Amazon, BitYota Look to Bring Big Data to Small Business

Data Analysis Becomes Key for Business of All Sizes

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Big data isn't just for big business. Small and midsize companies also are trying to make sense of their own customer data. This past week, two new cloud-based services launched aiming to serve the growing market for data storage and integration: Amazon's Redshift and BitYota.

Built on Amazon's cloud-computing infrastructure, BitYota launched at this week's Amazon Web Services Re:Invent conference, only to be confronted with a similar product launch from Amazon itself.

BitYota CEO Dev Patel
BitYota CEO Dev Patel

On its website, Amazon suggested its cloud-based managed data warehouse offering, dubbed Redshift, is appropriate for clients large and small. Redshift is currently available only in public beta, and has been tested by Netflix and tablet reader app Flipboard, according to Amazon.

One difference between BitYota and the Amazon service, said BitYota CEO Dev Patel, is that his is a software-as-a-service offering, while Amazon's requires clients to manage hardware and software maintenance and other backend components. BitYota does not require hands-on management of back-end hardware and software, he said.

"The vision is to go beyond Amazon to other clouds, public and private," he said. "I'd like to be able to bring the value of data to a broad range of people."

Founded late last year, BitYota has raised a total of $12 million from Andreessen Horowitz, Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang and others. It's working with digital ad firm Cognitive Match to help process and respond to client data more quickly.

"If a fashion customer finds out a certain line of clothing is doing well on particularly cold or rainy days ... we can take that data and inject it into an email campaign the next day," said Alex Kelleher, CEO of Cognitive Match. The company dynamically optimizes online ad and site messaging.

The BitYota system can load data from multiple sources in a variety of formats, automatically detecting format, rate of change and other elements.

Sifting through thousands of types of data and hundreds of millions of impressions, then connecting that to information about ad creative and offers requires formatting the data "to internally see insights and performance very quickly," said Mr. Kelleher. The BitYota system "enables us to get feedback on e-marketing insights on a very regular basis during campaigns." Cognitive Match can use the system to surface data in Tableau data-visualization software.

Before using BitYota, the company relied on a combination of the Apache Hadoop data-processing framework and Apache Hive, related software that facilitates queries of large data sets.

Another client, educational-app maker Agnitus, used BitYota to customize data queries to better understand the progression of kids playing its games in relation to others in their peer groups, and to send parents reports each day.

Similar services that allow companies of all sizes to store and manage customer data easily can probably be expected. "The need is certainly there," said Mr. Kelleher.

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