YouCalc Launches into Bubbling SaaS Analytics Space

The land rush into the SaaS analytics space continues; Danish startup Youcalc is seeing solid results from its December 2008 commercial launch. Its value proposition: create custom analytics applications on live data from SaaS systems. Rasmus Madsen and Henrik Kjaer co-founded Youcalc with the idea that a community-based approach to creating analytics applications and sharing them in the SaaS world would unleash creativity within well-defined communities like salesforce.com’s AppExchange, SugarCRM customers, and users of Google Analytics and Google Adwords. Joining Birst, Cloud9, GoodData, PivotLink and others, Youcalc has made good progress with a 30-day free trial and minimal traditional marketing. The idea is that users will treat the product as a platform, creating and sharing a “vast library of ready-to-use, yet customizable analytics apps.” Will this pared-down approach and community model help avoid the issues that led to the failure of Lucidera? We’ll see.

There’s a reason Youcalc doesn’t have much marketing budget – it’s a very early stage firm with no funding and only a few paying customers from the 3000 who had installed it at the end of the second quarter.  Rasmus Madsen tells me,

Our marketing budget is currently 20 dollars per day – it’s an ad word. Everything else is viral.”

And revenue numbers will take some time to ramp: Youcalc only charges $19.95 per user per month. There are already over 130 applications for the products listed above as well as  Basecamp and Highrise. Youcalc targets small and medium firms whose budgets are hard to crack open; Madsen believes 20 seats is the sweetspot for SaaS in small to midsize businesses. Applications available so far offer analytics for  Sales tasks including forecasting, pipeline management,  and salesforce performance, not unlike the focus Lucidera had arrived at before it went under. But Youcalc is also targeting the Marketing organization with campaign ROI, e-mail marketing, Web analytics, and AdWords performance. And the Services side of the house is also a target with analytics for projects, tickets/incidents, and productivity.

Youcalc has a separate development environment where customers create and then deploy their apps by publishing them as a desktop application to the Youcalc server. It feels like a desktop app, but you’re just seeing the UI. The app has a live connection to the products noted above, and more will be added. Embed them inside, say, salesforce – just click a tab, and you’re off to the races. It’s not “installed.” Apps can also be added to iGoogle, and seen on iPhone. Youcalc works on a transient model: “slurp it into our memory, work with it, and it goes away when you’re done, ” Madsen says.  It’s a real-time, not data warehouse-based approach. “We are not talking about terabytes of data yet,” Madsen says. “CRM systems aren’t that big yet, especially for the companies we’re targeting.” One benefit: everyone gets the newest version of an app even if they have their own copy of it.

Youcalc has a demo account with salesforce.com, so there is data available to play with right away. If you are a salesforce customer already, you can be looking at your own data within minutes. For some kinds of analysis, more than one source is needed – for example Google Adwords would have its own data, while revenue information might be in salesforce. To measure ROI you’d need to mash them up. Youcalc claims they can do that, and to have two apps that do so already; I did not verify this. But “real data integration” is out of scope here; prospects will have to decide whether the limits are a stopper for them. David Raab does a nice job describing Youcalc in some more detail on his blog, and looks at some of the other constraints. There is also a brief product tour on Youcalc’s site that provides a good sense of its features.

Today the developed apps (not the data, of course) will be shared with other users by default. The community features you see in YouTube and elsewhere are here – a rating system and tagging to help other users find useful apps. Madsen tells me that some clients are asking for models to be kept private, and Youcalc will introduce private workspaces. Still, the community proposition is clearly a key in Youcalc’s thinking. The company is keeping investment conservative thus far to avoid melting down before it gets off the ground. Time will tell if this strategy and the reliance on community, will prove successful. But it’s worth a look, and the price is low.

About Merv Adrian
Gartner Research VP, technology analyst and consultant, 30 years of industry experience, covering software mostly, hardware sometimes.

3 Responses to YouCalc Launches into Bubbling SaaS Analytics Space

  1. Pingback: youcalc

  2. Pingback: For GoodData, SaaS Changes The Channel Model Too « Merv's Market Strategies for IT Suppliers

  3. Pingback: For GoodData, SaaS Changes The Channel Model Too

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