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2/27/2013
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Cubeware Launches Big Data App Store

BISTRO, a new Hadoop-based apps market, offers business intelligence software and tools that save organizations time and trouble, says Cubeware.

Big Data's Surprising Uses: From Lady Gaga To CIA
Big Data's Surprising Uses: From Lady Gaga To CIA
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Business intelligence (BI) software provider Cubeware Thursday announced BISTRO, a new repository designed to provide Cubeware users with customized, Hadoop-based BI applications, tools and code libraries.

BISTRO, which stands for Business Intelligence Store Real-time Operations, is now open in beta form, the company said. "We're starting with about 20 apps, but we're sure a couple of months later we'll have about 100," Cubeware CEO Wolfgang Seybold told InformationWeek in a phone interview. "We kept it small and limited. Most of our partners are still packaging, coming up with marketing materials, that sort of thing."

Founded 15 years ago, Cubeware is based in Rosenheim, Germany, and specializes in BI software for mid-size companies and departments of large corporations. Its customers include Audi, Siemens, Deutsche Bank and Nintendo.

BISTRO also is designed to offer Cubeware's business partners an opportunity to earn license revenues from their customized BI applications, Seybold said.

[ Big data has value that's often not reflected in the books. Read What's Your Big Data Worth? ]

In addition to functioning as an app store, BISTRO will include a searchable knowledge center of best practices, a tool library and resource center, and a partner community. "BISTRO is not just a catalog. It's what we call an operating environment, a cloud environment," said Seybold. "We use it as a platform for our partners to market their apps worldwide."

One of Cubeware's customers in Italy, for instance, has devised templates and algorithms for the dairy industry. The software analyzes the butter-making process to prevent spoilage. "They're very sophisticated in this particular industry, but they didn't have the marketing muscle to market their app outside of Italy -- with very few exceptions -- in the past," said Seybold, who added that the BISTRO app store could help them market to a broader audience.

However, some BISTRO apps likely will be limited to a particularly country or geographical region. "There are apps -- for example, those for German banking and reporting requirements -- which are very specific to this country," said Seybold. "It doesn't make sense to sell them outside (of Germany) because they only address a German compliance need."

Unlike consumer-oriented apps available in Apple and Android apps stores, Cubeware users probably will need to customize BISTRO apps to suit their particular business environment. "It's basically a template where the problem has been solved before," Seybold said. "Usually it takes some customization because data structures for these companies are different. We call it 'some assembly required.' There's a lot already there, but (the apps) still need to be adjusted."

BISTRO isn't the only Hadoop-oriented app store targeting big data platforms. Last fall, for instance, analytics software developer Datameer launched an app market designed for big data operations. Its Datameer Analytic Applications Market enables users of the company's Hadoop-based analytics tools to buy and sell apps created with Datameer's spreadsheet-based development tools.

Proponents of big data app stores see the concept as a potential solution to the looming data scientist shortage, a quandary where organizations struggle to find highly educated workers with the right combination of technical and social skills to manage their big-data platforms.

"Very large companies -- say, Fortune 500 -- will be able to maintain their own staff of data scientists," said Seybold. "But for mid-size companies, it will be plainly impossible. And the way they will consume algorithms will be through application stores."

The biggest advantage of BISTRO is that it allows organizations, particularly smaller companies, to share algorithms, documentation and best practices, Seybold said.

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