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The Democratization of Business Intelligence

(Excerpts from NASSCOM’s Interview with Mr Vikram Kole, COO, MAIA Intellegence)

MAIA Intelligence is a pioneer in the BI solutions space in India, a single business focus company providing affordable BI, Reporting and Analytics solutions. What began as the vision of three partners in 2006 has grown to a 60-person strong organization with a strong product development focus. MAIA has the distinction of being the first BI solutions company in India with an enterprise-wide BI strategy. The company’s COO Vikram Kole, points out, MAIA Intelligence was built as an organization on the concept platform of BI Democratization.

BI for all
Historically, BI and Analytics have been targeted at the top management of companies. Lower down the order, specialized tools are seldom available to users, who typically use Microsoft Excel, an individual productivity tool, to perform data analysis. Even companies that wish to extend BI platforms across staff levels have been cautious about doing so due to prohibitive licensing costs. This is the market gap that MAIA addresses by providing a BI tool that is collaborative and accessible to all the layers of an organization, at affordable license costs. Since the BI needs of senior corporate layer were already being catered to by existing solutions, MAIA began ground up, offering the tool to the operational layer first. Today, MAIA’s tool offers various interfaces that cater to the operational, tactical and strategic levels of an organization.

Delivering data for decisions
MAIA’s value proposition to organizations is across the board BI, adaptable to the needs of the different layers. MAIA creates an analytics ecosystem for an enterprise based on its data needs, spanning information delivery, decision making, profitability reports, and HR efficiency reports. The system aids pro-active decision making, a clear need in today’s competitive markets. 1KEY is used by customers across all departments from finance, sales and marketing, to human resources and even information technology. In the IT context, 1KEY can be used for analytics related to an organization’s IT assets and to assess impact of software up-grades.

The platform has two key aspects, one of which is the platform’s technical architecture which enables quick integration of data from multiple databases and manipulation of this data to build dashboards for users. The second is the business user interface, which is centred on outcome based analysis. Here the user can manipulate data, drill down into multiple levels and perform comparative/time trend analysis, while keeping multiple variables in mind.

As Vikram points out, analytics is a game between business dimensions and the measures. Based on its expertise across various industries, MAIA developed a Product IP in terms of features and functionality and cemented certain industry models that the Product IP can read, hand in hand with its Solution IP. Since certain KPIs are already set across industry verticals, there are set features available out of the box which can be further customized based on the needs of a new customer. Alongside their own service team, MAIA has a partner ecosystem to provide implementation, configuration and training services to the end customers, irrespective of whether they use MS, SAP or Oracle.

Growth Engine
By engineering a platform that can be cost-effectively extended across an organization, MAIA has been able to build a large user base. According to Kole, 1KEY’s all-encompassing reach has helped MAIA surpass user levels of competing MNC products. Take for instance, MAIA’s largest customer, Mahindra and Mahindra Financial Services, which has deployed 1KEY for over 5000 users. The use of Excel has been eliminated, and MAIA provides dashboards for management, typical analytical reports for tactical managers and complete data viewing and usage capabilities for operations.

The financial sector is a key segment for MAIA and the sector, along with the manufacturing vertical, contributes to 60-65% of the company’s revenue. Other verticals addressed by MAIA’s BI platform are Pharmaceuticals, Retail BPOs and IT service organizations.

1Key has been prominently featured on the NASSCOM Product Excellence Matrix for Analytics grid, an endeavour by NASSCOM in conjunction with Frost & Sullivan, to create a benchmark for Indian software products in different categories, including Analytics.

To keep its growth story going, MAIA is looking to extend its presence beyond India to the Middle East and Africa, where they now have a presence. The United States (US) market is also on the company’s radar.

The company has a network of over eighteen partners in India and will continue to position skills through partnerships and alliances for future growth. MAIA has structured its partnerships to ensure all round value for clients. Says Vikram: as the company that started the enterprise wide BI strategy, we have stuck with our focus; we know the actual advantage of our product is to the business user.

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