Gartner’s 2010 top technologies list is out and, as expected, cloud computing is at the top. I say “as expected” because in the last few months we and several of our SaaS portfolio companies, e.g., Host Analytics, Pivotlink, Qualys, Tricipher, have noticed that Gartner analysts are being more receptive to cloud-based solutions and even recommend SaaS applications to their customers. What I, at least, didn’t expect was to see analytics, or “advanced analytics” as Gartner calls it, to be second in that list. For years Gartner preferred to focus on business intelligence (data warehousing, reporting, OLAP), which was second in last year’s list, but viewed analytics as some more nichey.
By “advanced analytics” Gartner refers to analytic applications that can effectively and efficiently extract information from the new types of data of the mega data sets being generated. Gartner’s recognition of the need for advanced analytics and analytic applications is consistent with recent presentations on cloud-based analytic applications being developed by drug companies such as Eli Lilly particularly around the area of drug discovery, as well as what we heard at the Hadoop Summit where companies, such as IBM, Visa, and Visible Technologies, described their efforts around Hadoop and MapReduce to analyze large data sets.
For some time now I’ve been thinking about new SaaS-based analytic applications I find intriguing and exciting enough to want to invest. Not surprisingly these are vertical applications. There already exist plenty of horizontal applications for CRM, ERP, BI, etc. Here is my list:
- Healthcare. Disease management and patient care, healthcare provider analytics including patient cost and revenue analysis, Electronic Medical Record analytics, drug discovery.
- Cleantech/environment. Energy grid management (making the grid smarter and more efficient), climate analytics, green data center analytics, natural resource (e.g., water) management.
- E-commerce. Social commerce analytics, keyword bid management and optimization, channel optimization, campaign management applications integrating SEM/SEO, applications for branded response and continuity program marketing.
- Online advertising. Applications for referral marketing, new media analytic applications (including mobile application analytics, streaming media analytics, new forms of web analytics), analytics for ad networks.
All these application areas are characterized by very large data sets of structured and unstructured data generated continuously, where information has to be formulated and consumed in a timely manner because its relevance expires quickly. I look forward to receiving your feedback on these analytic application ideas as well as other ideas that need to be added to the list above.