Analyst Coverage: Philip Howard
Unifi Software was founded in 2013 and raised $4.45m in seed funding in late 2014 followed by $10m in Series A funding from Pelion Venture Partners (an early-stage venture capital firm) in September 2015. The company, which is based in San Mateo, California released its eponymous product in 2015.
Last Updated: 24th November 2016
Unifi describes itself as providing self-service data integration for business users. In practice, the audience it is catering to is business analysts and citizen data scientists rather than data integration in a traditional sense. You would not, for example, use Unifi to help you to migrate from SQL Server to DB2. That said, the company's thesis is that there are six degrees of integration required in order to support self-service (that is, being able to integrate data without reliance on IT). These six degrees are: acquire, discover, cleanse or enrich, normalise, transform and visualise.
What this means in practical terms is that Unifi provides both data cataloguing and data preparation. Data cataloguing allows you to (automatically) trawl through your data lake to discover what resources you have, collect metadata about these, and then create a searchable catalogue of that data. And now that you know what data you have available to you, you can prepare the data ready for analysis.
Unifi primarily uses a direct sales model though it has a couple of systems integrators as partners. More importantly the product is being resold by Trillium Software in two versions. Trillium Prepare is simply a white-labelled version of Unifi while Trillium Refine allows you to embed Trillium data quality processes into Unifi workflows. These are marketed under the brand of Trillium Big Data. Given Trillium's worldwide presence this partnership is likely to have a significant effect on Unifi's overall success.
As of writing the company has 25 paying customers including; Disney, Nike, Visa, Diageo, OneAZ, Essentra, Sabre, Boston Bio Medical, and AT Kearney. 90% of the customer base is in North America with 10% in Europe. Unifi is expanding their customer footprint in Europe and will announce new European customers in early 2017.
Unifi is one of only two companies that we are aware of that has set out from the beginning to deliver both data cataloguing and data preparation capabilities and which includes exactly the sorts of capabilities you would expect in both areas. It is built natively on Hadoop (the company partners with all the leading vendors: Cloudera, HortonWorks and MapR) and dynamically leverages either or both of MapReduce Hive and or Spark depending on the nature of the transform job. It is targeted at both business analysts and data scientists with the ability to call various statistical algorithms from the product's Expression Builder.
While you could argue about the individual features of the product there is no question that it has the broadest range of capabilities. Unifi also provides overall IT management of the platform that ensures the IT organisation maintains control over, and user access to, data sources and Hadoop resources.
Unifi can be deployed on premise, in the cloud and operate in a hybrid environment. The platform has been designed to scale to enterprise-levels and keep IT in charge of data governance and security, assigning access to individual users at a data set level and even down to an individual attribute level. Comprehensive operationalization tools such as workflow and job scheduling so that repetitive tasks can be managed by IT.
Unifi also partners with many of the leading business intelligence vendors.
Unifi provides the sort of training, consulting services and support, that you would expect.