Alation, a California based data accessibility startup emerged from stealth mode last week to make available its enterprise data accessibility platform that promises to bring together machine learning and “human insight” to assist the data-driven organisation’s workforce in collaborative analytics, data search and discovery, data optimization and effective data governance.

“Our customers have just given up on trying to build that one system that contains all of the answers,” explains Satyen Sangani, co-founder and CEO of Alation. “The data is changing too fast, there are just too few analysts, and the business’ appetite for information is insatiable.”

“Alation is a system that tells the fastest way to get the right answer, whether it’s finding the right database, learning about best practice methods, appropriately modifying a query or asking an expert,” he added.

“What Google did for people, we’re going to do for data around the enterprise,” he notes.

Data outfits are faced with “data complexity and data sprawl” in analytical and OLTP systems, and so far, attempts to consolidate such troves have been found wanting, even with the advent of data management platforms such as Hadoop, business intelligence and analytics tools, enterprises and government still need to hire teams of consultants, data scientists and business analysts to get timely insights about the business, explains Alation.

Founded by a team hailing from backgrounds such as Oracle, Apple and AppNexus, the startup’s offering centralizes an organisation’s data silos, “automatically capturing information on what the data describes, where the data comes from, who’s using it and how it’s used,” allowing for a healthy nexus between analysts, stewards, data consumers and IT by “enabling them to share knowledge, exchange ideas and quickly find the answers they need.”

Alation’s offering claims to have been designed from the “ground up for simplification and automation,” is delivering solutions in four core areas:

  • Collaborative Analytics – Alation improves analyst productivity, delivers faster time-to-insight and lowers the cost of hiring and retaining analysts.
  • Data Search and Discovery – Alation’s unified search means analysts, data scientists, stewards, and data consumers can find the information they need, faster.
  • Data Optimization – Alation helps organizations realize infrastructure cost savings and a more efficient data infrastructure.
  • Effective Data Governance – Alation empowers data governance initiatives resulting in lower costs of compliance, lower operational risk, increased productivity for stewards and cost savings by automating the key areas of the governance process.

Alation is being used in production by customers like eBay, MarketShare, Invoice2Go and Inflection among other finance and retail firms.

Reduction in analyst on-boarding from years to months, ad hoc queries written in less than half the time and significant cost savings based on the identification of redundant data warehouse objects and reduced cost of governing data are some of the advantages being reported by customers.

“By using Alation, our analysts are realizing 50 percent or more in time savings for composing, sharing and learning queries,” notes Satya Ramachandran, SVP of Engineering and Managing Director, MarketShare. “What’s especially valuable is that Alation permits easy data exploration and helps us create ‘data stories’ for MarketShare clients,” he explains.

The Redwood City startup has garnered funding from Andreessen Horowitz, Bloomberg Beta, Costanoa Venture Capital, Data Collective and General Catalyst Partners.

Image credit: Alation

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