Lyzasoft's Non-Analytical Approach to Analytics - InformationWeek
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9/22/2008
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Lyzasoft's Non-Analytical Approach to Analytics

Lyzasoft, Inc. calls its Lyza software a "powerful desktop analytics solution." According to the company, Lyza "enables analysts to synthesize, explore, and visualize data, then to publish compelling presentations and dashboards." Lyza seems worth considering as a personal data-integration tool, but it appears to fall short of greater claims.

Lyzasoft, Inc. calls its Lyza software a "powerful desktop analytics solution." According to the company, Lyza "enables analysts to synthesize, explore, and visualize data, then to publish compelling presentations and dashboards." Lyza seems worth considering as a personal data-integration tool, but it appears to fall short of greater claims.According to Lyzasoft CEO Scott Davis, Lyza embodies an exploratory approach that, he says, Gartner calls discovery based analytics. The software features a columnar data store with multi-threaded processing that takes advantage of multi-core chips. An "XML model that sits beneath the application captures business rules, metadata, and [data] lineage."

My reaction: Aren't we beyond creating information silos that replicate data from central locations to desktops, that involve privately-held business rules?

The company's response: "Our collaboration story is built around shared meaning." According to Lyzasoft co-founder Brian Krasovec, "the notion of shared meaning is not simply access to a shared dictionary. It's access to someone who knows what the business data means." A collaboration service is targeted for June 2009 release.

Well, I guess you need to play up your strengths. The company's briefing materials offer benchmark results for a join test, an "un-indexed, intentional Cartesian join [of a] 10k row, 6 column, 0.4MB file [with a] 100k row, 6 column, 4MB file... to create 60mm row, 6 column, 3GB output." This benchmark has nothing to do with data analysis. Here's where the realization strikes that what is being presented is personal data-integration software rather than a data-analysis tool. (Myself, when I need to join tables, I'll do it in a DBMS.)

Lyza supports what it calls analytical workflows but which appear to consist mostly of data-transformation steps. The company states that Lyza offers visual and computational analytics. But we're not talking interactive visual analytics à la Tableau, and we're not talking advanced statistics. Even a basic regression function resides only on the development roadmap.

On the visualization front, Lyza appears to offer only standard tabular displays and common chart types such as pie and bar charts. My recollection from the briefing I received — I don't have this in my notes — is that Lyza doesn't even offer hierarchical dimensions.

Lyza's development is funded by Eyeris, a BI services company headed by Lyzasoft founders Scott Davis and Brian Krasovec. Davis said that Lyza was designed "for analysts, by analysts," yet Eyeris is not using the software on its own consulting engagements. Davis and colleguges explain that data transformation needs of Eyeris clients are very narrow in application, and Eyeris finds it is not appropriate to use a desktop tool in Fortune 500 client environments.

Lyza offers visual facilities for creating data-transformation workflows and for basic data analyses and presentation-software integration, albeit without robust collaboration capabilities. If you're looking for the claimed "all-in-one desktop software for analysts," I suggest you keep looking.Lyzasoft, Inc. calls its Lyza software a "powerful desktop analytics solution." According to the company, Lyza "enables analysts to synthesize, explore, and visualize data, then to publish compelling presentations and dashboards." Lyza seems worth considering as a personal data-integration tool, but it appears to fall short of greater claims.

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