Real World DataMarket: Interview with Dean Stoecker, President at Alteryx

As part of the Real World DataMarket series, we talked to Dean Stoecker, President at Alteryx, about using DataMarket (part of the Windows Azure Marketplace), to offer customers faster time-to-market, more flexibility, and less work when using Alteryx business intelligence (BI) solutions. Here’s what he had to say:

MSDN: Tell us about Alteryx and the services you offer.

Stoecker: Alteryx makes geographic business intelligence software to help companies in many industries make sense of vast amounts of data. Retailers, for example, use our software to combine and analyze demographic, traffic, income, and other data to determine where to open new stores. Our software is easier to use than many traditional BI software programs, so more people in an organization can use it.

MSDN: What prompted you to look into DataMarket?

Stoecker: We’ve done a good job of delivering our software to business users over the web as software-as-a-service (SaaS). But we wanted to help developers incorporate our technology into their solutions and get to market faster. Also, we had to anticipate the data sets that these developers might need. Customers wanted more control over how they consumed our application.

MSDN: How has DataMarket helped?

Stoecker: We can list individual APIs [application programming interfaces] on DataMarket for purchase—an API for store location functionality, for example. Instead of developing all the code needed to create geolocation functionality in an application, a developer simply picks up our API from DataMarket and snaps it into his or her application.

MSDN: So you’re packaging your software in smaller, more easily consumable chunks?

Stoecker: Essentially, yes. We’re offering our technology as small, specific services that developers can use as needed to save themselves some development time. They also do not have to license and manage third-party data sets. They can pull data from DataMarket and let Microsoft take care of licensing and management.

MSDN: What are you offering on DataMarket?

Stoecker: We have five APIs on DataMarket so far, all providing geolocation-related services. One, for example, helps retail businesses determine new store locations. From DataMarket, customers can pull U.S. Census data, consumer expenditure data, geospatial data, traffic data, and other data sets. They can then integrate these data sets and the Alteryx APIs into their own applications, often cutting development time from weeks to hours.

MSDN: Would you have been able to sell your APIs without a framework like DataMarket?

Stoecker: That’s another good point. We had long wanted to offer our technology as pure web services, but building an e-commerce-enabled data community is an expensive proposition—in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. By using DataMarket, we let Microsoft assume that expense. We get the benefit of posting our offerings on an online marketplace without the burden of maintaining the e-commerce infrastructure.

MSDN: So, how would you summarize the benefits of integrating DataMarket into your business model?

Stoecker: By incorporating DataMarket into our BI solutions and business model, we can give our customers more flexibility and faster time-to-market, reduce our development work and costs, and open up more opportunity to grow our business. Customers can make their own choices, and you can’t put a dollar figure on the value of giving customers the ability to build what they want.

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