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DomoPalooza 2017: Flare, Stravaganza…and Effective Business Management

Logo courtesy of DOMO , Inc.
When you decide to show up at Domopalooza, Domo’s big user event, you don’t know for sure what you will find, but from the very beginning you can feel that you’ll have a unique experience. From the individual sessions and training, the partner summit and the concert line-up, to what might come from Domo’s CEO/rock-star Josh James, who certainly is one of a kind in the software industry; you know that you’ll witness a delightful event.

This year under the strings of Styx’s, Mr. James kicked off an event that amalgamated business, entertainment, fun and work in a unique way —a very Domo way.

With no more preambles, here is a summary of what happened during Domo’s 2017 DomoPalooza user conference.

Josh James at DomoPalooza 2017 (Photo courtesy of DOMO)
Key Announcements

Before entering to the subjective domain of my opinion about Domo’s event and solutions, let’s take a minute to pin point some of the important announcements made previous and during the event:
  • The first news came some days before the user event, when Domo announced its new model for rapid deployment dashboards. This solution consists of a series of tools that accelerate and ease the dashboard deployment process. Starting with its large number of connectors to diverse data sources, to a set of pre-installed and easy to configure dashboards, this model will enable developers deploy dashboards quickly and easily that decision makers can use effectively.
  • The next important announcement occurred during the conference. Domo came out with the release of Mr. Roboto —DOMO’s new set of capabilities for performing machine learning, predictive analytics and predictive intelligence. According to DOMO, the new offering will be fully integrated within DOMO’s business cloud, aiming for fast and non-disruptive business adoption. Two major features from Mr. Roboto include Alerts Center, a personalized visual console powered by advanced analytics functionality to provide insights and improve decision making. The other is its data science interface to enable users to apply predictive analytics, machine learning and other advanced analytics algorithms to its data sets. This is for sure one product I’m looking forward to analyzing further!

The introduction of new features, especially directed to narrow the technical-business gap within the C-Suite of an organization, and to facilitate decision makers an easier and customized access to insights, will enable business management and monitoring using DOMO. Some of these features include the introduction of:
  • Annotations, so information workers and decision makers can highlight significant insights in the process on top of a chart or data point. Enhancement to its Analyzer tool with the incorporation of a visual data lineage tool to enable users to track data from source to visualization.
  • Data slicing within DOMO’s cards to create more guided analysis paths business users and decision makers can take advantage of. 
  • More than 60 chart families to enhance the rich set of visual options already within DOMO’s platform. 

DOMO’s new features seem to fit well within a renewed effort from the company to address bigger enterprise markets and increase presence within segments which traditionally are occupied by other enterprise BI contenders.

It may also signal DOMO’s necessary adaptive process to comply with a market currently in a rampage for the inclusion of advanced analytic features to address larger and new user footprints within organizations, such as data scientists and a new more tech savvy generation of information workers.

There is much more behind Domo’s Curtains

Perhaps the one thing I did enjoy the most about the conference was having a continuous sense of discovery —different from previous interactions with DOMO, which somehow left me with a sense of incompletion. This time I had the chance to discover that there is much more about DOMO behind the curtains.

Having a luminary as CEO, such as Josh James, can be a two-edged sword. On one side, its glowing personality has served well to enhance DOMO’s presence in a difficult and competitive market. Josh has the type of personality that attracts, creates and sells the message, and with no doubt drives the business.

On the other end, however, if not backed and handled correctly, his strong message can create some scepticism, making some people think a company is all about a message and less about the company’s substance. But this year’s conference helped me to discover that DOMO is way more than what can be seen in the surface.

Not surprising is the fact that Josh and Chris Harrington —savvy businessmen and smart guys— have been keen to develop DOMO’s business intelligence and analytics capabilities to achieve business efficiency, working towards translating technical complexity into business oriented ease of use. To achieve this, DOMO has put together, on the technical side, a very knowledgeable team lead by Catherine Wong and Daren Thayne, DOMO’s Chief Product Officer and Chief Technology Officer respectively, both with wide experience. Their expertise goes from cloud platforms and information management to data visualization and analysis. On the business side, an experienced team that includes tech veterans like Jay Heglar and Paul Weiskopf, lead strategy and corporate development, respectively.

From a team perspective, this balance between tech experience and business innovation seems to be paying off as, according to them, the company has been growing steadily and gaining the favour of big customers such as TARGET, Univision or Sephora,  some of the customers that were present during the event.

From an enterprise BI/Analytics perspective, it seems DOMO has achieved a good balance in at least two major aspects that ensure BI adoption and consumption:

  • The way BI services can be offered to different user groups— especially to the C-level team— which requires a special degree of simplification, but at the same time an efficiency in the way the data is shown.
  • The way BI services can encapsulate complex data processing problems and hide them from the business user. 

Talking about this topic, during the conference we had the chance to see examples of the aforementioned aspects, both onstage and offstage. One with Christel Bouvron,  Head of Business Intelligence at Sephora Southeast Asia. Christel commented the following, in regards to the adoption and use of DOMO:

“We were able to hook in our data sets really quickly. I had sketched out some charts of what I wanted. They didn’t do that, but what they did was even better. I really liked that it wasn’t simply what I was asking for – they were trying to get at the business problem, the outcomes we were trying to get from it, and think about the bigger picture.”

A good example of the shift DOMO wants to convey is that they are now changing the approach from addressing a business problem with a technical perspective, to addressing the business problem with business perspective but having a technical platform in the background to support it. Of course this needs to come with the ability to effectively encapsulate technical difficulties in a way that is efficient and consumable for the business.

Christel Bouvron at DomoPalooza 2017 (Photo coutesy of DOMO)

It was also good to hear from the customers that they acknowledge that the process wasn’t always that smooth, but it helped to trigger an important cultural shift within their organization.

The takeaway

Attending Domopalooza 2017 was informative and very cool indeed. DOMO’s team showed me a thing or two about the true business of DOMO and its interaction with real customers; this includes the fact that DOMO is not a monolithic solution. Besides its already rich set of features, it enables key customization aspects to provide unique customers with unique ways to solve their problems. While DOMO is a software rather than a service company, customers expressed satisfaction with the degree of customization and services DOMO provides —this was especially true with large companies.

DOMO has done a great job to simplify the data consumption process in a way that data feeds are digestible enough. The solution concentrates more on the business problem rather than the technical one, giving many companies the flexibility and time to make the development of business intelligence solutions more agile and effective. Although these results might not be fully achieved in all cases, DOMO’s approach certainly can help organizations to from a more agile and fast deployment process, thus, more efficient and productive.

Despite being a cloud-based software company, DOMO seems to understand quite well that a great number of companies are working, for necessity or by choice, in hybrid cloud/on-premises environments, which enables the customer to easily connect and quickly interact with on-premises systems, whether this is a simple connection to a database/table source or it requires more sophisticated data extraction and transformation specifications.

There is no way that in the BI and Analytics market a company such as DOMO — or any other player in the market— will have a free ticket to success. The business intelligence market is diversifying as an increasing number of companies seem to need their services, but certainly
DOMO’s offering is, by all means, one to be considered when evaluating a new generation BI solution to meet the increasing demand for insights and data analysis.

Finally, well... what can be a better excuse to watch Styx's Mr. Roboto than this.

(All photos credited to Domo, Inc.)


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