Five minutes with: Jeremy Levy, CEO of Indicative

What are your biggest opportunities & challenges for next 12-24 months?

There has been a major secular shift in the way enterprises use business intelligence and analytics tools usage lately, which has presented many opportunities for us. The growing consumerization of IT means that enterprises now expect software to be highly accessible to non-technical business users, and for these users to be able to self-serve. That coupled with the rapid growth of cloud tool adoption has meant that businesses are more open to turning to new self-service tools like Indicative for data analysis.

Some of the challenges we are face are that the space has become much more competitive lately–there are dozens of vendors in the general business intelligence space, and it can be hard for customers to understand the true differentiators.

What keeps your clients up at night?

Our clients are most concerned with missing important potential opportunities and insights that are sitting right under their noses. Businesses that are collecting lots of data, but lack the proper analytical tools for their whole organization means overlooking potential insights, opportunities, and risks on a daily basis. In the same vein, many of them have made major investments in data collection and are now drowning in data – they need help in enabling those on the front lines to be able to make sense of it vs depending on a central insights group.

What’s the hardest thing to educate clients about?

The biggest hurdle we’ve faced is redefining how they think about data. Lots of legacy tools and vendors have created bad habits and narrow thinking about how data should be collected and structured, and it’s been a challenge to pull them out of that mentality.

Another thing we’ve worked hard to show our clients is that the actual software implementation isn’t the hard part. The real challenge is actually thinking about what should be analyzed and how, versus just throwing a bunch of data in a data warehouse.

What are some unmet needs in the marketing technology landscape?   

One place we see a lot of room for improvement is in building tools for non-technical users. The majority of people who can benefit from data analytics tools are in roles like marketing, product management ,and operations – and they don’t write code, use SQL, or know statistical languages like SAS or R. Abstracting away complexity without dumbing down the tools are a major challenge, and something we’ve been focused on since day one.

Another thing we feel the marketplace lacks is a tool that automatically surfaces relevant insights using data science techniques.  Imagine a Siri or Google Now for analytics that tells you anomalies or areas you should drill into further.  There’s a huge opportunity for tools that combine human and machine interaction–with the machine automatically helping point the human in the right direction for further analysis, versus relying 100 percent on the human guiding the machine.

What social network do you anticipate accelerating growth in the next year?

I’m really bullish on Twitter – I think with the announcement of Project Lightning and the shakeup in leadership that all the great ideas that are bubbling around around there are going to come to fruition. They have a major opportunity to be the single place for real-time conversation and interaction and to cross the Rubicon into a “tool that your parents and grandparents use too.”–just like Facebook was able to do 4 or 5 years ago.

–Jeremy Levy is CEO of Indicative. Previously, he co-founded Xtify (sold to IBM) and Meetmoi (sold to
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