December, 2010

Posts
  • Windows Azure Marketplace DataMarket Blog

    Real World DataMarket: Interview with Dean Stoecker, President at Alteryx

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    As part of the Real World DataMarket series, we talked to Dean Stoecker, President at Alteryx, about using DataMarket (part of the Windows Azure Marketplace), to offer customers faster time-to-market, more flexibility, and less work when using Alteryx business intelligence (BI) solutions. Here’s what he had to say:

    MSDN: Tell us about Alteryx and the services you offer.

    Stoecker: Alteryx makes geographic business intelligence software to help companies in many industries make sense of vast amounts of data. Retailers, for example, use our software to combine and analyze demographic, traffic, income, and other data to determine where to open new stores. Our software is easier to use than many traditional BI software programs, so more people in an organization can use it.

    MSDN: What prompted you to look into DataMarket?

    Stoecker: We’ve done a good job of delivering our software to business users over the web as software-as-a-service (SaaS). But we wanted to help developers incorporate our technology into their solutions and get to market faster. Also, we had to anticipate the data sets that these developers might need. Customers wanted more control over how they consumed our application.

    MSDN: How has DataMarket helped?

    Stoecker: We can list individual APIs [application programming interfaces] on DataMarket for purchase—an API for store location functionality, for example. Instead of developing all the code needed to create geolocation functionality in an application, a developer simply picks up our API from DataMarket and snaps it into his or her application.

    MSDN: So you’re packaging your software in smaller, more easily consumable chunks?

    Stoecker: Essentially, yes. We’re offering our technology as small, specific services that developers can use as needed to save themselves some development time. They also do not have to license and manage third-party data sets. They can pull data from DataMarket and let Microsoft take care of licensing and management.

    MSDN: What are you offering on DataMarket?

    Stoecker: We have five APIs on DataMarket so far, all providing geolocation-related services. One, for example, helps retail businesses determine new store locations. From DataMarket, customers can pull U.S. Census data, consumer expenditure data, geospatial data, traffic data, and other data sets. They can then integrate these data sets and the Alteryx APIs into their own applications, often cutting development time from weeks to hours.

    MSDN: Would you have been able to sell your APIs without a framework like DataMarket?

    Stoecker: That’s another good point. We had long wanted to offer our technology as pure web services, but building an e-commerce-enabled data community is an expensive proposition—in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. By using DataMarket, we let Microsoft assume that expense. We get the benefit of posting our offerings on an online marketplace without the burden of maintaining the e-commerce infrastructure.

    MSDN: So, how would you summarize the benefits of integrating DataMarket into your business model?

    Stoecker: By incorporating DataMarket into our BI solutions and business model, we can give our customers more flexibility and faster time-to-market, reduce our development work and costs, and open up more opportunity to grow our business. Customers can make their own choices, and you can’t put a dollar figure on the value of giving customers the ability to build what they want.

    Read the full story at: www.microsoft.com/casestudies/casestudy.aspx?casestudyid=4000008818

    To read more about DataMarket, visit: https://datamarket.azure.com

  • Windows Azure Marketplace DataMarket Blog

    Real World DataMarket: Interview with Greg Kirkorsky, Senior Vice President for the Americas at STATS

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    As part of the Real World DataMarket series, we talked to Greg Kirkorsky, Senior Vice President for the Americas at STATS, about using DataMarket (a part of Windows Azure Marketplace) to support his company’s entry into the global consumer market. Here’s what he had to say:

    MSDN: Let’s start by talking about STATS.

    Kirkorsky: Sure. STATS provides real-time sports data, historical information, and turnkey fantasy operations to sports organizations and media companies of all types. If you’re holding a baseball card, looking up sports data on a website, or watching the electronic crawl across the bottom of your TV screen during a sports report, you’re probably looking at information that originated with STATS.

    MSDN: What motivated you to look at DataMarket?

    Kirkorsky: STATS is the leading sports data provider in its business-to-business markets, but we lacked a presence in the global consumer market. We saw this as an area of vast potential growth. But we also saw it as a high-risk market with massive costs of entry. We have global data centers, but we anticipated needing to build them out considerably to support anticipated growth. We’d then have a major marketing expense to bring consumers to our data. It would also be costly to build and maintain a pricing and invoicing infrastructure. We wanted to enter the consumer market—but we wanted to mitigate the risks while reducing the costs.

    MSDN: Tell us about working with Microsoft to maximize your participation in DataMarket.

    Kirkorsky: We worked with Microsoft to define the sports data sets that we intended to expose and the data structures for supporting that information. We chose data sets on game-by-game and year-to-date statistics, as well as live scores, for baseball and football. Microsoft provided guidance on using the pricing and invoicing infrastructure that is built into DataMarket.

    MSDN: How are you hosting your DataMarket data?

    Kirkorsky: Although we have our own data centers, we chose to host the databases for DataMarket in Microsoft SQL Azure. It gave us complete flexibility to make the best technical decisions regarding our data. It also provided the greatest ease of implementation for DataMarket. We know that with SQL Azure, we’re getting guaranteed scalability, reliability, and performance—factors that are essential for a smooth entry into a new market.

    MSDN: How do you expect consumers to use your data on DataMarket?

    Kirkorsky: Anyone with a spreadsheet can link up with our data—but that’s just the beginning. Consumers can use STATS data with any Microsoft graphing, charting, or visualization tools they already have. They can use any new data tools that Microsoft makes available for DataMarket customers. We’re building our own visualization products and we could make those available to customers through DataMarket. There is also the potential for mash-ups with other content providers on DataMarket, and for partnerships with independent software developers who want to build STATS data into their applications.

    MSDN: Sum up the benefits from your participation in DataMarket—both actual and projected.

    Kirkorsky: We’ve extended our reach to vast numbers of new customers around the world and gained a way to enter a new market while minimizing our investment. We estimate we’ve reduced our investment cost by U.S.$1 million over what we would have spent to build our own consumer infrastructure. Also, we’ve avoided the need to create and manage our own billing infrastructure and fulfillment service.

    Read the full story at: www.microsoft.com/casestudies/casestudy.aspx?casestudyid=4000008815

    To read more about DataMarket, visit:

    https://datamarket.azure.com

  • Windows Azure Marketplace DataMarket Blog

    DataMarket Section 508 Compliance & FISMA Certification

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    At Microsoft, we are committed to developing products that are accessible to everyone. We take a strategic approach to accessibility by focusing on integrating accessibility into product planning, research and development, product development, and testing. As such, we are very excited to announce that DataMarket is Section 508 compliant and that the Windows Azure Marketplace DataMarket v1.0 Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) is now available on the Microsoft Section 508 VPATs site.

    At this time, we are also announcing our intent to secure certification for DataMarket to demonstrate compliance with the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA). FISMA establishes responsibility and accountability for the security of all federal agency information systems and defines security requirements that must be met by all US Federal government information systems.

    -The DataMarket Team

  • Windows Azure Marketplace DataMarket Blog

    Windows Azure Marketplace DataMarket for Government

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    DataMarket recently announced Section 508 compliance and the intent to secure certification for DataMarket to demonstrate compliance with the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA).

    On Friday, we published the new DataMarket for Government page which highlights these as well as how DataMarket, enables governments to achieve their goals of transparency, participation and collaboration, streamlining the process of publishing data, and making it easier for constituents to access the data from the applications they currently use. The key attributes of DataMarket that make it particularly suitable for government agencies are that it provides a Scalable and Rich Data Ecosystem built on a scalable Windows Azure platform, provides an easy mechanism to federate data (fold in semantic web concepts, federation API concepts).

    - The DataMarket Team

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