Most IT departments look "like a museum," so GoodData goes around them

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GoodData CEO Roman Stanek thinks that most IT departments are so busy keeping the lights on, they don't have time to innovate. So GoodData sells its cloud-based business intelligence product directly to business groups instead.

"The typical IT department today looks like a museum. They'll never be able to get rid of old technologies. The mainframe will die, then there will be layers on that. Almost like sediments."

The privately held company is about five years old, and it's setting out to remake business intelligence. Instead of selling a complicated on-premise product that can take months to deploy across an entire company, GoodData is a cloud-based service that business users can set up to grab relevant data that's already stored in other sources, like Salesforce or Zendesk.

Today, GoodData released the first three of what it's calling "bashes" -- on-screen modules that compile this data into dashboards specifically for sales and marketing staff. ("Bash," if you're wondering, is derived from the word "mashup" and "dashboard," as it's got elements of both.)

Different types of companies want to look at different sources of data, and organize it in their own ways -- a retail chain will have very different needs than a B2B company. But GoodData tries to offer 80% of what most companies will need in their core products, based on interviews with customers.

And by customers, Stanek means actual end-users. GoodData sells to business leaders rather than IT departments, and he doesn't think that will change any time soon.

"Line of business today is best way to get new technology into companies," Stanek says. "Business people need to innovate. It started with Salesforce. VPs of sales 10 years ago were saying 'I'm not going to wait for that buildout that will never materialize anyway.'"

The tactic seems to be working. GoodData has raised more than $50 million in venture funding over the last two years, and currently has about 6,000 customers -- more than three times as many as it did a year ago.

Right now, Stanek says, GoodData is onboarding a 50,000-person company that "couldn't care less about what their central IT department is doing. It has tons of people in sales, and they need to understand what's going on."

To be clear, Stanek isn't part of the "IT doesn't matter" crowd. He's been around too long for that -- he sold his first company, NetBeans (which made a Java development environment) to Sun back in 1999, and his second company, Systinet, is now part of HP.

He simply thinks that IT will spend more time focusing on big companywide issues like ensuring capacity and integrating old business systems. Line of business apps will be provisioned from the cloud to the employees or departments who need them. That includes business intelligence.

"I believe business intelligence is a business service. Email used to be an IT intiaitive, now it's Gmail." He continues, "There's a growing number of projects or initiatives where IT should simply buy capacity."

He offers a historical proof point for the doubters.

"A hundred years ago," says Stanek, "every company, every factory used to own their power generator. It only took about 5 years for all of them to switch to the grid because it was cheaper, better, and more reliable. That's what's happening with IT today."

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