You would never know
If you could ever be
If you never try
You would never see
—Lupe Fiasco, All Black Everything
A year ago I wrote about a very special entrepreneur, Christian Gheorghe, who escaped Communist Romania, migrated to America, and—after starting here with $27 as a limo driver and construction worker—eventually became a computer scientist and an entrepreneur. I indicated that just as he broke from an oppressive, totalitarian regime, he planned to free his customers from the oppression of enterprise software. Today Christian announces his new company Tidemark and I finally get to tell you how he will redefine and reinvent enterprise performance management and, more broadly, data analytics.
As we enter the age of the cloud/mobile platform, Tidemark provides a compelling example of why future applications will be far superior to the current generation. By properly using the bursting capabilities of the cloud, Tidemark benchmarks out at 1,000 times the performance of current solutions, which sometimes take 6 or 7 days to consolidate financials across a business. By using the iPad as the primary user interface target, Tidemark is highly accessible to business people and not just data analysts.
Both of these advances turn out to be critically important. If it takes a week to consolidate financial statements, then any scenario planning will be stale by a minimum of one week. In today’s real-time business environment, that’s ridiculous and certainly uncompetitive. Anybody who has been in business for any length of time knows that the data represents a portion, but not all of the business. In the same way that a map is not the terrain, the spreadsheet is not the business. As a result, having data analysts analyze data and the managers of the business attempt to make decisions on that basis is far from optimal. By making the data and its analysis directly available to the people with the knowledge, Tidemark transforms decision quality.
Beyond these platform advantages, Tidemark changes the nature of data analytics by ditching the two fundamental and problematic questions on which the existing industry is based:
What data do I have?
What reports do I want?
The trouble with these questions is that a) it is highly unlikely that you’ve gathered all of the relevant data in the right schema and format prior to needing it, b) businesses are not best represented in reports and c) the reports generally say very little that’s interesting about the future. As a result, companies that analyze their businesses with off-the-shelf products tend to do a far worse job than companies like Google who use data to achieve massive competitive advantage through teams of brilliant engineers.
Christian replaced these two ancient questions with far better ones:
How does our business work?
How do we want to measure it, understand it, and predict what will happen next?
Tidemark’s software begins by literally capturing a blueprint of the customer’s business. If you think of a business as a series of processes executed by a variety of people designed to create specific, measurable outcomes then you get the basic idea of how Tidemark defines a blueprint and aligns itself to the business. It’s a great alignment, because when you think about it, processes cover the import aspects of a business—product development process, sales process, financial planning process, etc. Tidemark enables companies to capture their process architecture and the related key performance indicators in software. Once Tidemark understands how a business works and how the company wants to measure and understand it, it can help the company forecast future results, scenario plan, and continuously improve.
For those of us who have been around this kind of software for years, Tidemark’s breakthroughs are breathtaking. It’s a product that delivers on a 30-year vision in the same way that the iPhone finally fulfilled the dream of the Newton.
Christian is the shining example of why an open and benevolent immigration policy for oppressed peoples is the right one. Before he is done, he will make thousands of U.S. businesses more competitive, employ many Americans, and lead the way for other companies to follow and improve their approach to software. And all we had to do was give him a chance.