SaaS BI Vendor LucidEra Set to Fold

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On-demand BI (business intelligence) vendor LucidEra is winding down its operations and has put its intellectual property up for sale, a person familiar with the company's situation said Monday.

While the vendor is no longer selling software, its service is still live and the company is working with customers on transition plans, according to the source.

It is unlikely LucidEra will continue operating as a stand-alone entity, but more news could emerge in coming days, the source said.

The San Mateo, California, vendor's troubles come just one week after it announced the latest version of its software, which helps sales organizations analyze financial and CRM (customer relationship management) application data.

The company received US$15.6 million in Series B venture capital funding in August 2007.

LucidEra's competitors, which include PivotLink, Good Data and Birst, reacted quickly to the company's apparent demise.

"I am not happy to see LucidEra disappearing. It is not a good sign for the SaaS BI market in general and the startups in our space specifically," Good Data CEO Roman Stanek said in a blog post.

However, he added, "LucidEra was probably too expensive for small companies and too limited for large ones. ... I am sure we will see the era of success of on-demand analytics."

Overall, SaaS BI remains a small niche in the overall market, with various products often focusing on a particular area of business, such as sales or human resources, according to a recent Forrester Research report.

The SaaS model for BI does have some advantages, such as lower up-front costs due to subscription pricing, as well as quicker implementation and little to no burden on internal IT teams. But those pluses in turn can mean "a loss of control and integration with the rest of the enterprise data, information, and processes," the report added.

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