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Ted Cuzzillo's BI

Ted Cuzzillo

Lyzasoft says "power to the people" with free version

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It was International Workers' Day on Saturday and the official release day of Lyzasoft's latest product: its foray into "free." It's a good way to say "power to the people."

Some people associate that slogan with protests and even violence. But I think the best paths to power usually involve well-analyzed data, whether in public life or at work. Now the Little Guy has a potent new tool to deploy.

Lyzasoft founder Scott Davis calls Lyza on Lyza Commons "the YouTube of data." This fully functional cloud-based version of Lyza is a strong tool for office-based, home-based, cubbyhole-based, dorm-based, or public library wifi-based users and groups. Import your data from whatever sources you have, refine it, share it with to whomever you like, and even charge toll over Paypal if you want to.

"Obviously," Scott says, "what we're doing is saying, 'This thing can scale.' But instead of going for the uber-enterprise as our leading play, we're saying that what's unique about this technology is it can make it to everybody within a small and medium business without having to have a big IT team around."

Lyzasoft's second, paid tier serves customers who need private clouds. That version starts at "small" for $150 a month, seating up to 10 users and providing "plenty" of storage. Go upward through "medium" and into "large," and you pay $2500 a month for up to 200 users.

Wait, you say. You've heard this "YouTube of data" thing before. Yes, just three months ago another YouTube of data launched, Tableau Public. (I wrote about it here.) Tableau, Lyza, and YouTube itself all say "power to the people" by popularizing a medium with free, easy-to-use tools and a venue. Each one's growing crowd of Little Guys and their audiences turns into a movement that the those in executive suites can't help but notice. At some point, YouTube and those who follow its model hope that "free" leads enough customers to "ka-ching" to yield a profit.

YouTube seems to be well on the way. Its ready-to-roll movie theater had fired the imaginations in a waiting mob. These filmmakers-to-be had been trained over years of TV and movies to understand film and crave a chance to do their own.

Is there a waiting mob of would-be data analysts? One pioneer of free analytics is skeptical. LucidEra founder Ken Rudin, now vice president of analytics at Zynga, says you need more than free tools, no matter how easy the tools are to use. Founder of the late LucidEra Ken Rudin says, "Tools are only as valuable as the questions you ask." One of his biggest hurdles was getting customers to appreciate the possibilities of analytics.

But the YouTube idea is more than tools. It's a game and a self-reinforcing mob. The tiny films YouTube users make don't just play as if on a jukebox, they're scored, they're answered, and commented on. It's like the difference between voting in a little booth and going out on a street march. It reinforces and stimulates. Unlike most business environments, it asks people to play, which is how Lyza Commons and Tableau Public users will break out into creative and incisive data analysis.

I also hope there's a new supply of analysts. Ken Rudin and others are hungry for them. (In fact, if you're a data analyst and you want to work with cutting-edge technology and data in one of the world's largest databases, email Ken today at krudin@zynga.com.)

Power to the data analysts!

In this blog, freelance writer and analyst Ted Cuzzillo considers the far end of business intelligence, where technology meets the irregular human profile. With original reporting and analysis, he writes about data analysis and the analysts themselves, as well as a range of other concerns such as perceptions, terminology and personalities.

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