ClearStory Data Introduces Analytics for Everyone

The company description says it all: "We founded ClearStory Data to make it easy to gather and explore big, diverse, dispersed data for faster and more intuitive insights."

ClearStory focuses on making software that allows organizations of all sizes to blend their own data with vast amounts of publicly available data, reported a post in the New York Times blog, Bits. In other words, here's an innovative company leveling the playing field for big data analysis.

The software draws this data from databases, Hadoop, and the Web, the company’s Website says. Specific sources mentioned in the Times post include data marts like Datasift, Factual, Microsoft's Windows Azure Data Marketplace, and Infochimps.

“There aren’t enough experts at companies to handle all these data sources,” Sharmila Shahani-Mulligan, ClearStory co-founder and CEO, told the Times. At the same time, she said, ClearStory wants to give small brick-and-mortar stores a do-it-yourself way to use big data effectively, even if they don’t have teams of data scientists like big Web 2.0 companies do.

“We’re about making data consumable,” Shahani-Mulligan told the Times. “The world is talking about the size of big data sources, but at the end of the day it will be about the ease of consumption.”

McKinsey Global Institute reports the need for 190,000 professionals with analytical expertise in the US alone. ClearStory plans to respond by creating a huge group of data consumers, ordinary business professionals armed with its software.

ClearStory offers algorithms to help companies gain insight from the combination of private and public data they blend on their sites. The software company aims to convince some private companies to share internal data on the site, too, the Times reported.

It plans to offer a free service beginning this summer for casual users. Commercial users will have the option of an upgraded paid version. You can sign up for early access to the ClearStory service by clicking here.

How might your organization use a free data analytics tool? Leave your comments below and tell us whether your organization might be willing to share some of its internal data with fellow users. Why or why not?

Shawn Hessinger, Community Editor

Shawn Hessinger is a community manager, blogger, social media and tech enthusiast, journalist, and entrepreneur based in Northeastern Pennsylvania. He serves as community manager and blogger for, a business news and information Website, and contributes regularly to the online business news source, Small Business Trends. He is the founder of, an online content and media community, and has provided blogging and social media services and consulting for companies all over the world. He researches and writes on a variety of business, Internet-related, and other tech topics including business intelligence and analytics. He is also keenly interested in computer-aided data management as it relates to his various online ventures. A newspaper journalist with more than 11 years experience as a reporter and then managing editor, Shawn began blogging in 2006 and now provides a variety of consulting and outsourcing services in Search Engine Optimization, Web development, and online marketing to companies large and small. He is a strong advocate for the use of BI and related computer data management in business decision making, whether using software as a service (SaaS), cloud, or other applications, and in the opportunity these technologies provide to transform small startups and larger established businesses alike.

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Re: An algorithm is one thing ....
  • 6/22/2012 10:15:30 AM

FORMCEPT, startup based out of Bangalore has come up with the Big data stack and few applications (we call it as intents) on top of the stack. FORMCEPT's Mantra is "Your Analysis Platform", and FORMCEPT platform accepts data from multiple source, in any format and makes it useful for the end user. We have been working since September 2011 and for more information look at . It is available now.

Re: An algorithm is one thing ....
  • 3/23/2012 5:00:36 PM

bkbeverly, yep, definitely a wait and see!

Re: An algorithm is one thing ....
  • 3/23/2012 3:35:42 PM


I agree with you on this - let's see. The concept sounds good and the leaders have 'street cred', but let's see how well this plays out over a year or two.  What will really be interesting is to see how they manage the relationship between the sales & marketing department and the technical department.  Although they have some sponsors, at some point in the business cycle, the account reps may feel the pressure to sign contracts and promise product innovations faster than the IT folks can build them.  If they promise no more than what they can actually do (vis-a-vis the account rep promising a customer the world and then calling IT with a request to expand the product functionality) then they may be OK.

They may also wind up having to 'gamma-test' their product on the users. Basically, you put your best product out there and use customer responses to fix anything that you missed.

So yes - this sounds very good - but let's see.

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  • 3/23/2012 4:49:55 AM

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Why not?
  • 3/22/2012 8:23:25 AM

I recommend the article "The perils of analysis demanding perfection & precision" by Garin Cokins from SAS  Why not the business users can do by themselves predictions or churn analysis or find the most appropiate segments for a campaign...? If you provide business users with easy data mining tools, they will gain enough self-sufficiency, agility and analytical capabilities to deal with daily analysis. Why not let data miners / scientist concentrate on core business models? Those experts plays a leading role in the organizations. Spreading the use of easy Data Mining among nontechnical users will let them invest enough time and resources in those core models that only expert data experts can perform.

That's we are doing at Quiterian from time and, of course, we like initiatives as Clearstory and some others. 

Re: An algorithm is one thing ....
  • 3/22/2012 8:05:59 AM

Right, Seth. ClearStory founders come with solid backgrounds, including experience at Aster Data, and it's caught the attention of some big-name VCs. I'm still anxious to hear more about what the company is attempting to feel 100% comfortable with the concept. It's one of those, "good in theory, but let's reserve judgement till we see this in practice" sort of a thing.

Re: An algorithm is one thing ....
  • 3/22/2012 3:00:34 AM

@ Beth,  I agree how they are going to do what they are going to isn't very clear.  I'd like to see a demo for a clear understanding.  Google Ventures has invested in Clearstory, so there must be something to it. 

It could possibly solve analytics know how issues with many  busineess with a non-tech appitude.  With the growing importance of anaylitics, making something more user intuitive is needed.  I'm wondering how it will handle all the sources and formats of data, since companies can not always control data that comes from outside of itself. 

Re: An algorithm is one thing ....
  • 3/22/2012 2:22:58 AM

Shawn, there are many open source data analysis are available, but the problem is with data sets. I think it's very difficult to get a good set of relevant and standard datas for analyzing. In some of my research projects, I had end up in purchasing the data set from third parties, where they are charged heavily. So I think getting or collecting a good set of relevant data is more important.

Re: An algorithm is one thing ....
  • 3/21/2012 10:46:01 PM

I signed up for early access.

To me, it looks like they will not only provide access to good tools and algorithms, they may also provide talent. This service could be a natural addition to the tool set.

"We're looking for great minds who love working on distributed systems, high performance data processing, information visualization and big data challenges."

Re: An algorithm is one thing ....
  • 3/21/2012 3:45:51 PM

Hi Beth,

All valid points and questions that I'm sure will be raised again if/when tools like ClearStory become more commonly used. Of course, providing the tools is not the same as providing the analytical talent, but I think easy access to these tools will make it a iot easier for development of raw talent among even casual users and will make it easier for smaller firms to see the benefits of analytics first hand and thus invest more heavily in the field both in talent and technology.

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