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ThoughtSpot, Azure alliance boosts BI capabilities of both

A new strategic partnership between ThoughtSpot and Microsoft Azure unveiled on Feb. 11 includes joint product development plans in addition to enhanced connective capabilities.

ThoughtSpot unveiled a new strategic partnership with Microsoft Azure on Feb. 11 that will enable the BI vendor's cloud customers to quickly and easily connect to their data in the software giant's cloud data warehouse.

In addition to the enhanced connection between ThoughtSpot Cloud -- a SaaS version of the vendor's enterprise BI platform -- and Azure Synapse, under the terms of the partnership ThoughtSpot is now available for purchase in the Azure Marketplace, ThoughtSpot and Microsoft have plans to develop new products together and the vendors have a joint go-to-market strategy.

The partnership between ThoughtSpot, founded in 2012 and based in Sunnyvale, Calif., is similar to one Microsoft unveiled in 2020 with SAS that includes product integrations, co-development plans and a joint go-to-market strategy. That partnership recently resulted in a new integration between Viya, SAS' cloud-native analytics platform, and Azure.

While not unlike other partnership agreements, however, the alliance between ThoughtSpot and Microsoft demonstrates the BI and analytics market's esteem for ThoughtSpot despite the relative youth of the company, according to Donald Farmer, principal of TreeHive Strategy.

"This is pretty interesting for ThoughtSpot, but I don't think it's dramatic," he said. "It's ThoughtSpot hosting on the Azure platform and getting a bit of love from Microsoft for that, but there's perhaps one thing worth taking note of, which is that ThoughtSpot is getting a lot of attention as a rapidly growing and very effective analytics solution."

A sample dashboard from ThoughtSpot displays an organization's sales data.
An organization's sales data is displayed on a sample dashboard from ThoughtSpot.

He added that the ThoughtSpot BI platform, which was at the forefront of augmented intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) adoption when it was first released in 2014, is among the more innovative.

"ThoughtSpot is on a roll," Farmer said. "They hope to be the next big IPO. They're getting a lot of attention ... from other vendors that are continually positioning themselves [relative to] them. In many ways, the business intelligence conversation today is oriented around ThoughtSpot and people setting themselves up in opposition to ThoughtSpot or as a complement to ThoughtSpot."

And it's the complementary nature of the ThoughtSpot BI platform that makes it a logical partner for Microsoft -- which offers Power BI, its own BI tool -- rather than a direct competitor.

ThoughtSpot is getting a lot of attention as a rapidly growing and very effective analytics solution.
Donald FarmerPrincipal, TreeHive Strategy

Just as SAS has the potential to add hardcore data science capabilities for Microsoft's BI users, ThoughtSpot adds its AI and ML capabilities along with the search-based nature of its platform.

Meanwhile, Farmer said many ThoughtSpot customers don't use the platform as their only BI tool but rather alongside those from other vendors. ThoughtSpot users, therefore, can benefit from the cloud capabilities of Azure Synapse while the vendor itself stands to benefit from its exposure in the Azure Marketplace.

"I think what you're seeing here is a recognition from Microsoft that ThoughtSpot is not a threat to Power BI but is a very useful additional analytic tool that can take advantage of the rich data capabilities on the Azure platform," Farmer said. "ThoughtSpot provides business users a capability which will greatly complement the power and richness of data that can be hosted in the Azure Synapse platform."

Beyond the enhanced connection with Azure and joint plans for product development and go-to-market strategies, ThoughtSpot's partnership with Microsoft is further evidence of the BI vendor's recent focus on enhancing its cloud capabilities.

While at the forefront of AI and ML innovation, ThoughtSpot's platform was targeted toward on-premises users when it was first released.

As a result, the vendor has spent much of the last year overhauling its suite to serve customers in the cloud, introducing ThoughtSpot Cloud in September 2020 and following that up with the release of ThoughtSpot One, which enables the vendor's cloud-based users to easily search and share their data assets, in December 2020.

As it expands its cloud capabilities, ThoughtSpot now has an extensive partnership agreement with Snowflake in addition to Microsoft, while also partnering with AWS and Google Cloud to enable customers to deploy in the cloud of their choice.

Next Steps

ThoughtSpot sells $20 million equity stake to Snowflake

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