ZDNet connected with Roman Stanek, founder of GoodData and CEO, to discuss the ins and outs of the deal, the data landscape and the way data is used to shape directions for large and small organizations, and what’s next for GoodData.
The evolution of the data ecosystem
The last time we talked to GoodData executives, it was on the occasion of another great partnership, that of Amazon. We picked up from where we left off by going over the evolution of this partnership. Stanek said things are coming together well, and collaboration around AWS Redshift was just the beginning.
Having a partner with such a large presence and important role as Amazon, which is the dominant player in the cloud market, is a great strength for GoodData. Stanek emphasized the broader vision of what he called investment in data and how organizations can get a return on their data. But he also touched on certain technical aspects that GoodData plays on and how they fit into the big picture.
Kubernetes is prominent among them, and the discussion about AWS obviously brought it up. There has been plenty of coverage around Kubernetes recently, and Kubernetes was something we chose early on. Despite the growing pains around data management, the fact that we have a de-facto standard for on-site application development and the cloud in Kubernetes is a game changer.
GoodData has historically been a managed solution for analytics running in the cloud. The fact that it was among the first to realize the importance of cloud-based analytics solutions and execute them has enabled it to come to what it is today. In a way, Kubernetes might allow GoodData to turn the setting upside down, keep up with the times and maintain a head start.
Today, the name of the game is multi-cloud and hybrid cloud. Stanek called this “data balkanization”: Whether design or not, few organizations have put all their data eggs in a cloud basket. And many organizations also maintain local infrastructure.
Although a cloud-based solution such as GoodData can capture data anywhere, it is much more efficient to be co-located with the data. In addition, there are always some users who want more control over their deployments.
These users, the “geeks” as Stanek called them, are pleased: GoodData is releasing its re-developed Kubernetes-based offering in Beta soon, probably in July 2020. That way, GoodData goes from data consumer to data prosumer. By joining Kubernetes ecosystem, GoodData can sign up The Kubernetes ecosystem for observability, and make nerdy users happy.
Visa went from user to partner and investor because financial services are all about data
Stanek noted that being an Amazon partner will work well for the Kubernetes installation. GoodData seems to have a way of partnering, and working with Visa is proof of that. Visa has been a GoodData customer for a while. Stanek said what made Visa go from user to partner and investor was a shared vision of data.
That may be true, but it doesn’t tell us much about Visa’s specific goals. We have a more speculative projection, which is that in a global environment where payments are increasingly becoming a data integration, processing and analytics game, having someone like GoodData on hand can be handy.
consider PSD2 EU Directive, e.g. Although GDPR received a lot of attention, PSD2 may be even more important. What PSD2 does is that it causes financial institutions to provide (parts of) their data and APIs to third parties. These third parties, if they have the customer’s consent, can use this data and APIs to provide financial services to their clients.
Before the time PSD2 was set to take effect, vi speculated, we might see new players like Facebook move to payments. This prediction was confirmed, especially by Facebook with Libra. The Facebook weight seems to be in a dead end, with Visa has withdrawn from its consortium with Mastercard and others.
However, we argue that Visa would very much like to be able to do what the Libra was planning to do, albeit not necessarily in the same way. Being able to perform customer 360 with data from many different providers, for example, a tool like GoodData would be very good to have.
The details of the agreement with GoodData were not discussed. However, we do not routinely see payment technology companies such as Visa investing in and partnering with their software vendors. Melissa McSherry, SVP and Global Head of Data, Security and Identity Products at Visa, noted that:
“As the world faces pandemic and economic challenges, there is no better time to invest in areas that will improve the lives of consumers and businesses. With insight from data, we can help sellers, financial institutions and Visa’s expanded global business network understand and understand to meet consumer needs, especially when those needs change quickly. Our partnership with GoodData allows us to do that. “
A data-driven philosophy
Stanek, in turn, noted that GoodData is extremely pleased to have Visa as an investor and partner in GoodData’s mission to help companies of all sizes become computer companies. We couldn’t help but notice the pandemic reference in the Visa spokesman’s statement, and this provided an opportunity to discuss how GoodData’s philosophy is practiced with Stanek.
Recently, GoodData helped develop and launch COVID-19 Commerce Insight project to analyze one billion exposures and 400 million transactions showing the impact of COVID-19 on global and regional consumer spending.
The project is one Emarsys initiative in collaboration with GoodData, and Stanek said they would do more than just another infection rate dashboard. The goal was to put up-to-date consumer data in the hands of business owners, economists and policy makers and provide them with the actionable insight needed to navigate this economic crisis.
Data included in the visualization is an anonymized subset of online sales of brands in more than 100 countries, based on consumer engagement in more than one billion consumer profiles and 2,500 global brands. It strengthens analyzes such as a look at how the growth of e-commerce has increased to expected levels for at least 5 years ahead in recent months.
But how can organizations go beyond data points projected on yet another dashboard to build data-driven applications? Stanek offered a vivid example by asking the rhetorical question of how users could navigate with their Uber if the data on their ride location and speed were placed on a dashboard.
One of the initiatives GoodData takes to help organizations move from dashboards to data-driven applications is Accelerator Toolkit. Accelerator Toolkit is a UI library that enables customized and faster data analysis along with educational resources. Stanek mentioned that GoodData plans to launch a GoodData University initiative soon to offer more resources to empower organizations.
Another notable development for GoodData is the development of its Semantic Layer data model. TO new modeling tool from GoodData aims to improve collaboration between engineers and analysts to streamline the start-up process for enterprise data products.
Stanek initially referred to this as an attempt to establish a single version of the truth. However, this has always been an elusive goal. While improving collaboration between engineers and analysts is praiseworthy, more pragmatic, organizations can aim to establish shared data models among user groups rather than global ones.
Stanek did not sound ambitious, and our conversation touched on a number of topics. If you want to listen to it in its entirety, make sure of it subscribe to the Orchestrate all the Things podcast, where it will soon be released.
NOTE: The article has been edited to clarify that Visa is a payment technology company, not a financial institution.