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Also posted on: The IM Blog
This is the second article of two about Zizo. In the first (see here) I discussed the company’s use of a pattern database as its secret sauce behind the analytics as a service that the company provides. In this article I want to focus on the analytics.
There are two ways that you can access the database. You can use SQL-based tools if you want to, for which Zizo provides ODBC-based connectivity (which is also used for retrieving data from third party databases). Or you can use Zizo’s Pathway. Pathway is a computationally complete development language presented to the user via a graphical user interface whereby you drag and drop objects onto a canvas. It is based on the Lucid language, hence the computationally complete statement, meaning that if computation is theoretically possible then it is actually possible in the tool.
Pathway is used for a variety of purposes, staring with data integration, transformation, data cleansing, enrichment and so forth. When loading data into Zizo it can be used not just with relational and NoSQL databases as sources, but also files, Excel spreadsheets and so on. However, Pathway is not limited to data management tasks but may also be used to create data flows that form the basis for complex queries that address the Zizo pattern database. What Pathway does not have are the front-end capabilities that you would expect from a product such as Tableau or Yellowfin, so it is likely that you will want to use your visualisation tool of choice for this purpose.
That said, Zizo has built a number of pre-canned dashboards for particular industries. For example, in the retail sector store optimisation and merchandising are available while for logistics companies it has built capabilities for ABC analyses, parcel delivery and so on. The company is also active in a number of other sectors, ranging from media (the BBC is a customer) to defence establishments.
While I have described Zizo as offering analytics as a service, and it is certainly true that implementations are typically within a managed cloud environment, I should add that on-premises deployments are also possible.
Finally, it is worth commenting on Zizo’s go to market positioning. Its avowed intention is to provide enterprise class analytics to SMEs. This is laudable. Smaller companies have just as acute business intelligence and analytics requirements as large companies but they can’t afford the expensive solutions that are typically offered by other vendors. Zizo, on the other hand, is very competitively priced so that its affordable at the lower end of the market. Of course, this also makes it attractive for larger customers and, in practice, the company has a number of enterprise class clients. I guess that’s the price of success.