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How InetSoft Business Sold Intelligence Tools To 5000 Users: Q/A with CMO Mark Flaherty

How InetSoft Business Sold Intelligence Tools To 5000 Users: Q/A with CMO Mark Flaherty

Roberto Popolizio
In this interview for Website Planet, we learned how a company, founded in 1996 by two brothers, Luke and Larry Liang, has managed to grow to over 200 employees in the United States and China, and a customer base of over 5,000 worldwide.

We are talking about InetSoft, a BI vendor providing business intelligence solutions enabling dashboards, reporting, and visual analytics, serving small startups to global organizations in all industries, and solution providers who embed InetSoft’s app into their own.

What we discussed with Mark Flaherty, Chief Marketing Officer at InetSoft:
  • How InetSoft BI tools guarantee better performance, scalability and deployment flexibility
  • How they do that while minimizing risks, costs and resources consumption
  • How they scaled SEM and email marketing to onboard 5,000 clients with a small team

What problems are you solving for your customers and audience?

Our application takes up a small footprint in terms of physical and memory resources, and this is the first way InetSoft differentiates itself in a crowded marketplace of BI vendors. It addresses the problem of resource consumption and system overhead that often accompanies traditional BI solutions. In many instances, large-scale BI tools tend to be resource-intensive, demanding significant computing power and storage capacity.

This compact design improves performance and mitigates challenges related to scalability and deployment. The small footprint feature enables seamless integration into existing IT ecosystems, particularly for solution providers who embed into their own solution. Moreover, the reduced resource requirements result in cost savings whether hosted on a company’s own server or when paying a hosting service based on usage levels.

Second, InetSoft’s flexible hosting options, allowing users to deploy the solution either on-premise or in the cloud location of their choice, stand out as a distinct advantage over other vendors in the market. This flexibility empowers organizations with the freedom to align their BI infrastructure with their specific business requirements and IT strategy:
  • The on-premise deployment option is a robust solution for those prioritizing in-house control and security, ensuring data governance and compliance with internal policies. This also guarantees minimum latency and maximum bandwidth.
  • On the other hand, the cloud option caters to the growing trend of scalable and agile computing, providing the convenience of remote accessibility and dynamic resource allocation. Unlike competitors who only have one or a few geographic hosting options, or only support one hosting provider, InetSoft’s solution can be deployed anywhere. This lowers data transport cost and increases responsiveness.
InetSoft

Example of a finance department dashboard

Which types of companies benefit the most from what you offer?

BI solutions like InetSoft that can connect to almost any data source and provide the tools to design whatever dashboard or report the user needs, no matter the business type or size.

For example, The Anti-Human Trafficking Intelligence Initiative aimed to visualize the links between financial transactions and human trafficking, transforming these findings into tangible insights that could drive proactive measures to identify such connections in industries before they pose a substantial threat.

InetSoft’s BI tool played a crucial role in presenting complex discoveries visually. By utilizing interactive dashboards, the initiative could effectively communicate instances where a particular business type showed associations with escort advertisements via email addresses or phone numbers, facilitating a clearer understanding of these connections.

In another case, HBP Group, a prominent provider of corporate risk identification, fatigue, health, and injury prevention was seeking an advancement from static reports to dynamic, web-based interactive dashboards hosted on AWS. InetSoft’s solution fulfilled their real-time reporting needs, but InetSoft also offered a variety of pricing models and was able to cater to the specific requirements of HBP Group’s distinctive use case.

InetSoft

A dashboard for customer service teams developed by InetSoft

What makes them eventually choose you over your competitors?

Let’s look at the case of 360 Medical Billing Solutions, solution provider to emergency rooms and urgent care centers.

They sought a tool capable of creating visualizations on their data while ensuring robust security measures and permission controls. Their specific interests included multi-tenancy, web-based access, physical views, and logical models. Facing the task of eventually migrating 50 Crystal Reports, along with some subreports, to their selected tool, they carefully evaluated various options. Ease and speed of development was the ultimate factor in choosing InetSoft.

Then there is Sperantus, a solution provider who sought a BI tool to seamlessly integrate with its Stock & Trace SaaS Warehouse Management System. As a SaaS provider, Sperantus needed a BI platform that supported Single Sign-On to foster a transparent experience between Stock & Trace and InetSoft. The platform further provided materialized views for scheduled data transformations, facilitating immediate visualization of complex data.

A user-friendly interface was a major factor in choosing InetSoft since it empowered Sperantus’s non-technical users to independently create queries and aggregate data, thereby allowing developers to focus on other tasks.

“What I liked the most was the drag-and-drop feature for putting together a data query…with other solutions you have no choice but to sit and write code…but with Style Intelligence, it doesn’t take two to three hours to design reports – you only need ten to fifteen minutes. “

Tadd Meyers, Business Intelligence Manager at NCN

Since you started, what helped you grow and retain your audience?

One reason InetSoft has enjoyed growth and retained customers over the years is responsive customer service, which contrasts with the larger, slower moving competitors. InetSoft has garnered praise from its customers for delivering exceptional customer service. Clients have commended the company for its responsive and knowledgeable support team, highlighting their effectiveness in addressing queries and providing timely solutions.

The personalized and customer-centric approach of InetSoft’s support staff has been consistently lauded, with users expressing satisfaction with the level of attention and assistance they receive. The company’s commitment to ensuring a positive customer experience has resonated well within its user community, fostering a reputation for reliable and attentive customer service that goes above and beyond expectations.

In terms of attracting customers, organic search marketing has been by far the most important part of InetSoft’s customer acquisition. Learning how to write content that a searcher values and how to use the right HTML tags, InetSoft is able to rank high for a very diverse range of solution search phrases specific to the searcher’s market segment. This channel also outperforms others such as pay-per-click search engine marketing on a cost per lead basis.

What tools are you using to run your business and daily activities?

Our customer relationship management system is the most central part of our technology stack. We use Sugar CRM because there is no upfront or ongoing licensing cost, and we have the developers who can customize it to perform all the functions that might only be available in expensive solutions.

We build our dashboards and reports using our own BI software. We have built our own email marketing system that can send emails in a campaign fully personalized for the receiver, including his or her role and industry. This allows us to reach thousands of prospects a day with a small sales support team to handle the responses.

What perspective do you have about where your industry is headed?

We see AI-aided self-service reporting and analysis for business users as a transformative leap in the realm of data-driven decision-making. This innovative approach will harness the power of artificial intelligence to empower business professionals with the ability to independently generate insights and reports, without relying heavily on dedicated data science teams.

By seamlessly integrating AI algorithms, these systems can quickly analyze vast datasets, identify patterns, and deliver actionable insights in real-time. This not only will expedite the decision-making process but also allow for a more agile response to dynamic market conditions.

Moreover, AI will augment the user experience by providing natural language processing interfaces, making it accessible to a broader audience without specialized technical skills.

Next, we think that data pipelines and visualization become seamlessly intertwined which will further increase data teams’ productivity. As data pipelines efficiently transport and process vast amounts of raw data, visualization tools will serve as the interface that transforms these intricate datasets into intuitive, actionable insights.

The interconnectedness between data pipelines and visualization will eliminate bottlenecks in the data analysis process, allowing for a fluid and continuous flow of information. This integration not only expedites the time it takes to derive meaningful insights but also enhances the overall quality of analysis.

Data teams will now be able focus more on refining algorithms, improving data quality, and extracting valuable insights, as the seamless intertwining of data pipeline and visualization automates routine tasks. The result is a dynamic and efficient ecosystem where data is transformed into a visual narrative, empowering organizations to make informed decisions with agility and precision.

Lastly, we see an AI copilot that will be able to mash up data pipelines, visualization and analytics to empower data professionals in multiple disciplines. This intelligent collaborator will transcend traditional silos, harnessing the collective power of data-related processes to offer a holistic and integrated approach.

By effortlessly mashing up data pipelines, it will streamline the intricate journey of data from source to visualization, optimizing efficiency and reducing the burden on data professionals. Furthermore, the AI copilot will enhance the analytics workflow, leveraging machine learning algorithms to uncover hidden patterns and correlations within the data.

What’s in the roadmap for your future?

Our product roadmap is centered on incorporating these industry trends into our business intelligence platform. We are working on making artificial intelligence power our self-service user documentation.

We want to facilitate users in creating dashboards and report with a next generation of wizard-guided assistance. And We will use AI to integrate data pipeline management with data visualization creation.

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