BLOCK71 Singapore Entrepreneur Feature — Holistics
In this week’s Entrepreneur Feature, we speak to Vincent, CEO of Holistics, a startup looking to automate data operations for businesses and improve the productivity of data teams.
- What is Holistics and what do you do?
Holistics is a cloud business intelligence software that automates the data operations for business. We help data teams to be more productive in their daily data operations. We automate the manual tasks for them and get them the reports that they need to serve their business teams.
2. What is Holistics secret sauce?
The secret sauce of Holistics is the way that we engage business intelligence. When you talk about business intelligence to anybody, they think about business intelligence as just pretty dashboards, pretty charts that they can interact with. What people don’t recognise is that what the vendors show them during the demo is not actually what they get. Most of the time there’s a lot of work needed to prepare the data sets that can be visualised and explored. 80% of the effort that goes into preparing these reports are those under the iceberg that people don’t get to see. What we basically do is we take our data engineering background and automate these manual repetitive processes so that lean data teams can do the functions of what a large data team can do previously.
3. What is next for Holistics?
There’s two ways to look at it. From a product perspective, we are developing new features to help data teams with data governance, and that’s especially important in wake of Facebook, Cambridge Analytical, the new GDPR regulations that comes up. How can data teams protect their own companies’ data from being divulged to external parties? I think that’s what our customers are concerned about, that’s what we’re working with them on the data side. The second part of the product that we’re working on is that if you have to manage a large number of dashboards and reports, how can you simplify the management of it which goes into meta-data management? How do you string them together? How can you make more templates out of them? How can you make it even seamless for people to build reports and even reduce the maintenance overhead? So that’s from a product perspective.
From a business perspective, we are working with channel partners to see how we can bring Holistics out into the market. These are analysts and consultants who have worked with customers and being able to help them ask more questions out of their data. As for Holistics, we are a data software company, we are good at answering questions you have from the data. Most of our customers do it themselves, some ask us to build the report for them, but there are customers who inevitably come to us and ask “Hey Vincent, what questions should I be asking for my data? What are my peers asking?” It’s not really a right approach for us to be telling them that. We are looking for data partners who can help us bring this next step forward, or to help non-tech companies with how to access data on the go online anytime. That’s where we need consultants to come in with a one-off set-up effort and we make the whole support process easy. That will make us easier to reach out to a larger group of people who likes our software.
4. What was your greatest challenge?
I think the greatest challenge is identifying the language that resonates with the audience about what we do. If you look at what happens in the business intelligence space, often the output is the same, it’s just dashboards, charts, and reports. So how are we able to communicate it to non-technical audiences who don’t work with data? How is it we can improve the lives of their data teams? How is it we can get them faster time to answers? I think we’ve actually iterated a few. Through talking to our customers, through interacting with different groups of people, we’ve found out what the core problem that we are solving is like. The problem that people have is about their data operations. If it takes you a long time to get answers to your data, if you have friction to access those data, then no matter how pretty your charts are, you can’t get them out in the first place. By focusing on this area, we get people to resonate and say “Hey, BI is not about pretty visuals and charts. It’s about how can you get faster time to your answers and how can you automate the mundane so you can free up your team’s time.”
5. What are some of your better memories at BLOCK71?
I think that we have a lot of memories at BLOCK71. It started a few years ago and we had all these young startups coming in and how we’ve worked, interacted, and networked with each other. One significant one was the Founder’s Breakfast where every one of the startups came together and talked about certain topics, be it PR, in terms of marketing, sales, and there was also a topic on data. That actually opened up a lot of discussion topics and conversation topics that we can engage and we know better about each other’s challenges. So I think that we have better friendships forged that way through these sessions and a lot more understanding about how different startups are facing the same struggles.
6. What is Holistics looking for?
If you are a data person working with a lot of data coming from different places and you’re looking for a way to automate how you prepare your regular reports or adhoc reports, you can check out what we’re doing at www.holistics.io. We have worked with lots of data teams and there’s zero learning curve to use our software be it for the person preparing the report or the people consuming the report data. Do check us out and let us know for a free trial and what you think.
Watch the full video interview with Vincent from Holistics here:
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If you are inspired by this story and have a start-up idea of your own, you can also apply to join the BLOCK71 ecosystem at http://bit.ly/BLOCK71SGApply !