Kognitio Targets US Market, Bags Award

Kognitio, a UK-based player, has set its sights (and funded some moves) on the US market with its WX2 data warehouse offerings and is beginning to gain some traction here.

If you’ve been around a while, you may remember White Cross, an appliance vendor before they were called that – it’s not much of a stretch to change the name to WX2. The value proposition, says John Thompson, Chief Executive for North American operations, himself a longtime industry player who joined the firm in December 2007 , is simple: “better, faster, cheaper, and (importantly) easier.”

WX2 is software-based now, although Kognitio will still build commodity hardware-based appliances on request. It’s available in a variety of deployment styles: software license or appliance on your own site; hosted by the vendor out of their UK facility; or as a Data Warehouse as a Service (DaaS) offering. DaaS is new to many organizations, but not to Kognitio: WX2 has been handling some key applications for British Telecom for over a decade, and the customer just signed a new 2 -year deal. Kognitio understands the operations side, says Thompson, better than their competitors do, and can implement faster for clients who then have nothing more to do than “write us a check every month,” he says. But if the customer simply must have it on their own premises, Kognitio will support that and still run the system by tunneling in.

Several of the firm’s marketing claims can be debated, of course: better for what? Faster than whom, when? I won’t do that here. The company can and will talk tech with the engineers, but for most players in the DW appliance game the proof is in the POC. With a new exec and a new sales force on this side of the pond, Kognitio is being asked to the table and has had increasing success of late in head to head competition, and today claims 50 customers. Recent stateside wins include an intriguing project at the National Center for Genome Resources, and TRA (True TOI Accountability for Media) has chosen WX2 for an analytics platform they sell to the broadcast industry. WX2 recently won an award from Searchdatamanagement.com, and the firm has been pounding the beat to make itself known to the analyst and consultant communities, presenting at shows, and generating leads.

Thompson says the firm’s 10-man sales force has a solid pipeline for 2009 in the face of a tough economy. He’s aggressive for a reason: the firm is running at breakeven in Europe, and his mandate is to turn aggressive investment in North America into growth. Their pricing is aggressive; WX2 pricing starts at $50,000 per terabyte of data. Services for analytics support and projects are negotiated as needed, sometimes on a time and materials basis. Many of the requests are new to the customer, but Kognitio has seen them before and can quickly respond to changing needs. The firm is getting traction with partners who see the value in its non-proprietary architecture, and is worth a look for rapid, quick ROI analytic projects.