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Big Data App Store Opens For Business

Datameer analytic applications market lets data scientists, subject matter experts sell analytic apps directly to end users.

Analytics software developer Datameer has launched the world's first app market designed specifically for big data applications. The Datameer Analytic Applications Market allows users of the company's Hadoop-based analytics tools to buy and sell apps created with Datameer 2.1, the latest version of company's spreadsheet-based development tool.

"We're announcing a new approach to alleviating the so-called data scientist shortage, and we're making data analytics usable by anyone," said Datameer CEO Stefan Groschupf in a phone interview with InformationWeek.

The Datameer application enables Hadoop users to create business infographics and data visualizations quickly and without having to write code. Its drag-and-drop design tools, as well as spreadsheet interface with more than 220 functions, allow less-technical users to combine multiple sources of structured and unstructured data.

"If you use Microsoft Excel, you can use our product," said Groschupf.

[ How are campaigns using data analytics to reach undecided voters? Read Big Data Chases Election 2012 Undecided Voters. ]

Developers will need the new Datameer 2.1, which includes free and paid versions, to build apps for the Analytic Applications Market. The free trial version of Datameer can create apps, which run only on the free version.

To charge money for an app, a developer needs the paid version of Datameer, which ranges from $299 for the personal (single-user) edition, to $2,999 for the workgroup version that supports up to 50 users. The enterprise version (pricing varies) supports an unlimited number of users.

One of Datameer's goals with the Analytic Applications Market is to save its users the hassle of reinventing the wheel every time they need to start a new analytics project. According to Groschupf, Datameer users have analyzed more than 80 petabytes of data over the past year. During that time, the company has noticed that its customers often run similar analytic operations.

Rather than building custom analytic apps--a drain of time, energy, and money--Datameer customers can browse the Analytic Applications Market to see if there's an app that suites their needs. They can also submit requests for a particular app to Datameer's developer community. Since Datameer apps are customizable, end users can configure the analytics to suit their specific use case, the company says.

Datameer is seeding its Applications Market with a selection of free apps, including Twitter Sentiment Analytics, Email Exchange Analytics, and analysis tools for exploring Facebook and Salesforce data. Developers can set their own price for their apps, and there's no minimum or maximum fee, the company says.

For data scientists and subject matter experts (SMEs) the App Market could provide a potential revenue stream. "Customers have a high demand for data scientists, and it's very difficult to get those data scientists," said Groschupf. "It makes sense for customers who have similar or identical use cases to provide pre-packaged applications."

Industry analyst Mark Smith, CEO and chief research officer of Ventana Research, thinks that Datameer's Application Market addresses a need for big data analytic apps that currently isn't being met in the marketplace. In addition, the company's products have "some great visualization and interactive capabilities," he told InformationWeek via email.

"Analytic apps are not new, but doing them on big data, and providing useful insights from visualizations is," Smith wrote. "Using domain experts and others who can adapt them to meet specific needs is a good step forward."

Enterprises are struggling to find data scientists to analyze their big data streams. A 2011 study by the McKinsey Global Institute predicts the U.S. could face a shortage of some 190,000 data scientists by 2018.

"Hadoop adoption is growing so fast that demand for analytics far outpaces actual applications and available data scientists to build them," said Hortonworks president Herb Cunitz in a statement. "The Datameer Analytics App Market addresses this problem head-on by connecting business users with the expertise of data scientists via one-click applications, which will undoubtedly help move the entire Hadoop ecosystem forward."

In the Getting Started With Big Data webcast, InformationWeek Government will help government IT professionals understand the steps required to support large data volumes and find out how to apply that data to improve government operations and offer new public services. It happens Oct. 25.

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