State of the #dataviz market
Pykih is a data visualisation company. In December 2014, we did a detailed, critical analysis of the data visualisation market. Below are some of the insights. These points might be useful for anyone in the data visualisation industry or looking to start-up or invest in this sector.
1. Licensed Charting Library
Major players: FusionCharts, HighCharts, amCharts, d3.js. There are very few credible players and lots of irrelevant small players. Is this a bug or feature? d3.js was the Napster moment of the charting industry. D3 has gone on to become the de-facto open-source charting standard.
Implications of d3.js: d3 Examples has made copy-paste charting possible. The charting world moved from scarcity to abundance as the availability of charting developers increases. Implications of this abundance are:
- The value of design will go up.
- Demand for domain-specific custom charts will go up.
- However, developers are not necessarily good designers. Even with the right tool, developers are not being able to execute. No one company can handle all custom chart needs. No one has that much bandwidth.
Pros: This is a product business. There is a good reputable market for working with larger enterprise companies and provide them with an annual license in return for continuous support and backward compatibility.
Cons: It is mostly a one-time sell business. Hence, the lifetime value of the customer is low. The whole industry is built around barriers e.g. monolithic libraries, (buy the whole album even if you like just one song) costly licenses, etc. and some of these barriers have been partially broken with the arrival of d3.js. These companies are missing out on the custom design movement. plot.ly tried to sell it’s charting library as an afterthought
Pykih Response: http://PykCharts.com
2. Charting / Infographics / Interactives as a Service
Charting Players: DataWrapper (Leader), RazorFlow, amCharts Live, HighCharts Cloud, etc.
Interactives / Infographics Players: Infogr.am, Silk, Piktocharts, Infoactive (Leader), etc.
- Easy to use. Mass market appeal.
- There is a newness factor to interactives and infographics.
- Commoditised business since they charge fairly low price.
- Poor value since poor connectivity to data. (static small data)
- Fragmented, crowded market.
- Infographics software have a “newness” factor that will get commoditized over time.
- Good only for bloggers and journalists. (not a cash-rich market)
- Good to have need.
- Cannot necessarily become a large company
Interesting note: Infoactive leads the market with interactive. dc.js is an open source alternative. (Infoactive built on dc)
We think that the players in this market are still hunting for a niche and that the barriers to entry are low. This market faces intense battles and has relatively low rewards.
Pykih Response: Interactive version of http://PykCharts.com to be open sourced by May 2015.
3. Custom Shops
Major players: visual.ly, periscopic, pykih, Dataveyes, accurat.it, etc.
Pros: Custom design. Attract good revenue per project. There will always be a market for this.
Cons: Low repeatability. Constant R&D. Longer Business Dev. Cycles. Small size companies. People driven business.
Market Trend: Each city / submarket across the world will soon have one custom shop catering to this need. Visual.ly has focused on being a market place instead of maintaining a costly design / development team in-house.
4. Business Intelligence (Horizontal)
Major players: Tableau, Qlikview, Tibco Spotfire, IBM Watson, Salesforce Social Charting, Domo, Looker, Chart.io, GoodData, Pentaho, etc.
Pros: Doable but requires heavy investment required. Repeatable big revenue. Undying market. Can become a BIG company.
- Fragmented Market: The fact that no one big company has won this game means that there is so much fragmentation in the market
- Companies take 5–10 years to set a base. The backend is complex, big product to build, the investment required is high. Return on investment will be low since market is flooded with such products
- We will end up playing catch-up most of the time
- Market is moving towards “insights” and not only visualisation and hence the backend is increasingly becoming more important
Market Trend: Slowly differentiation between these is reducing.
Alternative: A better way to start could be to build a visualisation layer on top of an existing ERP company and piggyback on them.
Successful Charting Library Business better than a) successful charting as a service b) successful Infographics / Interactive as a service. Custom shops remain small but highly profitable. Business Intelligence is a high risk, high reward industry.