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Partnering with companies to do business together: UNIFi

 Silicon Review
   2015-06-16

In conversation with Sean Keenan, Co-Founder and VP Products, UNIFi
How exactly you will position UNIFi in the Big Data space?
Tools that business managers can use to prepare their data for analysis have not really existed until now. Data wrangling, preparation, integration, etc., has always lived in the hands of IT because the tooling focused on this problem has always been built with the engineer in mind. Most every industry analyst will tell you this work consumes 80% of the effort to get to insight, so it’s a logical next step to get the business involved in owning this process. This isn’t as easy as it sounds. It requires re-thinking the whole process from end-to-end and to design an application with the goal of “consumerizing” the Enterprise in my mind. This is what we’ve done at UNIFi and it’s what differentiates us from other data integration tools.

Do you have any specific industry sector that you focus your software on?
Our platform is vertical agnostic however, there are verticals that, due to the nature of their business, use more data analysis. Given the problem we solve for companies in these verticals we are seeing immediate interest from financial services, health care, retail, telecommunications and media companies.

How is your product different and where do you think you will take it?
We are tackling a challenging task, made more difficult because we must hide the complexity of the underlying technology from the end user – the business analyst or manager. The concept of data integration, at a high level, is the process of combining multiple, disparate datasets, regardless of location or format, to enable more informed analysis. There are six key components that make up this process; acquisition, discovery, data cleansing or enrichment, normalization, transformation and preparation for visualization. For a solution to be considered Enterprise ready it must support all aspects of the end-to-end process for a user to be successful. Providing tools that dramatically simplify these steps and, wherever possible, automate the integration of data is the key direction we are taking UNIFi. For example, our patent-pending OneParse™ technology automatically provides a tabular view of semi-structured data. This type of tool puts the analyst in a position of simply selecting the right pathway forward rather than focusing on how to create the rules that may, or may not, deliver the desired end result and again impact time to insight.

How does UNIFi make life easier for the business analyst?
Data integrity and format are key challenges for a business user. From inaccurate reporting, to challenges with consumption of the data in their analytic tool of choice, these issues can be time consuming and frustrating experiences. Tools today to address these issues are primarily built for the technologist, not the analyst, so an analyst typically must rely on others to deliver the solution. This can significantly impact time to insight. The key to enabling the right user experience is to provide automation and recommendations where appropriate and provide an application that an analyst can build and assign these rules in a simplistic way. In essence they become data integration self-sufficient with UNIFi and free up IT resources that would normally be tasked with this data integration for other tasks.

How has UNIFi been accepted by the industry?
The founders of UNIFi and our development team all come from the enterprise Big Data area. Combined, the management team has over 140 years of experience in this space. We recognized the opportunity that existed in enterprise big data analysis and founded UNIFi to address that specific problem. That problem, by the way, every organization experiences to one degree or another.

Because of our history in this space and the fact that we all held senior positions at other big data technology companies, we have a great Rolodex of client prospects. We established an Early Access Program to get our tools into the hands of enterprise business users to solicit feedback and help us deliver an exceptional product for version 1.0. We were very fortunate that companies like Disney, Havas and ATKearney joined our EAP and gave us the encouragement and support we needed to deliver a great product. We are seeing tremendous feedback from the market and growing fast.

KEY EXECUTIVES
Rob Carlson
Co-Founder & CEO

Rob has been in the Enterprise Technology space now for the last 20 years holding significant leadership roles in companies such as Business Objects/SAP, EMC, PeopleSoft. Prior to UNIFI helped launch the expansion of early venture backed Big Data companies Platfora and Alpine Data Labs.

Jim Carr
Co-Founder & COO

Jim is a Big Data start-up veteran with over 15 years of experience on both the business and IT side. Starting his career in IT and successfully making the pivot to the sales and business side, Jim has played critical roles in early start-ups Greenplum and Alpine.

Sean Keenan
Co-Founder & VP Product

Sean has deep experience in delivering large scale Advanced Analytic solutions to clients across a number of verticals. He is a career Big Data Practitioner that has been involved in 100’s of Big Data Implementations across the F1000. Sean has played pivotal roles at early start-ups Greenplum, Alpine, and Platfora.

Ayush Parashar
Co-Founder & VP Engineering

Ayush has deep software engineering expertise around big data solutions & has strong domain knowledge around Hadoop, MPP database & Systems, Performance Engineering & Data Integration. Before UNIFI he was part of founding engineering team at Greenplum.

Jeff Diller VP Sales
Jeff is a veteran technology sales executive with extensive experience building successful sales teams and driving revenue in emerging markets. A top producer, he drove significant new business at Pivotal, Datameer, Greenplum (acquired by EMC), and KIVA (acquired by Netscape). Earlier in his career Jeff spent 10 years at Informix Software in a range of sales and support roles.

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