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Logi Analytics guided by a rigorous goal

Guided by the desire to enable developers to create applications, embedded BI vendor Logi Analytics recently updated its platform and expanded its resources via M&A activity.

One concept guides just about everything Logi Analytics does, including its recent product development and its decisions to both be acquired and make an acquisition: enabling product managers and developers to build effective applications.

"That's a journey and not an end you ever fully reach," said Kevin Greene, Logi's general manager. "But to understand our roadmap, you have to understand our vision for Logi."

And it's that sole focus on application development that Logi hopes differentiates it from other vendors in the analytics industry.

"We want to put as much water as possible between us and all the other vendors as it pertains to empowering software teams," added Greene, a former swimmer at the University of Virginia.

Platform improvements

Logi Analytics, founded in 2000 and based in McLean, Va., specializes in providing tools that enable developers to build and embed analytics applications.

In June 2020, the vendor released Logi Composer, a cache of tools that then CEO Steven Schneider said represented the culmination of more than seven years of work and was the most significant product release in Logi's history.

Composer is a cloud-ready suite built with a microservices architecture. It comes with data connectors that enable fast access to data, and developers can customize and embed data visualizations and self-service features tailored to the skill level of their organizations' end users.

In May, Logi released a new version of Composer -- Logi Composer 6 -- adding more self-service capabilities and new enterprise-grade security, among other key features.

Logi Analytics sample dashboard
An organization's event sales data is displayed on a sample Logi Analytics dashboard.

By enabling users to build analytics assets without requiring them to write code, the additional self-service capabilities let users of all skill levels to develop dashboards and personalize their experience.

The new security measures, meanwhile, include security controls for rows and columns, while still simplifying collaboration by providing object-level security for dashboards and other analytics assets that require control data access and permissions to use.

"We continue to invest in giving development teams ultimate control over the content that they're embedding into their applications," said Charles Caldwell, Logi's vice president of product management. "They're really looking for a unified user experience. We're also offering a much lower level of configuration so non-developers are able to achieve a lot of what developers are able to achieve."

With respect to enabling more self-service, Caldwell added that Logi is attempting to strike a balance between adding more extensive capabilities for trained application developers, while simultaneously enabling non-trained users to get as much out of Logi's analytics capabilities as possible.

And given that many people continue to work remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, enabling autonomy is critical.

"What we need to do to support a distributed workforce is enable users to find as many answers on their own as possible and be able to take answers that others have found and extend them," Caldwell said.

We want to put as much water as possible between us and all the other vendors as it pertains to empowering software teams.
Kevin GreeneGeneral manager, Logi Analytics

Greene, meanwhile, noted the acceleration of digital transformation forced by the pandemic has resulted in increased demand for application development. With developers' skills in high demand and developers themselves as busy as they've ever been, by enabling non-trained users with self-service capabilities, developers are freed up to do more of the work that takes their specialized skills.

Despite adding more self-service capabilities and increased security measures, the Composer update had additive capabilities rather than innovative ones, according to Donald Farmer, founder and principal of TreeHive Strategy.

Taken in total, the release, which came during a time when Logi had a lot going on in terms of mergers and acquisitions (M&A), wasn't as significant as the initial release of Composer. Nevertheless, it included capabilities that will better enable users to build applications and work with data, he said.

"I think it's an incremental release with some very good stuff for people who are already using Logi," Farmer said. "There's some nice stuff in there for existing users."

Acquisition activity

The May release of Logi Composer 6 came about six weeks after Logi was acquired by ERP vendor InsightSoftware and five weeks after Logi acquired embedded analytics vendor Izenda.

Financial terms of both deals were undisclosed. Meanwhile, both deals fit into Logi's goal of providing tools to build applications.

By joining forces with InsightSoftware, founded in 2000 and based in Raleigh, N.C., Logi is now exposed to InsightSoftware's userbase -- estimated at 375,000 in 2019 -- and is the beneficiary of the financial stability that comes with being part of a larger organization.

The result is growth potential, both in terms of an increased customer base and added investment in product development. As evidence of that growth potential, Greene said Logi is both hiring aggressively and also investing more heavily than before in Logi Composer.

"InsightSoftware brings a level of financial platform and investment in resources that we've never had before," Greene said. "The other things are access to channel partners and access to more corporate applications in the enterprise."

InsightSoftware has more than 2,000 channel partners and 25,000 enterprise customers, he added.

"We have major customers who have 3,000 custom corporate applications, and every one of them is going to need an analytics layer," Greene said. "With InsightSoftware, it basically gives us access to all these relationships all around the world."

Similarly, Farmer stressed that InsightSoftware's acquisition of Logi gives Logi growth potential it didn't have when it was an independent company.

"Logi has a good market and is sustainable, and this will make the business more sustainable," he said. "I think it brings a lot of value to InsightSoftware, and that's good for Logi, ultimately. They now have a captive audience, which is great for them."

Logi's purchase of Izenda, too, fits in with its emphasis on tools for application development.

Logi's acquisition of Izenda didn't add significant technology Logi was lacking the way Google Cloud's purchase of Looker added a missing business intelligence platform, for example. Nor was it analogous to how analytics vendors like Qlik and ThoughtSpot have improved the augmented intelligence capabilities of their platforms through acquisitions more quickly than they could have through product development alone.

Instead, the acquisition of Izenda added talent -- a team of skilled and experienced designers whose expertise will accelerate the pace at which Logi can improve its own analytics tools. In addition, just as joining forces with InsightSoftware expanded Logi's customer reach, its acquisition of Izenda adds potential new customers, Greene said.

"Like Logi, they were focused on the embedded analytics space," he said. "They had the same religion around empowering software teams. They were a good competitor, and they brought a lot of talent into the organization."

That talent is the biggest benefit of acquiring Izenda, according to Farmer.

He added the natural next step for Logi is to embed AI and machine learning capabilities into applications, and Izenda had people working toward doing that.

"It's a very good move for Logi," Farmer said. "They bought a team a lot more inexpensively than they could have acquired that technology and know-how anywhere else. It's a very natural step for Logi to move into more advanced machine learning and artificial intelligence, and Izenda is a very effective acquisition for them to do that."

The road ahead

With Logi Composer 6 now generally available and the recent acquisitions now complete, Logi is working toward its next platform update.

Included on Logi's roadmap are enabling more collaboration among users, enhancing notifications and alerting around data conditions, and investing in deployment options by offering both more cloud-native offerings and also more data-center options, according to Caldwell.

"The thing we constantly think about is how to help application teams add value to their applications and get to market as fast as possible," he said.

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