporated and Vision Solutions, Inc. from affiliates of Clearlake Capital Group, L.P. As previously announced, Clearlake, which acquired Syncsort in 2015 and Vision in 2016, is retaining a minority ownership stake in the combined company … The EQT Mid Market US fund announced that it has acquired Data Intensity from Audax Private Equity. Data Intensity is a leading independent provider of mission-critical application and database managed services … Microsoft has acquired Cycle Computing, a leader in cloud computing orchestration software. Combined with Microsoft’s best-in-class Big Compute infrastructure, Cycle Computing’s depth and expertise will help make it easier than ever to use High-Performance Computing (HPC) and other Big Computing capabilities in the cloud. As artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and deep learning grows, Microsoft continues to make strategic investments to give Azure customers the on-demand power and infrastructure necessary to run massive workloads at scale without the overhead … Tableau Software (NYSE: DATA) announced it has acquired ClearGraph, a cutting edge Palo Alto startup that enables smart data discovery and data analysis through natural language query technology. Tableau plans to integrate ClearGraph’s technology into Tableau’s products, making it even easier for more people to interact with their data by using natural language to ask questions and search for insights. ClearGraph makes it easy to analyze data using natural language. It brings a consumer-like experience to users by connecting disparate data sources and making them accessible and intelligible through simple conversational style search. ClearGraph’s unique natural language query technology stores semantic data in knowledge graphs that can expand and learn over time. Accessing and analyzing data using ClearGraph requires no technical training, as the system can infer users’ intent through natural language. For example, people could ask questions such as, “Total sales by customers who purchased staples in New York,” then filter to, “orders in the last 30 days,” then group by, “project owner’s department.”

We received some commentaries about the Tableau news including:

Yesterday’s acquisition is part of a much larger trend that Sisense started about a year ago, moving away from the traditional dashboards to what Gartner calls analytics anywhere,” said Amir Orad, CEO of Sisense. “This anywhere / everywhere approach lets users ask questions of their data using intuitive channels, and methods that include their own voice. Basically, we’re talking about all the ways that people communicate with each other right now – as well as some new methods, such as having an instant view of the state of your business shown by the light from a desk lamp. The bottom line is that a dashboard is an artificial interface for gathering insights. The long-term trend is to make the dashboard obsolete, delivering relevant insights when, where, and how people most need them.”

In some IPO news, we learned that MongoDB has confidentially filed an S-1 form and is moving towards IPO. As the story evolves, we received commentary below from two Couchbase execs:  Matt Cain, CEO and Greg Henry, CFO at database innovator Couchbase as a resource:

Companies are racing to create new digital services that are engaging, highly responsive and able to meet fast-evolving customer demands so they can compete successfully today and into the future. The database is at the crux of digital transformation, and MongoDB’s planned IPO validates a larger shift in the market that Couchbase has been seeing as a strong player in this space for many years.” -Matt Cain, CEO of Couchbase

In confidentially filing its S-1, MongoDB is on track to become the first IPO in the non-Hadoop big data space, which stands as a pivotal milestone for the industry and provides more validation that there is life beyond analytical and relational databases. Our experience underscores this shift as well. Over the past 18 months, Couchbase has seen a surge in demand from large global companies like LinkedIn, eBay, GE, Marriott, Amadeus and Carrefour that are adopting our flexible data platform to power new digital applications that are highly responsive, individual-aware, context-aware and location-aware, and provide the exceptional customer engagement required to be competitive today underscores this trend.” -Greg Henry, CFO of Couchbase

Also, as the next generation of future data scientists head back to school soon, and while growing demand is fueling interest among college and even high school students, many education systems haven’t prepared them for the increasingly integrated role of data teams today. Ashish Thusoo, CEO and co-founder of Qubole and former head of Facebook’s data team, offers some tips on how students can prepare themselves for the changing workforce:

Today’s students will be among the first data-native employees to enter the workforce, and will have the opportunity to reshape how access to data and insights are managed across enterprises. Data scientists are expected not only to be able to analyze big data, but make it understandable and actionable by different departments within the organization. The new batch of data scientists will be much more integrated into their enterprises’ workflows, and will need to be able to think creatively, integrate data into business strategy, and communicate their findings accurately to non-technical users. As data becomes more ubiquitous in every job role, it is now the data team’s job to provide data in a way that is visually understandable and workable by non-analysts.”

And finally, our friends over at KPMG provided us with the results of their latest CEO Survey of 400 CEOs that uncovered some significant findings for Data & Analytics.  Specifically:

  • 49% said they are concerned about the integrity of the data they are basing their decisions on.
  • 86% said they increased investment in D&A in the last 12 months, with 35% saying they made a significant investment and launched a major new investment program in this area.
  • 61% said they would make either incremental or significant investments in D&A tools in the next 3 years.
  • 32% identified issues surrounding data as potentially the biggest technology-related challenge to their organizations in the next 3 years.
  • And becoming more data-driven was third in a long list of strategic priorities, moving up significantly in the rankings from 2016 when it was ranked 13th.
Organizations are getting so much data and so many more types of data, such as from external sources, and in many cases these data are not governed by long relied-upon controls,” said Brad Fisher, partner and US Leader of Data & Analytics. “It’s natural that nearly half of CEOs would express concern about relying on data they are not sure they can trust. Organizations need to have transparency in the data science processes to better understand and rely on the analytics. Only then will executives have more confidence in their decision making using data & analytics.”


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