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LucidEra Launches On-Demand Business Intelligence

LucidEra introduces its hosted business intelligence service for mid-size companies that are looking to replace the use of spreadsheets in analyzing sales and cash flow.
LucidEra on Tuesday launched its hosted business intelligence service for mid-size companies that are looking to replace the use of spreadsheets in analyzing sales and cash flow.

The San Maneo, Calif., company said its software-as-a-service offering includes connectors to popular data sources, data extraction, data cleansing, OLAP and reporting services.

The first version of LucidEra's service combines sales and financial data to give companies the opportunity to analyze events anytime from the creation of the sales opportunity to the invoicing of the customer. The service ties sales and marketing data in a customer-relationship management system with the financial data in an order-entry system. The service is able to retrieve data from systems such as Salesforce.com, Oracle and NetSuite.

The LucidEra dashboards can be set up using a drag and drop interface. Among the metrics subscribers can follow is each customer's progress from sales pitch, to order, to cash collection. Subscribers can also monitor quotes, pipeline, revenue, and expenses, as well as product sales, margins and discounts. In addition, users can get metrics on how quickly sales are moving through the billing cycle.

KACE, a maker of IT appliances for system configuration management, provisioning, policy compliance, and other tasks, uses LucidEra instead of spreadsheets to analyze data drawn from Salesforce.com and KACE's internal Peachtree accounting system. The Mountain View, Calif.-based, company has less than 100 employees, and has worked with LucidEra as a beta customer for the last couple of months.

To get started, KACE gave LucidEra access to its Salesforce.com account, and sent data from Peachtree, so LucidEra could determine its structure. Today, Salesforce.com feeds data daily to LucidEra, and information from Peachtree is uploaded once a month. "It's pretty much a painless process at this point," Rob Meinhardt, chief executive of KACE, said.

KACE chose LucidEra over Salesforce.com's BI tools, because the former was easier to use in terms of setting up dashboards and slicing and dicing data across systems. "It's a very large leap forward in terms of ease of use and reporting, compared to Salesforce.com," Meinhardt said. "It's basically horse and buggy compared to a Toyota hybrid."

Meinhardt, who heard of LucidEra through one of the company's investors, said he's using the online service to analyze data from the sales pipeline and accounts receivable to give him a better understanding of the company's cash flow.

LucidEra pricing begins at $3,000 per company per month for up to 100 users. The price includes the BI software and pre-built connectors to three data sources.