World Economic Forum Tech Pioneers & Analytics Winners

World Economic Forum selected its 2015 Tech Pioneers, which included quite a few companies on the cutting edge of Analytics, Big Data, and Machine Learning.

By Patrick Rogers (Ayasdi).

You do not need to be told of the growing importance of machine intelligence for solving complex analytic problems– you see it every day.  Still, it helps to take stock of just how far that progression has come in a few short years.

WEFOne of those opportunities occurred on Wednesday when the World Economic Forum announced their class of Technology Pioneers for 2015. This year’s class is, as previous Tech Pioneer classes, was divided into IT, Life Sciences & Health, and Energy/Environment/Infrastructure.

What was notable, however, was the pervasive theme of advanced analytics, for extracting knowledge from data across this class.  About 20% of the companies selected as Technology Pioneers talk about themselves in terms of analytics, machine learning, artificial intelligence and virtually every company uses advanced analytics as a key ingredient to their success.

The “wheelhouse” companies, where BI or Analytics IS the business model include Ayasdi, Alation, Dataminr, Domo, OpenGov, Stem, and Vicarious.  These companies (almost all of them Silicon Valley based) are on the cutting edge of the analytics movement, a movement that has rapidly progressed past storage and into knowledge generation.

These companies are focused extracting the insights that lie within the genomic sequences, the government records, the social noise, the electronic medical records and using those insights to make the world a better place.  The WEF committee looks at a number of elements to make its selection including innovation, potential impact and leadership.  Perhaps more importantly, they are looking at Viability and the presence of a Working Prototype.  That is, the companies on this list are not just talking about new approaches, they are delivering results.

In addition to these "wheelhouse" companies there are another 20% for which analytics power the business – making what they do for customers and consumers possible.  Those include cyber-security companies such as Darktrace, Data Theorem and healthcare companies like Healthtap, Inscopix and just to name a few.

This is a material change from previous years.  Last year, “wheelhouse” analytics companies represented just 8% of the winners.  In 2013 and 2012, there was just one “wheelhouse” analytic company.

What is driving the pervasiveness of analytics in this year’s crop of Technology Pioneers?  One thing is where we are in the technology development cycle for big data.

If you think about the big data ecosystem as having three parts: storage, analytics and visualization you realize that over the past number of years analytics has been under-innovated relative to the other components – something that can be determined by looking at the number of companies that have or will shortly go public in storage and visualization compared to the number of companies that have or are slated to go public in analytics.

Gartner has picked up on this trend through their survey work, publishing data ahead of the BI & Advanced Analytics Summit that found tha analytics, and not just run of the mill analytics but hardcore, predictive analytics was the #1 thing on the mind of buyers. This underscores what smart people like Gartner’s Svetlana Sicular has been saying – you need better analytics to make the investments in storage and visualization pay off.

Storage is a known problem at this point.  In fact, there is not a single “database” vendor in this year’s crop and only one BI player.

Analytics represent the frontier. We are excited to be a part of that frontier with some great companies.

Bio: Patrick Rogers is the CMO of Ayasdi. Ayasdi is one of the companies listed in the article.