LucidEra Clearly Debuts On-Demand Business Intelligence
LucidEra, a two-year-old on-demand Business Intelligence (BI) specialist, has released LucidSnapshots, an application that expands the functionality of the company's Forecast-to-Billing solution. LucidSnapshots will now be available to Forecast-to-Billing customers at no extra cost.
Forecast-to-Billing employs adapters to pull data from CRM and accounting systems in order to provide improved visibility into sales, marketing, and back-office processes. The application supports drill-downs into three categories:
- Numbers (e.g., opportunity amount, closed revenue, quota, average days to close, and average size of won and lost deals);
- Names and Categories (e.g., sales rep name and account name); and
- Time Periods (e.g., fiscal year and fiscal quarter).
These categories interact with each other, encouraging users to run precisely detailed queries (for example, determining the average size of deals closed by a particular salesperson in fiscal 2006, and comparing this result to the performance of all other salespeople).
LucidSnapshots adds a historical capability to this application, allowing end users to examine past metrics. "The trend is your friend," quips Ken Rudin, LucidEra's cofounder and chief executive officer, emphasizing the importance of looking back in time to measure improvements and diagnose challenges. Rudin has a long history with CRM systems--before helping to launch LucidEra, he worked as a vice president at both Siebel Systems and Salesforce.com.
While embedded analytics products have become more common among CRM applications, Denis Pombriant, founder and managing principal at Beagle Research, says some of the suite vendors may not be as powerful as they could be in this arena: "Lots of CRM programs don't do a very good job of analytics," he says. "They're content to provide basic reporting functionality." Moreover, such analytics modules might only analyze data from the CRM provider itself whereas LucidEra integrates data from various CRM systems, financials systems, and spreadsheets, giving the product access to more data on which to run analytics.
Companies interested in going beyond basic reporting--for example, to construct detailed historical analyses of sales performance--may also employ standard BI products in order to do so. However, such products may be too expensive for some prospects. LucidEra's advantage in this regard, Pombriant notes, is that its on-demand model offers cost advantages: LucidEra costs $2,900 per company per month. This price, which includes 100 licenses, is up to 10 times less expensive than a typical on-site BI installation, he says.
Rudin emphasizes that on-demand BI is an idea whose time has come. "Data has started moving outside the walls, with companies storing data offsite, using external data, and accessing data from partners. The next big thing to move outside the walls will be analytics, because large internal deployments expend enormous amounts of time and money."
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