Sector Spotlight—Trend Watch 2016: Analytics

Analytics will be one of the main growth areas in software next year. As more organizations realize the power of their internal, machine-generated and customer data, they are increasingly turning to business intelligence/analytics software, particularly solutions that visualize information in an easy-to-understand format that shows key trends and insights. The goal is to extract useful intelligence from the data in order to operate in a more efficient and profitable manner.

Analytics software is one piece of the Big Data megatrend. A new forecast from research firm IDC predicts the Big Data technology and services market for the period from 2014 to 2019 will expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23.1%, reaching $48.6 billion. Information management and analytics software is expected to be the fastest-growing component of Big Data, expanding at a CAGR of 26.2%, topping the services CAGR of 22.7% and a CAGR of 21.7% for the infrastructure segment (made up of compute, networking, storage and datacenter security), according to IDC.

Manufacturing, financial services and media are among the top industries embracing Big Data analytics solutions. All of these industries are able to gain useful insights from assorted data trends. For example, a pharmaceuticals company can track different manufacturing processes for vaccines to help improve yield and actual production run rates. A bank can analyze online and branch visits of customers in order to improve the overall experience. A movie company can graph out how individual films perform across multiple regions at various times of the year based on different types of advertising campaigns.

One of the main beneficiaries of the Big Data megatrend is Next Wave Portfolio holding Tableau Software (DATA), a provider of data visualization analytics solutions. The company is expanding at a rapid clip, with third quarter revenue growing 64% thanks to strong adoption by new customers and healthy follow-on sales to existing accounts. In the September quarter, Tableau brought on a record 3,100+ new customers. For the first nine months of the year, the company added 8,700+ new accounts, bringing the total customer base to more than 35,000.

Tableau in the third quarter closed 296 deals worth more than $100,000 (up from 233 in the previous quarter), while 12 customers (from nine different industries) each spent more than $1 million with the company. Tableau has a variety of customers across all major industries, including a large global consumer products company that uses its software to track inventory details for different departments as well as buying patterns across 170 countries.

The latest version of Tableau’s software offers more ways to answer questions from data, making it easy for even a casual user to generate valuable insights. In addition, Tableau 9.1 has various options for connecting multiple data sources, making it much more useful than analytics tools that are optimized for individual platforms (such as Microsoft Power BI, Salesforce Wave and Amazon AWS QuickSight). While those standalone solutions might be good enough for some customers, their platform-specific nature and lack of advanced capabilities don’t match the full features offered by Tableau. For an organization to gain the most from its data, it can’t limit the number of sources. Tableau has also been improving its mobile experience; the company’s new Vizable standalone mobile app allows customers to graph out data trends on the fly via a tablet device.

Following the release of strong third quarter results, Tableau shares, which in September traded to a 52-week low of $76.01 on overblown concerns about increased competition, had a one-day rally of 21%. The stock, recently trading around $93.50, is comfortably off that low, but still well below the all-time high of $131.34 reached in July.

For 2015, the upwardly revised revenue guidance range (the third guidance boost this year) of $645 million to $650 million represents growth of 58% at the high end. Looking ahead to next year, Tableau’s initial revenue guidance of $845 million to $865 million (growth of 32% at the midpoint) looks quite conservative based on recent upside momentum in the business.

Splunk (SPLK) is another company benefiting from solid enterprise demand for analytics solutions. It provides software used to monitor, manage and analyze machine-generated data across multiple formats and sources. The Next Wave Portfolio holding reports its fiscal third quarter results this week; analysts on average expect top-line growth of 38.1% for the October quarter. In the fiscal second quarter (ended July), revenue advanced 46%, with deferred revenue up 55%.

Splunk, boasting a customer base of more than 10,000 across a broad cross section of industries, has been having a lot of success selling its software for security use cases, as security solutions hold a lot of machine data. Thanks in large part to the build-out of the security business, Merrill Lynch estimates Splunk’s total addressable market now stands at $45 billion, up from $29 billion at the time of the IPO back in April 2012. In the fiscal second quarter, the Splunk Enterprise Security solution experienced triple-digit bookings growth, with an emphasis on new customer additions. The company recently purchased privately held Caspida, adding behavioral analytics and machine learning capabilities to better detect advanced and insider threats to networks.

Last month, Splunk announced a partnership with management consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton centered around cybersecurity for public sector and commercial organizations. The two companies will work together to accelerate the detection/mitigation of cyber threats and develop predictive analytics. The first joint offering involves incident response, enabling teams to quickly conduct post-breach analyses to figure out areas of weakness. Another area of focus will be security related to the Internet of Things (IoT). Booz Allen Hamilton already uses Splunk Enterprise as the core of its Cyber4Sight threat intelligence managed service.

For fiscal 2016 (ending January), the consensus revenue estimate of $632.5 million represents growth of 40.3%. The fiscal 2017 consensus estimate of $832.2 million (growth of 31.6%) looks easy to beat because Splunk has been adding new accounts at a steady pace (500+ in the fiscal second quarter), signing a lot more larger deals (the number of contracts worth greater than $100,000 in the July quarter advanced 45%) and seeing more demand for Enterprise Adoption Agreements (customers standardizing on the Splunk platform over a contract period of three years). The Street-high revenue estimate for fiscal 2017 of $879.5 million represents growth of 39%.

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