Software // Information Management
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6/23/2009
02:46 PM
Doug Henschen
Doug Henschen
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Is the LucidEra Over?

The Industry Standard reported yesterday that SaaS-base BI vendor LucidEra is set to shutter the business and put all assets up for sale. The story named only "a person familiar with the company's situation" as the source. There's no official word on the Web site and all my attempts to reach the company have failed thus far.

Chris Kanaracus of The Industry Standard reported yesterday that SaaS-base BI vendor LucidEra is set to shutter the business and put all assets up for sale. The story named only "a person familiar with the company's situation" as the source. There's no official word on the Web site and all my attempts to reach the company have failed thus far.

[Update: Darren Cunningham, LucidEra's VP of Marketing, responded to inquiries 6/23 at 3:40 pm ET with the following e-mail message:

All that I can say at this time is that our product and pipeline were both stronger than they'd ever been. Customer adoption was growing, which was reflected in the 20+ 5-star reviews on the Salesforce AppExchange since January. We got hit by just really, really bad timing to have to be raising our next round of funding in this economic climate. Right now, various options are being looked at in the best interest of our creditors, customers, employees, and shareholders. There should be resolution for everyone involved soon so there is an orderly transition.]

Competitors including Birst and MyDials have used this news as an opportunity to launch PR campaigns picking over the carcass. It escapes me why some vendors and PR people think a dose of Schadenfreude is a good way to raise the stature and profile of your own company/client. Whether it's a bankruptcy, poor quarterly earnings or other bad news, I seldom see how it says anything positive about (or should invite comment from) a competitor. Ford, in contrast, is riding a tide of favorable press and public sentiment these days not because it is out there saying "our competitors are bankrupt, here's where they went wrong and here's what we're doing right." Rather, Ford has focused solely on its own positive story in the midst of an otherwise unfavorable business climate.

I didn't cover LucidEra too much partly because I didn't view it as SaaS-based BI (even though the company pitched it as such at launch). I always viewed LucidEra as offering a fairly narrow, SaaS-based forecast-to-billing application that was highly dependent upon the ancillary needs of Salesforce.com customers.

When I think of SaaS-based BI, I think of CrystalReports.com, PivotLink, Oco and Birst, which are all more broadly about sharing and analyzing data through easily deployed, SaaS-based resources. PivotLink and Oco, do cater to industry and application niches, but the niches are broader and more numerous than LucidEra offered. I also think of Adaptive Planning, a SaaS- and on-premise-based performance management offering that is capitalizing on the need to quickly improve financial visibility without investing a bundle to get there.

Reports have it that LucidEra's venture capital is running out, and there's no doubt that in this economy, funding will not be forthcoming where demand is perceived to be weak. I've seen opinions about LucidEra's underlying technology and other factors contributing to the company's apparent demise. My takeaway is that the appeal of the SaaS delivery model is only as strong as the need for the underlying software. Simple as that.The Industry Standard reported yesterday that SaaS-base BI vendor LucidEra is set to shutter the business and put all assets up for sale. The story named only "a person familiar with the company's situation" as the source. There's no official word on the Web site and all my attempts to reach the company have failed thus far.

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