Businesses have increasingly turned to mobile and Web apps as a source of revenue and customer feedback. That’s good for the developers and software engineers actually building the apps, not to mention the app-store vendors who take their cut of any revenue. However, apps and associated APIs also generate an enormous amount of data well outside the businesses’ borders—data that can provide considerable insight into customer sentiment, revenue trends, and other vital areas.
Apigee’s new platform, Apigee Insights, marries data from the businesses’ API programs with internal datasets, additionally fortified by online data sources. In theory, that gives the business or developer a holistic view of their “app economy” and its impact on broader fortunes. That added context lets companies see whether a particular problem—softening revenue, say—is related to app customers or an internal issue, for example.
“In the app economy, where business is often conducted through mobile and social channels, organizations no longer own—much less control—all the data they need to make accurate business decisions,” Chet Kapoor, CEO of Apigee, wrote in a statement. “Every enterprise needs to rethink their data platform for this new world. Those that can capture, add context and analyze new broad data sources outside of the enterprise will succeed.”
Apigee is plunging into a crowded market filled with some very big competitors. Oracle, SAP, IBM, and other sizable IT vendors have expended considerable resources on platforms for analyzing vast stores of structured and unstructured data. Whenever any of these companies stumble upon a unique take on analytics, one of its rivals rushes to market with something similar. For example, SAP has bet its farm on its HANA in-memory technology, which forms the “glue” binding many of its analytics products—but it could face a determined opponent in Microsoft, which is prepping an in-memory project known as “Hekaton” for its next major SQL Server release.
For Apigee, then, the challenge is all too typical: push its platform as superior (by virtue of its technology) to other analytics offerings on the market. The question is whether that crowded marketplace will allow Apigee to succeed.