Tuesday, October 27

LucidEra a casualty of poor design

The rumors could be more than rumors for the SaaS BI company that focused on analytics for Salesforce.com. LucidEra used a variety of open source BI software to address a market need. People wanted SaaS BI and were paying for it. So what was the problem?

If you haven't heard, the rumor is that LucidEra is no longer in business.

I want to say rumor until someone from the company verifies it. However I've heard from a couple sources now, which is good enough for me to publish this post. Plus their blog is down. Some Salesforce.com customers are looking for BI vendors again. And senior executives have moved onto other companies.

What went wrong?

Rumor #1: LucidEra had more servers than NetSuite!

One advantage that SaaS should bring to the table is ease of scalability. Without that you're just on-premise software in someone else's data center adding servers for new customers. SaaS architecture needs to have automated scalability.

Rumor #2: Not a multi-tenant architecture.

A few things could have taken them away from a pure multi-tenant architecture. The open source BI software, like Mondrian, may not have lended itself well to multi-tenancy. (Maybe someone technically savvy could verify or refute this?) Another issue can be the data model design. Replicating data models for each new customer isn't multi-tenancy. I'm not sure why or where LucidEra moved away from a pure SaaS model. But that's what I'm hearing.

Rumor #3: Customers loved them and their product.

If you want to please your customers, find out how LucidEra did their sales and customer support. They are an example of how a SaaS business needs excellent sales and customer support AND savvy engineers and architects.

At least this casualty wasn't because of the economy or so the rumors go.

10 comments:

Joseph A di Paolantonio said...

Tom, it's not a rumour, LucidEra shuttered in June. Also, they were never multitenant, they never tried to be. It certainly wasn't Mondrian's problem. Check out Pentaho 3.5 support for cloud computing.

Speaking of Pentaho, they bought LucidEra's OLAP front end (Clearview). Also, Nick Goodman just announced that he has purchased the commercial distribution rights to LucidDB (née Broadbase) and has started Dynamo Business Intelligence, Inc. to provide support and, eventually, a commercially licensed version, DynamoDB. LucidEra had bought the rights to Broadbase's column-store DBMS and released it under GPLv2 to the Eigenbase organization as LucidDB.

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Centius said...

Great article! Lucidera represents an example of a good idea that did not succeed due to timing and less optimal planning. It is only a matter of time before we see a successful Business Intelligence as a Service (BIaas). One mistake Lucidera did was to build a solution on open source technology vs. developing their own proprietary infrastructure.

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