Posted on 1 Comment

July 30: From BI to AI (Algorithmia, Alteryx, Atos, AtScale, Blue Prism, DataRobot, Domino Data Lab, EZOPS, Google Cloud, IBM, Informatica, Kili Technologies, Kyndryl, PwC, SAP, SAS, Trifacta, Visual BI)

If you would like your announcement to be included in these data platform-focused roundups, please email


DataRobot Unveils Major Milestones, Including $300M Series G Funding Investment

On July 27, DataRobot announced a $300M Series G funding round. Repeat investors Altimeter Capital and Tiger Global led the round, along with participation from new investors Counterpoint Global (Morgan Stanley), Franklin Templeton, ServiceNow Ventures, and Sutter Hill Ventures. The funding will be used for further development of DataRobot’s Augmented Intelligence platform, as well as expanding its go-to-market team.

Kili Technology raises $25M Series A

Also on July 27, Kili Technology revealed that it had raised a $25M Series A funding round. Balderton Capital led the round. The company is looking to accelerate hiring with the funding.

SAS charts path to IPO-readiness

On July 29, SAS announced that it intended to be ready for an IPO by 2024. Key steps SAS will take over the next couple of years include refining its financial reporting structure, optimizing certain operational processes, and further developing its AI and analytics capabilities.

Acquisitions and Partnerships

Alteryx and PwC Expand Strategic Relationship Globally to Address Analytics Automation Demand

Blue Prism Partners with Alteryx to Drive Faster, More Reliable Data Analytics

Alteryx revealed news about two partnerships this week. On July 28, Alteryx announced a new partnership with Blue Prism, an intelligent automation company, along with a bi-directional integration between the two platforms. Blue Prism developers will be able to include Alteryx analytic processes within RPA-driven processes, while Alteryx analysts will be able to trigger Blue Prism digital workers from within their Alteryx workflows.

On July 29, Alteryx announced that it was expanding its relationship with PwC. The original partnership, announced in February 2020, focused on upskilling and digital transformation efforts in US companies; these efforts are now being expanded globally.

Atos acquires Visual BI to enhance its ability to address customers’ increasing need for analytics in the cloud

On July 29, Atos, a digital transformation company, announced that it was acquiring Visual BI, a cloud data analytics company. By acquiring Visual BI, Atos hopes to address its customers’ increasing need for cloud-based BI and analytics.

DataRobot is Acquiring Algorithmia, Enhancing Leading MLOps Architecture for the Enterprise

The same day it announced $300M in Series G Funding (see above), DataRobot also revealed that it was acquiring MLOps platform Algorithmia.

Domino Data Lab Announces New Partner Network

On July 29, Domino Data Lab debuted the Domino Partner Network, connecting technology and services partners across four categories: Tools & Data, Infrastructure, Solutions, and Implementation & Consulting. Inaugural members include Accenture, AWS, DataArt, Dell Technologies, MathWorks, NetApp, NVIDIA, and Snowflake, among others.

Google Cloud and SAP Partner to Accelerate Business Transformations in the Cloud

IBM and SAP to Help Financial Institutions Accelerate Cloud Adoption to Modernize Operations in a Secured Environment

SAP had two partner announcements this week as well. On July 28, SAP announced that it intends to expand the availability of SAP finance and data management solutions on IBM Cloud for Financial Services, which have built-in security and compliance controls to address financial regulations around risk and data. The goal is to accelerate adoption of IBM Cloud within the financial services industry.

On July 29, SAP and Google Cloud announced that they would be expanding their strategic partnership. Google Cloud will now be a strategic partner for RISE with SAP, SAP’s digital transformation offering. Similar to SAP’s IBM partnership, the goal is to accelerate cloud adoption and business process migration even further.

Product Enhancements

AtScale AI-Link Connects Business Intelligence and Enterprise AI with Semantic Layer to Scale Augmented Analytics and Data Science

On July 29, AtScale introduced AI-Link. AtScale allows BI teams to consume live cloud data with preferred apps; data scientists can now access the same data with Python via AI-Link to put into augmented analytics and machine learning models. AI-Link is available today as an add-on to AtScale.

EZOPS Supports Streamlined Data Control and Optimized Efficiency in Snowflake

On July 27, EZOPS announced that they are incorporating Snowflake support. Snowflake customers will be able to use EZOPS’ AI models to analyze data stream patterns for anomalies, and then escalate said anomalies within EZOPS Workflow for further triage and analysis.

Trifacta Delivers Head Start on Cloud Data Engineering With New Template Gallery

On July 27, Trifacta debuted pre-built cloud data engineering templates to further enable what they’re calling “self-service data management.” The templates will allow Trifacta users to tweak pre-configured data engineering workflows to suit their needs, then quickly deploy them. Some examples of the available templates include transforming data to a target schema using a mapping table, identifying sentiment keywords and calculating NPS, and importing data from Google Cloud Storage to BigQuery.


Kyndryl Names David Wyshner As Chief Financial Officer

Kyndryl, the new separate company of IBM’s Managed Infrastructure Services, has appointed David Wyshner as the company’s CFO. Wyshner was most recently the CFO of XPO Logistics; prior to that, Wyshner led the separation of Wyndham Worldwide into three separate companies during his time as CFO there.

Informatica Appoints Elizabeth Rafael to Board of Directors

On July 26, Informatica announced that Betsy Rafael has joined the Informatica board of directors, as well as the chair of the audit committee. Most recently, Rafael was the Chief Transformation Officer at GoDaddy. Preceding her stint at GoDaddy, Rafael served as Vice President and Corporate Controller and Principal Accounting Executive at Apple, and Vice President, Corporate Finance at Cisco.

Posted on Leave a comment

July 23: From BI to AI (Cube Dev, Dremio, Google Cloud, Julia Computing, Lucata, Palantir, Redpoint, Sisense, Vertica, Zoom)

If you would like your announcement to be included in these data platform-focused roundups, please email

Product Launches and Updates

Dremio Launches SQL Lakehouse Service to Accelerate BI and Analytics

On July 21, at Subservice Live, Dremio debuted Dremio Cloud, a cloud-native SQL-based data “lakehouse” service. The service marries various aspects of data lakes and data warehouses into a SQL lakehouse, enabling high-performance SQL workloads in the cloud and expediting the process of getting started. Dremio Cloud is now available in the AWS Marketplace.

Google Cloud Announces Healthcare Data Engine to Enable Interoperability in Healthcare

On July 22, Google Cloud announced Healthcare Data Engine, now in private preview. Healthcare Data Engine integrates healthcare and life sciences data from multiple sources such as medical records, claims, clinical trials, and research data, enabling a more longitudinal view of patient health along with advanced analytics and AI in a secure environment. With the introduction of Amazon HealthLake last week, it’s clear that expanding healthcare and life sciences analytics capabilities continue to be a top priority among data services providers.

Palantir Introduces Foundry for Builders

Dipping a toenail into the waters outside their usual large established organization customer base, Palantir announced the launch of Foundry for Builders, providing access to the Palantir Foundry platform for startups under a fully-managed subscription model. Foundry for Builders is starting off with limited availability; the initial group of startups provided access are all connected to Palantir alumni, with the hope of expanding to other early-stage “hypergrowth” companies down the road.

Redpoint Global Announces In Situ

On July 20, Redpoint announced In Situ, a service that provides data quality and identity resolution. In Situ uses Redpoint’s data management technology to supply identity resolution and data integration services in real time within an organization’s virtual private cloud, without needing to transfer said private data across the internet.

Sisense Announces Sisense Extense Framework

On July 21, Sisense debuted the Sisense Extense Framework, a way to deliver interactive analytics experiences within popular business applications. Initially supported apps include Slack, Salesforce, Google Sheets, Google Slides, and Google Chrome, now available on the Sisense Marketplace. The Sisense Extense Framework will be released more broadly later this year to partners looking to build similar “infusion” apps.

Vertica Announces Vertica 11

On June 20, at Vertica Unify 2021, Vertica announced the Vertica 11 Analytics Platform. Key improvements include broader deployment support, strengthened security, increased analytical performance, and enhanced machine learning capabilities.


Cube Dev Raises $15.5 Million to Help Companies Build Applications with Cloud Data Warehouses

On July 19, Cube Dev announced that they had raised $15.5M in Series A funding. Decibel led this round, with participation from Bain Capital Ventures, Betaworks and Eniac Ventures. The funding will be used to scale go-to-market activities and accelerate R+D on its first commercial product. Cube Dev also brought aboard Jonathan E. Cowperthwait of npm as Head of Marketing and Jordan Philips of Dashbase as Head of Revenue Operations to support their commercial expansion.

Julia Computing Raises $24M in Series A, Former Snowflake CEO Bob Muglia Joins Board

Julia Computing announced the completion of a $24M Series A funding round on July 19. Dorilton Ventures led the round, with participation from Menlo Ventures, General Catalyst, and HighSage Ventures. Julia Computing will use the funding to further develop JuliaHub, its secure, high-performance cloud platform for scientific and technical modeling, and to grow the Julia ecosystem overall. Bob Muglia, the former CEO of Snowflake, joined the Julia Computing board on the same day.

Lucata Raises $11.9 Million in Series B Funding to Introduce Next-Generation Computing Platform

Lucata, a platform to scale and accelerate graph analytics, AI, and machine learning capabilities, announced July 19 that it had raised $11.9M in Series B funding. Notre Dame, Middleburg Capital Development, Blu Ventures Inc., Hunt Holdings, Maulick Capital, and Varian Capital all participated in the round. The funding will fuel an “aggressive” go-to-market strategy.


Zoom to Acquire Five9

On July 18, Zoom announced that it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Five9, a cloud contact center service provider, for $14.7B in stock. In welcoming Five9 to the Zoom platform, Zoom expects to build a better “customer engagement platform,” complementary with its Zoom Phone offering. Later in the week, Zoom also announced the launch of Zoom Apps and Zoom Events, further enhancing the collaboration capabilities of the primary Zoom video communications suite.

Posted on Leave a comment

Analyst Insight: Raindrop Systems

Executive Summary

Key Stakeholders: Chief Procurement Officer, Procurement Directors and Managers, Controllers, Vice Presidents of Accounting, Accounting Directors and Managers, Legal Directors, Finance Directors and Managers, Sales Operations Directors and Managers, Marketing Operations Directors and Managers

Why Raindrop Matters: Mid-market organizations between $100 million and $1 billion in annual revenue are in a tricky situation where they have the advantage of being relatively small and nimble, but must also face enterprise-grade operational challenges to support global supply chains, customer bases, and vendor ecosystems. Raindrop provides organizations at this size and above with a freemium SaaS product to support organizations starting to support mature enterprise spend practices while maintaining the governance, compliance, and security issues that come up for enterprises

Top Takeaway: Amalgam Insights recommends Raindrop as a business spend management solution to be considered for organizations with over $20 million in revenue that currently have fragmented or non-existent sourcing management, supplier management, and payment management capabilities.

Introduction to Raindrop Systems

Amalgam Insights recently briefed with Raindrop Systems, an emerging startup focused on Enterprise Spend Management. This vendor got our attention because it has come up in inquiries as a potential solution for managing contracts and spend in mid-market organizations between 100 million and 5 billion dollars in annual revenue, though Raindrop does support enterprise-sized clients exceeding 10 billion dollars in annual revenue.

Founded in 2019 and based in Santa Clara, California in the United States, Raindrop is part of the SaaS trend of “Built by X, for X” companies that was built by procurement professionals to solve enterprise procurement lifecycle demands from sourcing to payment. Amalgam Insights notes that this is a trend in the finance, accounting, and sourcing markets where subject matter experts have come in to build SaaS solutions that have quickly become competitive with legacy solutions that were developed by programmers or technicians lacking deep enterprise practitioner experience. Raindrop was founded by Vijay Caveripakkam and Ward Karson, who bring both provisioning practitioner and consulting backgrounds to the company.

Contextualizing Raindrop in the Enterprise Spend Market

In exploring the Raindrop solution, Amalgam Insights notes that Raindrop’s key differentiation points were associated with providing a modern user experience to support collaboration, workflow automation capabilities, analytic tracking of savings, and clear calls to action to support cost savings, and supplier risk management. The last of these is of particular note, as Amalgam Insights has traditionally seen spend management solutions focus on being systems of record, which led to a practical outcome of creating a data repository that was both complete and overwhelming to analyze on a regular basis. In the 2020s, as Big Data has become regular data and every large data source will overwhelm the human ability to manually audit and query data effectively, people need to use a combination of workflow automation, machine learning, natural language parsing and processing, and rapid contextualization of data to effectively keep up with the constant increases in contract text, transactions, and payments in place.

Raindrop has two key current focus areas. The first is with organizations with less than 50 million dollars in business spend, based on the product’s ease of implementation and a freemium approach that allows clients to sign up for a production-ready instance of the service at no cost to see how contractual obligations can be administrated through a formalized solution. Its second key focus is on larger mid-market to enterprise organizations with 100 to 500 million dollars in business spend to support that customer base. 

Raindrop is designed to be a general spend solution to support planning, supplier management, sourcing, contract management, and payables within a single solution. This integrated lifecycle approach is intended to ensure that data capture associated with contract, vendor, and stakeholder management occurs during transactional execution of payments, contract execution and renewal, and supplier evaluation. As part of this process, Raindrop includes a semi-automated contract loading process that currently automates about half of the contract term entry. From a data privacy perspective, Raindrop has placed a focus on GDPR and on not keeping payment information to support privacy and governance issues such as PCI DSS and FedRAMP compliance.

This solution comes to market at a time when the mid-market procurement market faces a bit of a vacuum. When Scout RFP was purchased by Workday for $540 million, it had made inroads into the mid-market to support cloud-based sourcing and supplier management. However, post-acquisition, Scout RFP development has been more focused on the enterprise customers that Workday focuses on. This development is similar to the work that planning and budgeting solution Adaptive Insights saw post-Workday acquisition.

At the same time, mid-market organizations face greater complexity in their sourcing environments as competitive markets, lowered barriers to purchase, and the proliferation of suppliers in a variety of markets has led to the need to manage spend more closely. As just one example, Amalgam Insights estimates that the average 500 employee company with approximately $100 million in revenue is supporting 250 SaaS vendors, but estimates that less than 100 of them are being formally sourced or managed through procurement. This haphazard approach will lead to spend leakage, missed renewal opportunities, and the inability to aggregate and negotiate licenses over time. And although mid-market companies have typically started to invest in spend management, it is typically in a piecemeal fashion where contract management, purchasing, invoices, payments, and budgeting can each be in a separate application or spreadsheet and there is no direct coordination between each silo other than manual employee changes made on an ad-hoc basis.

Because of both the increasingly complexity of mid-market procurement management and the potential for cost savings through competitive and bulk purchasing exercises, Amalgam Insights believes that the need for mature sourcing and spend management capabilities is now necessary for mid-market organizations that are responsible for good stewardship. Amalgam Insights estimates that the total cost of ownership savings for sourcing management typically matches the expense of an employee or full-time-equivalent at about 100 employees or $20 million in annual revenue and that this cost crossover can occur even earlier in a company’s progression if it is tech-heavy in its operations.

Amalgam Insights’ Recommendations

Amalgam Insights believes that Raindrop’s offering provides a low barrier to entry for business spend as a solution that is as-a-Service, free to start, and provides a modern user interface on par with current web-based applications while providing the breadth of services needed to support business spend management and a standard set of security and compliance requirements needed to support data privacy. In light of the increasing importance of managing the source-to-pay lifecycle for mid-sized organizations, Amalgam Insights recommends Raindrop as a business spend management solution to be considered for organizations with over $20 million in revenue that currently have fragmented or non-existent sourcing management, supplier management, and payment management capabilities.

Posted on 1 Comment

July 16: From BI to AI (AWS, CognitiveScale, GoodData, Hazelcast, Informatica, StrongBox Data Solutions, Vertica)

If you would like your announcement to be included in Amalgam Insights’ weekly data and analytics roundups, please email

Product Launches and Enhancements

Informatica Announces Unified Data Governance and Catalog As-a-Service in the Cloud

On July 13, Informatica announced the launch of its Cloud Data Governance and Catalog solution as a key part of its Intelligent Data Management Cloud. As part of Informatica’s continuing expansion to the cloud, Informatica customers will now be able to do data cataloging, quality, data and machine learning model governance through the same “pane of glass.” Amalgam Insights has a forthcoming post on Informatica’s integration of data governance and machine learning model governance.

AWS Announces General Availability of Amazon HealthLake

On July 15, Amazon debuted Amazon HealthLake, a data lake for healthcare and life sciences data that falls under HIPAA requirements. HealthLake uses machine learning to extract and appropriately transform unstructured health data to prepare it for use in analytics and AI models. The service is generally available now.

CognitiveScale Announces Launch Of Cortex Fabric Version 6

On July 15, CognitiveScale announced the release of Cortex Fabric Version 6, a low-code AI app development platform. Cortex 6 lets “citizen developers” build AI-based apps with their “Campaigns” visual framework, focusing on business optimization and process automation use cases.

GoodData and Vertica Partner to Accelerate Cloud-Native Self-Service Analytics Adoption in the Enterprise

GoodData and Vertica announced a strategic partnership on July 15. GoodData.CN, GoodData’s cloud native analytics services, will connect to Vertica’s data warehouse to allow non-technical users to perform self-service analytics.

Hazelcast Unveils Real-Time Intelligent Applications Platform

On July 14, Hazelcast announced the Hazelcast platform, which will allow users to merge streaming data with data at rest. Because Hazelcast can handle realtime event streams as well as access to data lakes and data warehouses, it can act as a single point of access for all types of data. Hazelcast is currently in beta; general availability is expected in August 2021. In addition, certain features of Hazelcast will also be available through the Hazelcast Platform for IBM Cloud Paks.

StrongBox Data Solutions Announces StrongLink 3.2

StrongBox Data Solutions announced the availability of StrongLink 3.2, a data management platform. StrongLink automates policy enforcement across a wide variety of data sources and storage types, aiming to eliminate data silos while providing replication to protect said data’s existence. StrongLink 3.2 is available immediately.

Posted on

Market Alert – Zoho Launches its Business Intelligence Platform

On July 13, 2021, Zoho announced its Business Intelligence Platform which combines data preparation, machine learning, analytics, presentation, and application development into a single suite of services. This platform brings Zoho’s new DataPrep capability and combines is with the existing Zoho Analytics product. The combined platform provides a single solution the clean, augment, analyze, and present data as a visual presentation, application, or as an answer to a question asked in standard English. This analysis is based both on briefings and discussions with Zoho customers.

To provide some background on Zoho, Zoho is a private company founded in 1996 to provide business applications in the cloud. As of now, Zoho supports a business suite of 45 applications available as an integrated suite called Zoho One. Zoho’s Analytics offering, called Zoho Analytics, was first launched as Zoho Reports in 2009 to help users understand their data. Zoho Analytics supports over 10,000 customers across both cloud and on-premises environments. Zoho also supports over 300 white-labelled embedded BI customers across telco, supply chain, and other enterprise environments.

Since 2009, Zoho Analytics has evolved to build in-house capabilities to support data management, a data warehouse, data discovery, collaboration, and a breadth of APIs all used to help support a combination of self-service users and embedded analytics use cases.  Zoho’s analytic platform is based on four key components:

  1. Data Preparation through Zoho DataPrep, which is Zoho’s self-service data preparation application to support data quality, enrichment, transformation, and data modeling capabilities. DataPrep uses machine learning to provide guidance on data enrichment and modeling
  2. Visualization: Zoho enhances traditional dashboarding, reporting, and charting capabilities by providing both access and integration to Zoho Sites, Zoho’s website and portal building product, and Zoho Show, which focuses on presentations. By providing the tools to present and publicly share data outputs, Zoho Analytics extends beyond the dashboard to provide standard access to the digital tools that are typically used to share information: presentations, meetings, intranets, and the internet.
  3. Augmented Analytics, where Zoho’s presentation of descriptive and predictive analytics is enhanced both by the Ask Zia conversational AI (which will be described later in this report) as well as by Zia Insights, which provides a conversational or natural language processing interface for asking questions about the data.
  4. Applications, where Zoho provides a low-code platform called Zoho Creator to build analytic applications that can then be shared through Zoho Marketplace to share either with internal or external customers.

As can be seen from this description, Zoho provides a number of applications in its business suite (including a recently released Zoho Contracts product focused on sourcing) that expand beyond analytics in providing a full business suite of applications for small and medium sized businesses.

Zoho Analytics includes native data management capabilities including data preparation, cleansing, integration, transformation, enrichment, and modeling. This combination of capabilities allows Zoho to keep data relevant over time and to ensure that data is aligned to business terminologies and taxonomies.

Zoho also has its own data warehouse used to model data for analytics. This data warehouse is native to Zoho and includes both in-memory and columnar services to accelerate access to data. Although Zoho typically targets the SMB market, this warehouse has been proven to scale to terabyte-sized data with billions of rows for clients that have needed to grow their analytic environments. This warehouse is currently only available as a part of Zoho Analytics and can be mapped to other cloud data warehouses such as Snowflake or Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) through metadata mapping.

Zoho Analytics works with Zoho’s applications, but also includes over 250 native integrations to other vendors used by its clients including HubSpot, Microsoft Dynamics, Quickbooks, Salesforce, ServiceNow, Shopify, and Xero with the understanding that some Zoho clients may use other applications as well. In creating these integrations, With these integrations, Zoho Analytics rivals many of its standalone providers, which is demonstrated by 60% of Zoho Analytics’ usage being associated with data outside of the Zoho One suite.

Zoho Analytics provides all of these services on its own cloud, Zoho Cloud, which has both GDPR and CCPA compliance. Based on customer demand, Zoho has also made Zoho Analytics available on-premises for specific geographies, markets, and use cases, which is an interesting departure from Zoho’s typical focus on cloud apps. Based on this combination of data management capabilities, Amalgam Insights considers Zoho Analytics to take a full-stack approach that allows companies to build an analytic environment solely within the Zoho ecosystem.

The pricing for a paid Zoho Analytics account starts at $24 per month as an entry point and can increase up to $455 per month to support up to 50 users, 50 million rows of data, and unlimited workspaces. Zoho Analytics can also be purchased as part of the Zoho One Suite, which brings almost all of Zoho’s applications into a single subscription which ranges from $37 to $105 per user per month depending on whether a company chooses to enroll every employee or seeks a more flexible model for bringing a portion of employees onto Zoho.

Zoho Analytics’ Support for modern analytic capabilites

All of Zoho Analytics’ capabilities across data management, integration, and analytic distribution help to scale the core capability of visualization and analysis. Amalgam Insights views these visualization and analytic capabilities to provide reports and dashboards to be on par with the current analytic market, but today’s market requires analytic companies to push forward to support natural language queries, collaboration, and machine learning. In this light, Amalgam Insights looked at Zoho Analytics’ capabilities across six areas: natural language processing, statistical and advanced analytics, collaboration, mobility, APIs, and future-facing roadmap.

Zoho has taken steps towards this next generation of analytic delivery through its Ask Zia capability. Zia serves as Zoho’s AI assistant. Initially launched in February 2017, Zia was originally designed to be a sales assistant for the Zoho CRM product to help provide reminders for contacting prospects and taking relevant actions at the right time. Since then, Zia has evolved into an assistant that understands natural language questions across multiple applications including the Analytics product. The word “questions” is used here rather than “query” because the inputs for Zoho’s Ask Zia are plain language questions and requests such as “show me the sales for last year” rather than a query-based text string such as “Search sum of sales amount where Year equals 2020.” Although the two phrases are semantically similar, the prior phrase is based on a standard use of language while the latter requires an understanding of querying logic that is not natural. With Ask Zia, Zoho Analytics is a conversational analytics solution that is capable of providing insights and results to any employee based on the language they use in their everyday workplace.

Business analytics solutions are also increasingly asked to support more statistical and advanced analytics capabilities to help more advanced data users understand probabilities, forecasting, data relationships, trending and regression analysis, seasonality and time-series relationships, and model choices to support optimal forecasting and root-cause analysis. Zoho Analytics first announced forecasting capabilities in November of 2018 and continues to increase support for relevant models to improve results for regression, exponential smoothing, and seasonality trend Loess decomposition.

From a consumption perspective, Zoho Analytics supports embedded analytics, web-based apps, as well as the ability to share linked data through collaboration platforms such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Zoho’s own Zoho Cliq. Zoho Analytics results can be embedded in webpages, shared as a permalink, placed into slideshows, and provided as public resources. Zoho Analytics also supports analytic storytelling through its slideshows, which work similarly to storyboards that exist in other analytics solutions and are used to present Zoho Analytics workspaces.

All of these analytic outputs are available through the Zoho Analytics mobile app, which is designed to emphasize the workspaces, dashboards, and reports created within Zoho Analytics. The app also supports exporting and commenting on analytic views as well.

From a programmatic perspective, Zoho Analytics functionalities are also available through an API which is accessed by a variety of other Zoho applications, such as Zoho CRM, Zoho Creator (a low-code application platform), Zoho Projects (project management), and Zoho Books (accounting) and can also be used to build add-on capabilities for third-party and custom-built applications. The API can be used with a variety of commonly used programming languages including Java, C#, Python, PHP, Go, and Google Applications through prebuilt “Client Libraries” created to support each language and includes a variety of interfaces to access data, modelling, metadata, collaboration, embedded analytics, and Single Sign-On integration. This API includes SQL access to Zoho Services data for those seeking query-based access to data, through what Zoho calls CloudSQL, which supports ANSI, Oracle, Microsoft SQL, IBM DB2, MySQL, PostgreSQL, and Informix-flavored SQL queries.

Amalgam Insights notes that Zoho Analytics has stated that future roadmap items for Zoho Analytics include further improvements in self-service analytics, data catalog, and the analytic formula engine to increase access to computational tools needed for advanced analytics. Self-service analytics has been a key goal for business intelligence over the past decade, driven by solutions such as Tableau and Qlik. Amalgam Insights considers self-service analytics to be an intermediate stage of analytics between the analyst-controlled reports and dashboards that defined the initial generation of analytic solutions and the current era of contextualized insight where analytic outputs are guided by natural language, pre-contextualized for users through role definitions and machine learning and augmented by a combination of human judgment and third-party data sources to guide business-relevant actions.

The data catalog is increasingly important as companies seek to contextualize data for machine learning and data science. By creating a catalog that effectively categorizes and indexes the relationships within relevant business data, businesses can be more prepared for the near-future where they use advanced algorithms and neural nets to support better decision-making and automate high-volume transactional judgment calls.

And Amalgam Insights believes that access to statistical tools, machine learning algorithms, and production-ready machine learning models will provide strategic advantages to the quantitatively savvy organizations that realize that behind the math are opportunities to improve organizational processes, increase business transaction volume and size, and proactively support customer issues.

Amalgam Insights’ Recommendations

Based on the pricing and new functionality of Zoho Analytics, Amalgam Insights recommends Zoho Analytics both as a starting point for using business intelligence and as a tool to bring together data across small and medium businesses that are starting to bring together a variety of applications and have outgrown their initial data organization strategies.

The variety of capabilities Zoho provides across prep, presentation, and application development also makes Zoho a useful and cost-effective augmentation for organizations have already invested in visualization, self-service analytics, and data discovery. In large organizations, where it is not uncommon to invest in multiple analytics and business intelligence products as long as they drive productivity, Amalgam Insights believes Zoho Analytics should also be considered as an end-to-end analytics solution that can quickly bring new data sources from prep to scalable, cloud-based app.

Posted on Leave a comment

July 9: From BI to AI (AnyVision, Google Cloud, IBM, Immuta, Obviously AI, Opaque)

If you would like your announcement to be included in Amalgam Insights’ weekly data and analytics roundups, please email


AnyVision Raises $235M from SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and Eldridge

AnyVision, a facial recognition AI company, has closed a $235M series C funding round led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 and Eldridge. Amit Lubovsky, director of SoftBank Investment Advisors, will join the board as part of the transaction. Funding will be directed towards further development of AnyVision’s Access Point AI software, as well as further innovation of its SDKs for edge computing functionality. AnyVision’s funding announcement comes at an interesting time for facial recognition startups; concerns around data privacy are subjecting companies creating and using facial recognition to growing scrutiny.

Obviously AI Increases Seed Round Funding to $4.7M

Obviously AI, a no-code AutoML startup, has raised an additional $1.1M from the University of Tokyo Edge Capital Partners, as well as Trail Mix Ventures and B-Capital. The funding will go towards extending Obviously AI to serve more use cases, as well as expanding Obviously AI’s presence in Asian markets. The concept of no-code AI model building is the unicorn everyone dipping into data science is seeking, but Obviously AI is currently limited to supervised learning use cases, and broadening their scope to cover unsupervised learning is the next … obvious step.

Opaque Raises $9.5 Million Seed to Unlock Encrypted Data with Machine Learning

Opaque, a secure data analytics platform, announced July 7 that it had raised a seed round of $9.5M led by Intel Capital. Race Capital, The House Fund, and FactoryHQ also participated in this round. Opaque lets companies analyze encrypted cloud-based data without exposing the data to the cloud provider. Funding will go towards Opaque’s open source contributions to the data security community.

Product Launches and Updates

Immuta Becomes First Data Access Control Solution for Snowflake Partner Connect

On July 7, Immuta, a cloud data control access provider, announced its availability in the Snowflake Partner Connect portal. Snowflake users will now be able to use Immuta to configure automated data access control around their data. The Immuta Snowflake integration launches as an Immuta instance preconfigured with a Snowflake user’s connection credentials, minimizing setup complexity and time needed.

Hiring and Departing

Google announces Adaire Fox-Martin as its new EMEA Cloud president

Google Cloud has appointed Adaire Fox-Martin as its new EMEA Cloud president. Fox-Martin moves over from a 14-year tenure at SAP, most recently as an Executive Board Member leading Global Customer Success. Prior to that, Fox-Martin spent nearly two decades at Oracle.

IBM’s Jim Whitehurst Says He’s Leaving to Find a New Chance to Run Something

Over the holiday weekend, IBM announced that Jim Whitehurst would be stepping down as president, though he would remain in an advisory role for the time being. In an interview this week with Barrons, Whitehurst acknowledged that his reasoning is that he wants to be a CEO again, and with the appointment of Arvind Krishna to that spot at IBM, his own chances of holding that position were unlikely. Whitehurst had come over to IBM with the Red Hat acquisition, having held the CEO position there since 2007.

Posted on Leave a comment

July 2: From BI to AI (Anaconda, Facebook, JetBrains, Tableau, TIBCO)

In anticipation of the long holiday weekend for Americans and Canadians, news was fairly light in the data world this week; most announcements were around updates and enhancements to existing products.

If you would like your announcement to be included in Amalgam Insights’ weekly data and analytics roundups, please email

Product Launches and Updates

Tableau Extends Augmented Analytics in Tableau 2021.2

On June 29, Tableau announced the release of Tableau 2021.2, with new and enhanced augmented analytics capabilities. “Ask Data,” a capability that allows users to ask business questions of their data using natural language, and “Explain Data,” a function that provides explanations of data points, both have new interfaces that enhance users’ understanding of their data. Other new features in Tableau 2021.2 include the ability to save clean data from Tableau Prep into Google BigQuery, and to implement machine learning models from Amazon SageMaker within Tableau dashboards.

TIBCO Spotfire 11.4 LTS Release

TIBCO announced the release of Spotfire 11.4 LTS on June 30. Key features in this release include the ability for nontechnical users to embed advanced analytics functions into Spotfire apps, and over a dozen new custom visualizations and apps available as “Spotfire Mods” on the TIBCO Exchange.

Anaconda Collaborates with Intel to Improve Speed and Scale for Machine Learning Workflows

Anaconda announced enhancements to its ongoing partnership with Intel, including better access to libraries and packages optimized for Intel hardware to enhance the performance of machine learning models. Of note, the Intel Extension for Scikit-learn is now available in Anaconda’s package repository; Anaconda says models built using the extension run 27-36x faster than models based on the baseline Scikit-learn.

JetBrains: Announcing Datalore Enterprise

On June 29, JetBrains announced the availability of Datalore Enterprise, an on-premises collaborative version of their single-user cloud-based data science platform. Datalore Enterprise will provide JetBrains collaboration tools atop Jupyter Notebooks, along with existing features of Datalore such as PyCharm coding assistance tools.

Facebook AI Announces Habitat 2.0, plus Introducing the Habitat-Matterport 3D research data set

Finally, Facebook AI announced the latest version of their Habitat platform (Habitat 2.0), a simulation platform that lets AI researchers teach machines to navigate and interact with both virtual and physical 3D environments. Improvements include ReplicaCAD, an extension of Facebook’s Replica data set, built to support movement and object manipulation as a digital twin, In collaboration with Matterport, Facebook AI also published HM3D, an open-source licensed data set consisting of over 1,000 indoor 3D scans. (This last year, prospective property buyers couldn’t go to open houses, but they could at least investigate a given property’s digital twin, and Matterport supplied a number of these virtual house tours for property listings.) Future AI-enhanced assistants and robots will need to interact with complex 3D environments; advancing “embodied” AI will be a top priority in order to build such assistants. Suggested scenarios include asking one’s AI-enhanced glasses where your housekeys were last observed, or asking a robot to check your desk for your laptop and if it’s there, to bring it to you.