Data is continuously growing in the industry. Apart from actually being a problem, it also provides a huge opportunity for businesses to transform their module, products and services to be more data-driven. Business intelligence is the key, which helps businesses with best solutions to come up with better decision making. According to a report, more than 40 per cent of data science tasks will be automated by the year 2020, which will result in increased productivity and broader usage of data and analytics by citizen data scientists.
There has been a lot of focus and interest in Open Source BI. 2015 and 2016 saw the major amount of acquisitions of market-leading Open Source BI products like Jaspersoft and Pentaho. Adoption of BI is also becoming mainstreaming with smaller companies getting to understand the importance of BI and investing efforts into its usage. Bigger companies usually prefer on-premise software, however smaller companies with lesser number of users are opting for cloud BI providers to avoid the hassle of server management.
Undoubtedly, BI tools are crucial to the growth of a company and have become a handy tool for gaining insights into the data world. Along with better decision making, it helps in growing revenues and increases employee productivity. One such organisation is Hyderabad-based startup Helical IT, who is providing the world’s first open-source BI framework to businesses. The company is currently handling several clients including varied vertices such as fin-tech, education, logistics, FMCG, CRM, Government, and Manufacturing.
Helical Insight, the product under its parent company — Helical IT, founded by Nikhilesh Tiwari and Nitin Sahu in 2016, is a Java application which is currently on a 3.1 release, working towards a new 4.0 release. Helical Insight comes with multiple methods of reports development, which includes a simple drag-drop interface allowing anyone to create their analysis. It also has plenty of charting and visualisation options including a lot of customisation parameters. The company is also working on the next-generation machine learning (ML) and NLP-driven analysis options for users to interact with data in layman language — English to derive insights from it.
Stand Out From The Crowd
According to Nikhilesh Tiwari, the co-founder of Helical Insight, the company has gone through several constraints as a startup. “The biggest challenge we faced was in terms of gathering resources,” said Tiwari. “Being a bootstrapped company, it is always difficult to get really good resources, but perhaps, a good resource is an overall challenge in the IT landscape.”
“The second challenge we faced was in terms of client conversion.” Considering BI has been quite a competitive landscape with some very big names established in this field, being a startup could always come up with a lot of struggle. “We are currently not such a big name so client conversion always takes time. So, we slowly overcame this challenge,” added Tiwari.
Additionally, the BI industry landscape is also under a lot of challenges. One of the major issues towards the adoption of BI is the skyrocketing cost, which sometimes becomes a headache for business, especially the SMEs. “The market has many cost-competitive open source products but the majority of them are poor on features. And, that is why, Helical IT is working on to build an innovative feature-rich BI product, which can compete with the best at a fractional rate,” said Tiwari.
This is also the first company to have provided an integrated workflow engine with its product, which allows clients to define the next set of actions based on a certain set of conditions or parameters. This, in turn, makes it possible to do an end-to-end BI automation. The BI market is also seeing an increasing number of BI products that have a desktop-based development environment. Whereas the new generation product based companies wish to provide their customers with an option to create their analysis, for which the required dashboard designer interface should allow integration capabilities. Helical Insight, being a completely browser-based product, claims to allow integration of the designer interface for its customers.
Helical IT believes that customer satisfaction is an integral part of their business and claims to have a stronghold on their customers. Tiwari said, “Whenever we are on-boarding a client, we start their orientation by providing custom training in which we can cover a lot of their use cases. Additionally, during the initial few months, we also work with them very closely to ensure them with proper aid whenever they have issues.” “With most of our clients and developers are been added to our Skype network, it becomes easy for us to provide them with almost real-time support.”
Currently, Helical IT encompasses 30 clients which include names like Wealthhub Solutions, Envision Global Leadership, Sage Human Capital, Divergent Dental, Edenred, Inductive Quotient, Insoft, Metageni, VARStreet, Pratesis Indonesia, Redox Technologies, KidsXAP among others. The company also works with some other big US-based product companies, who act as a market leader in their respective domains.
The company is currently working with two product models — one is the Helical Insight Community Edition, which is free for customers to use but has a limited set of features. However, the second one is the enterprise version of the product, which is a paid product but comes with all the integrated features. Helical IT also provides various kinds of customised payment models, which includes monthly, perpetual, annual, and so on, based on its customer requirements. Also, it provides professional services in terms of development and consulting as well as features expansion.
Like any other BI company, Helical also aims to create a seamless BI framework for its customers and become the leading open-source BI product in the coming years. Currently, the company is working with SMBs but has big plans in penetrating the large enterprise market. “With the help of our partners, we can work with some big companies like one FMCG giant, and a French government agency INRA. Apart from that, we are also in talks with a few really big clients including NCS, banks from the Middle East, and a few electricity departments of India,” said Tiwari.
Being a new product in the market, Helical’s current set of clients are primarily small to medium enterprises (SMEs). “However, we are very aggressively adding new features and capabilities to improve our user experience, based on the feedback provided. This will, in turn, help us in penetrating the bigger enterprise market,” said Tiwari. “We, at Helical IT, are extremely positive that the year 2020 will bring us more opportunities, where we will be able to make inroads into the large enterprise market.” The company is also actively partnering with various companies across the globe to more effectively target those geographies, especially non-English speaking territories.