Podium Data

Founded in 2014, Podium Data is redefining enterprise data management with its practical, high performance data lake management platform, Podium.  Leveraging proven big data technologies, Podium software provides secure, self-service access to business-ready data, dramatically improving an organization's ability to manage, act and innovate. Instead of analysts spending 80% of their time finding, cleaning and preparing data, Podium automatically converts, validates and profiles legacy and external data sources into a consistent format and structure on Hadoop, including mainframe data sets. Through its intuitive interface, analysts and developers can quickly find, understand and create new data without any Hadoop expertise. Rigorous access controls and fine-grained encryption protect sensitive data and ensure governance policies are enforced.


Eight Questions with Podium Data

1. Can you tell us a little bit about Podium Data and your activities in the Analytics field to date?

Podium Data is a software company whose product, Podium, uses big data technology to address a critical success factor for analytics: getting data ready for analysis. By focusing on this, rather than better algorithms or visualizations, Podium delivers significant business value in three ways:

  1. Time to Answer - most businesses lack the critical and fundamental data they need to make timely and informed decisions.  For most businesses it is not uncommon for TTA to be measured in months.  With Podium, our customers measure TTA in minutes.
  2. Costs - An enterprise data management environment today costs tens of millions of dollars with infrastructure, software, consulting, labor, and maintenance. Podium Data has extended the power and economics of Hadoop with its Podium managed data lake, shattering today's costly and ineffective data management equation. 
  3. Confidence - More than ever businesses need to trust the security and quality of their data.  Undetected data inaccuracies and incompleteness can produce misleading results. Delivering bad data faster is dangerous. Ensuring analysts are using the right data source for an analysis is paramount. Confidence in security and protection of the data is critical to enable self-service. Confidence has many dimensions and Podium addresses all of them. 

Podium is the first data lake management platform delivering a comprehensive end-to-end solution that manages enterprise data from initial capture through preparation and delivery. Deployments at production customers have produced up to 75% saving in data management costs and reduced time-to-answer from months to days and from weeks to minutes. This acceleration is not just technology, but a new paradigm for how businesses source, manage and prepare data for business use. Even at this early stage, Podium Data has been awarded the 2015 Big Data Innovative Technology of the Year by MassTLC, one of twelve finalists in the StartUp Showcase at Strata and Hadoop World 2015 in NYC and profiled in a case study by Harvard Business School.

Our customers are primarily large, traditional Fortune 500 companies in financial services, media, and pharmaceutical industries with sponsorship across departments, including sales, marketing, data, IT, risk management, compliance and finance. Chief Analytics Officers are among our customers, who believe that Podium’s secure, self service access to enterprise data is essential to their success. From media to pharmaceuticals, our sponsors and beneficiaries of a Podium managed data lake are often the analytical community.

2. WHAT INSPIRED THE FOUNDERS TO CREATE PODIUM?

Our mission is to provide secure, self-service access to data that propels our customers forward. The five Podium founders are senior, seasoned entrepreneurs with deep roots in the days of building custom data marts and data warehouses working with large organizations such as Wells Fargo and Citi Group.  Our DNA is and has been focused on harnessing the value of data as a critical company asset. We embedded in Podium decades of experience working with complex data (i.e., JP Morgan, Travelers, American Express, Staples) housed in messy mainframe files and COBOL formats.  Harvard Business School became fascinated with our story and developed a case study about the impact of a veteran team on creating a next generation software product.  

As a team, we recognized the opportunity to leverage proven Big Data technologies to extend the benefit of the low cost, powerful processing capabilities of Hadoop to a broader group of companies. These target companies could not afford to bring in dozens of Hadoop programmers.  We were inspired to leverage Big Data technologies to create a practical, cost-effective solution for this new tier of companies delivering secure self-service to enterprise data accelerating time to answer, displacing millions in costs and addressing the fundamental issue that most solutions ignore: data quality. We bring a unique perspective to the Big Data buzz as we understand that the real issue is delivering trusted data: data that has been cleansed, validated, and profiled -- automatically. The end solution in the form of Podium is really who we are: practical, proven and committed to real results.

3. There are many analytics service providers in the marketplace. What is unique about Podium Data and its offerings?

We are not an analytics service provider. Podium is a platform that dramatically improves the most time-consuming part of analysis: data preparation. Today it is commonly quoted that analysts spend 80% of their time finding, preparing and cleaning the data they need to do their job. Podium automates data preparation and cleaning, and manages a comprehensive repository of business-ready data.  Using Podium’s intuitive graphical interface, analysts have secure self-service access to easily shop for the right data and prepare it for their needs.

Instead of competing with analytic service providers, Podium is the fuel source powering the analytical tools with the data that has been ingested, profiled and prepared, enabling timely and insightful analysis. Podium seamlessly provisions data to analytical and BI tools. Data is refreshed based on the business' needs to promote timely and accurate analysis. 

4. What are your thoughts on the emergence and growing importance of the Chief Analytics Officer?

The emergence of the CAO is a response to companies choosing to compete on analytics.   In discussions with Podium customers, analytic leaders in pharma, retail, banking and insurance are tasked with understanding and optimizing their business processes, multi-channel go-to-market, and even monetizing information assets.  They view their data as a critical, valuable company asset that they have under-leveraged these for competitive advantage. The rise of the Chief Analytics Officer is a logical progression of organization's realizing the value of converting these assets into results and creating an organizational structure to best lead this effort for the benefit of the enterprise.  We believe this is one of the most untapped opportunities for companies to generate organic growth and a sustainable competitive advantage by tapping into these unique assets.

5. In your opinion, what are the key challenges Chief Analytics Officers across the enterprise currently face?

Most CAO’s report to the business (risk, marketing, finance, etc.) instead of IT, and they face a significant challenge getting access to data in a timely way.  They would like a self-service platform where their analysts can get access to trusted data in secure manner, and where they can publish insights and metrics directly to other business users and management.

There is also frustration with business adoption of proven analytics; one CAO told me (head in hands) that their recommendation algorithm measurably increases sales, but he can’t get most sales people to act on prioritized leads.  Successful adoption requires spending some of the cost-savings of Hadoop on change management efforts.

6. Are you seeing some specific trends/behaviors developing as a result of this?

Some CAO’s are building “shadow” data and analytics environments; the risk is that these numbers may not tie to operational data since they are not the same.  In turn, this can undermine the confidence management has in the analysis and/or operations, and position the CAO and operations as adversaries.

7. On to the CAO Summit: As a sponsor, what are you most excited about?

The concentration of senior, experience analytical leadership in one place foments really high-value discussions, and exposes best practices for analytical excellence in leading companies.   We hope that Podium’s capabilities resonate with this community, and are excited to get their feedback. It truly is an honor to be part of this event.

8. The theme for this year’s CAO Summit is “Advancing Analytics” with a focus on Analytical Maturity across the enterprise. When you hear the term “Analytical Maturity”, what does that mean to you?

The analytic maturity of an organization is the degree to which analytics are leveraged to produce outstanding business performance. The core ingredients include analytic skills; information and insight-enabled business processes and systems; data that is readily available in a secure, self-serve environment; metrics-driven performance management; and agile development processes to rapidly respond and act on insights.