Lucidera Hysteria Misses The Point

It’s early yet and the whole story has not been told. But the flurry of Lucidera  “news” – mostly retweets and wild speculation – needs at least a brief response. It appears, in several stories from apparently reputable news outlets quoting thus-far unnamed sources,  that LucidEra, a SaaS BI startup, is shutting its operations down. The firm apparently ran out of money – its last round of funding was US$15.6 million in Series B venture capital funding in August 2007.

I wrote favorably in this blog about LucidEra a few weeks ago, and I confess that I did not see this coming. I am not a financial analyst and did not review their books. It’s a lesson to me and to us all – good stories, good technology, and even some good customers are not the whole story. I don’t and won’t pretend in my blog to be an authoritative source on the financial viability of anyone. Caveats all around to anyone who plans to do business with people I talk about – I neither believe nor hope that anyone takes my scribblings as sufficient ground for a purchase. Due diligence, always!

I’m concerned that some of the early commentary seems focused on whether the failure of one company calls the SaaS business model into question. In a word, No. Companies will fail – in traditional license models and in new ones. Most startups fail. That’s the real world, folks. Let’s take the time to see what really happened here before we all pull the Chicken Little hardhats out of the closet. The likelihood is that one of the oldest equations in business:

(cash+ revenue) – (runrate * time)  MUST NOT = 0

was violated. it’s that simple, and that complicated.

Lucidera Targets Applied BI as a Service – And Wins

[Editorial update Feb 2010 – Lucidera is no longer in business as an independent company, but its assets, including LucidDB, are still in other products. To follow up, type Lucidera into the search box on my home page, and you’ll get a list of subsequent posts that discussed the failure of the firm and subsequent adoption of the technology elsewhere. – Merv Adrian]

Lucidera has a unique value proposition. Yes, they do BI – so do many other vendors. Yes, they do a SaaS model – ditto. How to set yourself apart? Focus on improving performance, not just reporting and leaving that to the person on the other side of the glass. Add context, best practice and benchmarks, guidance – and service. Lucidera calls it “domain specific analytic applications.” Here at IT Market Strategy, we tend to complain about people not calling such things analytics applications, but I won’t quibble here. What matters is that it is succeeding. Read more of this post

Birst Hopes to Ride On-Demand BI Wave

Birst CEO Brad Peters checked in with IT Market Strategy to update us on the most recent developments in the on-demand BI market. They’ve been busy; when we last talked in January, Birst had just hired Randi DiPrima to head up a global partners program, and a significant new round of financing was freshly deposited. Read more of this post