With little fanfare or formality, OpenText entered the Analytics-as-a-Service market this week with a cloud-based version of its Big Data Analytics product.

OpenText made available its Big Data Analytics offering in the cloud with the goal of attracting a new type of user. 

This new type of user — like many companies that gravitate to the cloud's business model — is not likely to have much data analytics talent on its staff, does not want to spend a lot or even any time coding the new system, may need it to be quickly implemented, and will use it to make fast decisions, usually in response to market trends.

"We are going after a different part of the big data analytics market with this offering," Allen Bonde, VP of Product Marketing and Innovation at OpenText told CMSWire.

He said OpenText will follow this offering with other cloud-based versions of its product line, targeting similar users in the coming months.

Serious Big Data vs. Innovative Packaging

Big Data Analytics, formerly called BIRT Analytics, was part of the Actuate portfolio that Open Text acquired in January.

It is an on-premises offering; a serious big data product for companies that have the expertise — not to mention the hardware — to harness incoming real time data and analyze it. For these companies, "BDA is part of the work flow and infrastructure," Bonde said.

The new cloud-based version is the same product, Bonde said, coupled with professional hosting services and a pricing model that allows users to buy only the amount of data they want to analyze.

"The packaging is what is innovative," Bonde said.

Sectors Ripe for BDA Cloud

The users, meanwhile, will come from different sectors of the economy than the manufacturers that are typical users of the on premise version.

"We are targeting marketing companies and financial use cases, particularly risk and fraud uses," Bonde said. 

Supply chain optimization is another sector ripe for a cloud-based BDA. Indeed, Bonde said OpenText almost has an "unfair advantage" targeting these companies given OpenText's deep manufacturing roots.

Not that the cloud version is limited to these sectors. Rather, OpenText has a specific company profile in mind. "Basically any company that has a lot of data and knows its business and processes, but doesn’t want to deal with the hardware," Bonde said.

Learning Opportunities

These companies have been getting by with Excel or lighter weight BI tools but know what they really need is predictive analytics, he said.

Other Offerings

OpenText is working on other cloud-based offerings as it prepares to dig deep into the Analytics-as-a-Service offering.

A likely contender (Bonde is not committing to anything specific) is the OpenText Actuate Information Hub (formerly the BIRT iHub Visualization Platform), a BI platform and data management system.

iHub is already widely deployed. It has a big OEM [Original equipment manufacturer] business, and is embedded in many different environment, he said.

"If we are offering big data Analytics-as-a-Service, we also think it would be interesting to look at offering a Platform-as-a-Service using the iHUB," Bonde continued.

The cloud-based BDA as well as future offerings will run off OpenText’s network of 31 data centers, a departure from on premise version of BDA, which was only marketed out of the company's analytics business unit. OpenText anticipates global demand for the cloud offerings, Bonde explained.

"We believe there is unmet demand in this market for this type of offering and we think we are entering at just the right time."

Even one year earlier, he said, would have been too soon. "It is only now that these companies are realizing what they are lacking without a predictive analytics function." 

Title image by Ales Krivec.