ThoughtSpot adds new BI features, version for small organizations

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At yesterday’s Beyond 2022 conference, independent business intelligence (BI) player ThoughtSpot announced the highlights of its revamped, modern analytics cloud platform, including new features and releases for small teams, mid-sized entities, and large enterprise organizations.

Back in November, ThoughtSpot’s Series F round raised $100 million and a $4.2 billion valuation for the company. Valuation resets are also accompanied by changes in business models. While the platform debuted on the market with a single, native, natural language-centric business intelligence platform and a six-figure price tag, ThoughtSpot completely changed course and moved to a fully SaaS model.

Technology changes with deployment models. While the original ThoughtSpot platform required ingesting and modeling all data into its own storage platform, it now leverages major data warehouse and Lakehouse platforms – including Amazon Redshift, Snowflake, Databricks, Google BigQuery, Starburst, Dremio And Microsoft’s Azure Synapse Analytics – for the actual storage of the data.

Essentially, ThoughtSpot is now implemented as an analytics engine with its own modeling language and no longer seeks to be a physical repository of data. This avoids lengthy data movements and inefficient, risky data replication, and employs a customer-driven approach rather than a vendor-centric one.

A new version of its analytics platform

Yesterday’s announcement further changed the pricing model, making ThoughtSpot’s analytics platform available in three versions with different data volume/capacity limits, but no limit on the number of users. The Team Edition is priced at $95 per month and has a data limit of 5 million rows.While there is no limit to the number of users, there is a limit group users, making Teams Edition a departmental solution with proper nomenclature. Team Edition offers unlimited queries and support is community based.

The Professional Edition starts at $2,500 per month and is limited to 100 million rows—about a 20-fold increase in price and data capacity—although the row:dollar ratio has actually dropped. For Pro, the number of user groups has been increased from 1 to 5, making it a more suitable solution for small to medium sized organizations or departmental solutions for larger organizations. ThoughtSpot’s 24/7 direct support is part of this package and has certain Service Level Agreements (SLAs). Actual monthly billing amounts for Pro will vary based on inquiry activity; however, startups, nonprofits, and educational institutions with fewer than 100 employees and less than $10 million in annual revenue are eligible for a special variant of Pro that The body eliminates the cost per query.

The top solution is the Enterprise Edition, which removes the upper limit on the amount of data and the number of user groups. Again, pricing is based on actual query, and features include higher SLAs, enhanced data encryption, support for AWS PrivateLink/Azure Private Link, single sign-on (SSO) and VPN support.

ThoughtSpot Offers Rich Features

In addition to the new version and pricing, ThoughtSpot announced several new core features. These include a new “CodeSpot” searchable repository of open source ThoughtSpot blocks and code samples; ELT Live Analytics templates (custom ELT jobs built to use Matillion); new third-party data blocks; SQL-based data with dbt Labs Pipeline platform and new SpotApps integration, and templates for ServiceNow, Snowflake, HubSpot, Okta, Google Analytics, Google Ads, Jira, Redshift, and Databricks.

Also announced ThoughtSpot Sync, which can trigger actions in other applications and services via API; built-in charts, allowing customers to bring visualizations from javascript or d3 libraries directly into ThoughtSpot’s real-time analytics interface; Monitor, an automated KPI observation and alerting tool.

compare and contrast

For my own purposes, I like to analyze new products in relation to other products in the market, both to determine value and to observe industry trends. The availability of the ThoughtSpot platform’s three pricing tiers, as well as its cloud orientation, requires some comparisons with Microsoft’s Power BI. The latter also offers three main tiers: Free, Professional, and Premium, the last of which starts at $4,995 per month and is geared toward businesses, just like ThoughtSpot’s Enterprise edition.

However, there are some key differences. While Power BI Premium doesn’t limit the number of consumer-only users, it does offer additional single-seat pricing for those who need authoring capabilities. On the other hand, it provides dedicated infrastructure and does not have any usage-based fees. Of course, the higher the usage, the more computing power customers may want, which means adding dedicated infrastructure nodes and a corresponding increase in monthly pricing. One way or another, you get what you pay for and vice versa.

At the same time, Power BI allows users to import data in their BI model or keep it in the source system. It also provides so-called composite models, where the data store for a single BI model can be split between local and remote.

However, the point here is not to measure the alignment between ThoughtSpot and other BI platforms, but to identify some consensus trends in the market. Overall, we can see that business intelligence, which has been around since the 1990s, maintains its core principles of slice analysis, but modernizes with the sea change in database technology and computing in general. Today, it’s all about the cloud, integrating with other platforms in the ecosystem, and leveraging data from various sources without moving the data.

The barriers to entry for BI have been lowered, the onboarding experience has been simplified, and pricing for smaller organizations is easy to swallow. Large organizations will still pay handsomely, but will ostensibly see considerable ROI, both in terms of operational efficiency and competitive differentiation. BI supports the doctrine of data-driven operations and digital transformation, which requires low friction and accessibility at the low end, while promoting robust rewards at the high end, often accompanied by equally robust pricing.

ThoughtSpot and its platform have changed dramatically since their early days, as has the BI landscape, acquiring so many players over the past few years. ThoughtSpot is now very much in line with, and seems to be driven by, industry trends. If other independent companies like ThoughtSpot are to succeed, they need to ride on these trends, or even be ahead of them. Some will do well there; others less so. Though the business intelligence market is evolving into a very crowded and competitive field, ThoughtSpot is clearly all-in on retooling and revamping today’s analytics workloads.

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