The marketplace for delivering business intelligence (BI) to the business side of the office has become something of a land grab lately, and software-as-a-service (SaaS) BI vendor PivotLink recently staked a claim of its own, launching a platform of ready-made analytical applications targeted to sales, marketing, and human resources (HR) professionals. The applications within the new PivotLink ReadiMetrix product family offer department-specific key performance indicators (KPIs), collaborative dashboards, and reports -- or what PivotLink Chief Executive Officer Quentin Gallivan calls "insight-as-a-service."
Ease of use and accessibility are now standard features in the PivotLink offering, according to Gallivan, reflecting a new era of BI that promises to make analytics consumable for businesspeople. The fact that the ReadiMetrix suite is hosted in the cloud allows easy integration with other cloud-based CRM, marketing, and HR applications, according to the company, with existing prebuilt integrations for on-demand CRM pioneer Salesforce.com, marketing specialist Marketo, and Workday, a provider of on-demand HR applications.
"PivotLink is in many ways the archetype of why a company would consider SaaS BI," says Jill Dyché, partner and cofounder of Baseline Consulting. "They combine narrow functionality with a great data-integration story."
The ReadiMetrix suite offers three modules:
- ReadiMetrix for Sales — features specific reports for performance, pipeline analysis, lead conversion, and sales forecasting.
- ReadiMetrix for Marketing — focuses on the tracking of campaigns, and the effectiveness of prospect-to-lead, lead-to-opportunity, and segmentation strategies.
- ReadiMetrix for Human Capital Management — gives users metrics for analyzing compensation and benefits, and provides dashboards to measure headcount attrition and performance management.
According to Gallivan, PivotLink plans to take the "insight-as-a-service" idea one step further, enabling its customers to share their own best practices and KPIs with one another. Without putting private or proprietary data at risk, he says, these "birds of a feather" communities will be able to share successful strategies -- a feature that, as he puts it, "is exciting and something you wouldn't see from on-premises [offerings]."
The new release also provides the opportunity for mash-ups with other CRM, marketing, and data solutions, Gallivan says. "Most companies have a hybrid data-integration requirement [but] data that sits in [enterprise resource planning software] and outside the firewall," he points out. "They need to mash the data up." As an example, Gallivan cites a company in which a finance staffer mashed up his department's data with data from the sales team to create a holistic view of that company's operations.
Midsize organizations — those with between 500 and 10,000 employees — make up approximately half of PivotLink's customer base, according to the company. The other half are department-level deployments within large enterprises.
Dyché says PivotLink's integration with and analysis of CRM data is what's really valuable in the ReadiMetrix release. For a company to see how it's moving along in its relationship cycle is difficult -- and building a comparable ability in-house can take years. "PivotLink doesn't offer a full-scale analytical CRM solution," Dyché notes, "But what they do -- allowing companies to deploy analytic capabilities quickly and without the usual drama -- they do very well." In fact, she adds, "what they do is what SaaS vendors should do: solve a set of business problems for companies with small or over-burdened [technology] departments."
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