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技术

大数据的图片化生存

Michal Lev-Ram 2012年11月12日

数据分析公司Tableau Software善于将巨大的数据集转变成悦目的图形。它的服务深受欢迎,公司业务发展迅速。2011年,它的销售额增长了83%。如今,科技巨头谷歌又成为它最新的合作伙伴,公司有望迎来新一轮的发展。

派特·汉拉罕,Tableau公司联合创始人

    实际上,一个处理海量数据的工具和它要处理的数据一样重要。商业智能初创企业Tableau Software将数据计算变成好看的图片,赢得了热烈好评,现在公司正忙于扩展合作伙伴队伍,搭建“接口”。接口项技术将使外部数据源,如在线客户关系管理服务供应商Salesforce.com、微软(Microsoft)和甲骨文(Oracle)的服务器,可以无缝接入其软件。

    这就是Tableau的策略——“不论数据藏身何处”,用户都可进行处理。上周,这家公司在加州圣地亚哥召开的用户大会上公布了最新的合作伙伴——谷歌(Google)。此举意味着,现在Tableau用户可以利用它的可视化软件与谷歌分析(Google Analytics用于跟踪网站流量)和谷歌BigQuery云服务中的数据进行交互。BigQuery云服务允许企业在极其庞大的数据集(约数十亿行)中运行搜索。

    谷歌BigQuery产品经理郭巨凯(音)称:“我们的对象并不是具有超强技术背景的人,我们的目的是赋予商业用户能力。”Tableau用户可以拖拽大的数据集,创作彩色图表。连锁特许学校渴望公立学校(Aspire Public Schools)的老师通过Tableau跟踪学生的表现和出勤率。美国3A级车队国家汽车俱乐部( National Motor Club)则使用这个软件协调道路救援电话。(其他较大的客户还包括eBay和谷歌)

    公司CEO克里斯蒂安·夏伯特表示,Tableau适合一切有数据和问题的人。夏伯特称:“如果说分析工作只是IT人士的专利,那就太愚蠢了。”

    让大数据变得触手可及,这种尝试在商业用户中很受欢迎。不过,Tableau也有许多竞争对手,其中包括重量级的SAP和规模相对较小的QlikTech。但Tableau这家位于西雅图的初创企业绝对值得关注。2011年,这家公司的销售额增长了83%,夏伯特称,今年,公司收入将超过1亿美元。对于一款给庞大复杂的数据管道换上悦目外形的软件来说,这个表现还不错。此外,传闻称公司正在计划进行IPO,而且可能很快就会行动。

    目前,Tableau的主要任务是改进产品(一款新版软件,其中将包括用于渲染可视化效果的引擎),建立更多连接其可视化工具的接口。因此,与谷歌联姻是合理、也是必要的一步。

    译者:刘进龙/汪皓

    A big data tool is only as good as the data that feeds into it. Business intelligence startup Tableau Software has earned rave reviews for turning data computations into beautiful graphics, but now the company is busy expanding its pool of partners and building "connectors" -- technology that enables external data sources like Salesforce.com (CRM) and Microsoft (MSFT) and Oracle (ORCL) servers to seamlessly plug into its software.

    It's all part of Tableau's strategy of allowing customers to work with their data "no matter where it lives." At its user conference in San Diego, Calif. this week, the company announced its latest partner -- Google (GOOG). The move means Tableau users will now be able to use its visualization software to interact with data on Google Analytics (used to track website traffic) as well as Google's BigQuery cloud-based service, which lets businesses run queries on extremely large datasets (think billions of rows).

    "Rather than having someone with a very technical background we're able to empower any business users," says Ju-Kay Kwek, product manager for Google BigQuery. Tableau users can drag and drop large sets of data to create colorful graphs. Teachers at Aspire Public Schools, a chain of charter schools, use Tableau to monitor student performance and attendance. And the National Motor Club, a AAA competitor, uses the software to coordinate roadside assistance calls. (Other, larger customers include eBay (EBAY) and, fittingly, Google).

    Company CEO Christian Chabot says Tableau is for anyone with data and questions. "The idea that analytics is for IT guys only is stupid," says Chabot.

    Putting big data at the fingertips of everyday business users is a popular effort. Tableau has plenty of competition from the likes of heavyweights like SAP (SAP) and smaller players like QlikTech (QLIK). But the Seattle-based startup is definitely one to watch. The company's sales grew 83% in 2011 and Chabot says revenue will exceed $100 million this year--not bad for software that puts a pretty face on the complexities of big data plumbing. Plus, an IPO is rumored to be in the works, and soon.

    For now, Tableau is focused on improving its product (a new, upcoming version of the software will include a revamped engine for rendering visualizations) and building out more connectors to its visualization tools. Hooking up with Google, then, is a logical and necessary move.

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