RedMonk is not your standard technology analyst firm.The group are more than report writers. They are bloggers. They are active on the social Web. Their research is public.
RedMonk analysts are respected as some of the keenest observers of the development community. Their whole focus is on developers. The formula works as you can see from the client list, which includes companies such as IBM, SAP and Hewlett-Packard.
And so we took notice today when Redmonk's Stephn O'Grady wrote a blog post about the company's first product: RedMonk Analytics. It's a service they internally call Project Arturus - a near real-time research tool that has the potential to become a full fledged software as a service. It's a tool primed to analyze big data.
"RedMonk's business model has always included the creation of free content to developers, because they are and always have been the lifeblood of the firm. Years ago, we began to identify patterns and trends from the consumption of that content via web analytics. Watching the way that developers interacted with the content, on the site or off, through search engines or third party services like Twitter, we learned more about what developers wanted and who they were. With the launch of RedMonk Analytics, we'll be sharing that knowledge with you for the first time."
A real-time analytics tool is something you don't see from analyst firms. Most have armies of people who write reports that range in price from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Few, if any, have cloud-based, real-time research tools for subscribers to the analyst firm's offerings.
O'Grady says Project Arturus is designed to aggregate data that RedMonk collects, be it from its own Web site or partners. The data is aggregated and analyzed according to different criteria. The service is cutomized for clients, who select topics to explore. It is then prepopulated with, as an example, open source and big data metrics. Reports wil initially explore who the developers are, what they are reading and what they are asking about. It uses APIs from service providers such as Google Analytics.
On the blog, O'Grady describes the service in context to what the venture community calls an "investment thesis":
"This, as Fred Wilson describes it, is the lens through which investors see the world and a potential investment's place in it. RedMonk is in the analyst business rather than the venture game, but if we had an investment thesis it would be simple: developers. Using the term loosely, of course. In a devops world, we use developers interchangeably to refer to sysadmins, designers, architects and even the odd enlightened DBA. Geeks, makers, call them what you will: they are our people. As James put it, "At RedMonk we celebrate the practitioner and their methods." In a world in which "there's an app for that" has been trademarked, the idea that these folks are important doesn't seem that radical, but trust me: things were not always thus."
It's a bit fascinating for me, sitting in this kitchen chair where I sometimes write, thinking about data, how people are using it and for what advantage. Project Arcturus is comparable in many ways to the tools I use for my work. It's a business intelligence tool that shows information. It is designed to help understand and act upon data that is presented. It's geared for the coming big data world that is increasingly used to help us do our work.
O'Grady compares today's big data movement to the time when Amazon Web Services (AWS) emerged, circa 2006. It's evident that may of the tools we use today are products of what has come out of the developer boom of the past few years. In 2006, AWS had entered the market by offering a service that proved to be a favorite in the development community. It was cheap and had tremendous compute capabilities.
Now, we are in a time where we are still trying to understand the capabilities of the aggregated computing capabilities offered by services such as AWS, Rackspace or Windows Azure. But developers are the difference. They are testing the edges of what is possible. And at the edges are further explorations into how big data is applied to make applications more intelligent and more useful.
RedMonk Analytics is offering a distinctive service compared to what most analyst firms provide. The service does compete with traditional tools but real-time technologies are for the most part homegrown. It's a classic fragmented market.
The challenge for RedMonk will come with how they develop the tool. RedMonk's value is in its approachability. You can still be approachable with a SaaS service but the dynamics are entirely different. How that dynamic changes RedMonk will be the biggest question of all.
As for now, you may wonder what Project Arturus means. Well, it all comes back to the Simpson's episode when Homer Simpson worked with James Bond villain, Hank Scorpio on a very evil plan. For as Homer says "Project Arcturus couldn't have been successful without you, the developers."
See what we mean? RedMonk is not your ordinary analyst firm.