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Kalido Brings BI to the Mid-Market Masses

Somewhere between helping companies more easily retrieve long-buried data and seeing its vendors get snapped up by tech giants, business intelligence (BI) technology got expensive...and complicated. Kalido and its partners are out to take BI back, in part by moving it online.

"It's been very difficult for companies to get enterprise-wide adoption of BI tools because the infrastructure required to support them is very heavy," said Bill Hewitt, Kalido president and CEO, in a phone chat with RCPU this week. Hewitt was referring specifically to business intelligence applications from Business Objects and Cognos, the two main market players, which were recently snapped up by software titans SAP and IBM, respectively.

"The cost of implementing Business Objects and Cognos is cost-prohibitive. SAP and IBM make it clear that you need to buy their apps," Hewitt said.

Even before the mega-vendors picked the BI market nearly clean, BI technology -- which basically lets companies easily find and manipulate critical business information from multiple sources, especially databases -- had become too big and expensive for mid-market companies. Apps that were meant to simplify life suddenly had implementation schedules that ran for months (or years) and costs with a lot of zeroes before the decimal point.

So Kalido is stepping in with an offering intended for mid-size companies -- and hosted and managed by partners. It's BI in the cloud, with a monthly subscription fee and outsourced management for customers rather than a huge start-up cost and an overworked IT staff. Oh, and that means a recurring revenue stream from subscriptions for partners. Kalido's offering starts at $5,000 per month priced to the reseller -- which can then charge as it sees fit for management and services.

"We take the data from the source system to the BI tool with a business-driven, fully automated engine," Hewitt said. "There's no manual coding. The result is far fewer people are needed to maintain the environment. If you take BO and Cognos as the best examples, they are the traditional BI stack. Those products need to be integrated by the customer. Customers need to know infrastructure pieces for SAP and IBM. You can get infrastructure up and running in 90 days with our approach."

Kalido's partner-hosted offering will actually integrate with both BO and Cognos apps -- or it'll work with Microsoft Excel, which Hewitt called "the most popular reporting tool on the planet." It also simplifies reports -- one company moved from using 5,000 reports to using just 1,800. The key, Hewitt said, is to take the burden of BI management off of IT people and create a more useful business context for the technology -- putting control over reporting in the hands of users rather than in the hands of IT folks.

"They manage the environment, but IT people don't understand a context of the way info is used," he said. "When business users take accountability for what they want to see, they end up getting what they want."

There's more about Kalido's hosted offering here.

This was just one of those technology offerings we found interesting enough to feature in RCPU. If you've got something you think is cool, unique or especially useful, feel free to drop us a line at lpender@rcpmag.com.

Posted by Lee Pender on 10/01/2008 at 1:22 PM


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