In April, Expressor Software visited the Boulder BI Braintrust (BBBT) and spent a few hours taking us through their story. Positioning themselves as a provider of high performance semantic data integration software, Expressor shipped their first commercial release in May of 2008 and are targeting Global 2000 and government entities in the US and EMEA. With $16M in funding, and an executive team with experience in the market from firms such as IBM, BEA, Informatica, Knightsbridge and Ab Initio, Expressor has built a foundation that will allow them to attack the market aggressively, selling price performance for data integration .
Expressor’s pricing is aggressive, based on what they call “channels” (units of parallel processing), and they have a calculator to help determine how many will be needed to achieve customer requirements for throughput and latency. It’s easy to add additional channels; a software switch is flipped and on you go. Making it easy to do business with them is a focus, which will stand them in good stead competing with other vendors for complex data integration, such as ab initio, whose sales process is often off-putting with prospects.
Expressor hopes to leverage partners as a key sales channel. They’re also targeting data warehouse appliance (DWA) vendors and see powerful leverage there; some DWA sales involve more costs for the feeder software than for the appliance itself. Complex data integration projects also very often involve systems integrators – TDWI studies have documented this recently – so the go to market strategy is a sound one considering that their price structure will not support a large enterprise direct sales force.
While the products are in early stages of development, Expressor’s approach appears promising. Basing their flow on defining semantic definitions using a variety of software assists to match and rationalize data elements, Expressor effectively decouples some early design work from the physical connections. This allows business-savvy analysts to be at work in the early stages of projects – which often is not the case, resulting in expense and delays. Expressor has a role-based approach to the individual tools, so data analysts, architects, and administrators each have their own – and all sit atop a common metadata repository, eliminating complex hand-offs and error-prone translations.
The BBBT conversation included some lengthy asides about effective use of memory architectures and subtle differences between programming languages that Expressor asserts underpins their performance advantage. They claim some recent wins over ab initio, who they see as a key competitor for their custom-code based target market sector.
This is a young product, and the team shared a development roadmap that will continue to enhance it through the next several releases. But with its emerging partnerships (some significant ones to be announced in Q2), an upcoming product release before the end of Q2, and some early reference customers in place, indications are that Expressor will be a factor in the market in 2009, and one to watch.