Why we never look at our competitors
People often ask me, what's the difference between Yellowfin and our competitors? The truth is I try not to look at what our competitors are doing. That’s because we focus on different end-users to our competitors.
Innovation for the product user
Yellowfin focuses on and thinks about the business users who are the people who consume data and take action in an organization. Yet many of our competitors focus on the data analyst. The data analyst is important because they create content but they're not the reason Yellowfin exists.
When we think about our product, we think about how we can make the business user really engaged with their data, then act on it and share it. From an organization's perspective, they’ll get value from Yellowfin if their business users really embrace data, build a data culture and become data-led. That’s our vision and it’s what gets me up in the morning.
You can see the result of this in our product. We're the first and only vendor to bring Signals to market. This product completely automated how businesses analyze data and got those signals into the hands of business users immediately. No one else does this because you don’t need to if you’ve got a data analyst. A data analyst can go and analyze data to their heart's content. As many of our competitors are analyst-centric, they worry about automating the job of the data analyst because they’re the primary buyer for their product. This gives them less incentive to look at things like automation.
This approach has influenced how we built our platform. We believed wholeheartedly from the outset that a metadata layer was critical to delivering self-service analytics and automation. Now the concept of a metadata layer with analytics was very much frowned upon by some analysts several years ago. But rather than trying to remove it from our product, we looked at how we could add value and make it even more important. That decision drove our competitive streak and has made us as an organization - it’s the reason we have Signals now.
Because many of our competitors don't have a metadata layer, they're now finding automation challenging. They can do automated profiling of data but that's a bit ho-hum compared to something like Signals. Their automation is also designed to support data analysts not replace them. Whereas Yellowfin has looked at how it can replace the data analyst for some tasks, so we're very different.
Another feature that demonstrates our difference is data storytelling. When a business user sees data, the first thing they try to do is start to explain it. No other vendor provides a platform for a business user to actually tell you what the data means, what happened, why it happened and the context around it. Stories is very much focused on the business user experience.
Collaborate across the business
Collaboration is another area we’ve been passionate about since day one. It’s been a driving force because we believe it’s something that the business user wants. When they see data they want to engage with people in their organization. Collaboration is about all those little nuanced ways in which people talk about and share data. Things change and you want to see what's changing and collaborate with people about it. That's what we care about so we're the only vendor to have this concept of a timeline.
Data analysts don't really need to collaborate so there’s no reason why our competitors would build those features into their product. If the business user is not the heart and soul of who you build for then you're not going to add collaboration, or you’ll only do it in a very simplistic level so you can tick a box and say you’ve done it.
We don't keep looking sideways at the competition
What it comes down to for us as a software vendor, is that we have to look at our business from our own perspective. At Yellowfin, we’ve thought about what problem we’re trying to solve, what market we want to be in and what we want to focus on - and that’s the business user. It's that focus on the business user that really drives our product and really differentiates us from our competitors.