In the ever-evolving realm of data analytics, software integration, and end-user development, it’s no surprise that the market is inundated with a multitude of products vying for attention. As a potential client recently pointed out, distinguishing one product from another can be a daunting task. From a high-level perspective, these products may appear indistinguishable, and the marketing websites often fail to shed light on their unique differentiators. The confusion surrounding this space is palpable, even for those of us already immersed in it. With everyone seemingly speaking the same language and promoting similar features, it becomes essential to delve deeper and uncover the distinctive qualities that set Composable apart.
We recently had a potential client list similar products to Composable, and ask how they are different from us. The data analytics / software integration / end-user development space can be very confusing. From a 10,000 ft level, all the products looks the same. And the marketing sites don’t seem to help. This space is confusing, and I couldn’t even imagine navigating it if we weren’t a player in it. Everyone is speaking the same language. Most of the marketing sites have key take-aways like:
- Build applications fast
- Create beautiful dashboards
- Integrate any datasets
- Real-time analytics
- Fully customized / drag and drop UIs
- Scalable Cloud and On-Premise Solution
This isn’t very helpful … So how is Composable different? Well, it depends on the class of products you’re talking about. And Composable fits into a number of them. But lets compare it within the ETL / Analytics / Dataflow market. This includes products like: Composable, Rapid Miner, Lavastorm, Knime, Actian, AzureML.
Alteryx, Knime, Kepler, Lavastorm, Actian are not web-based (designer that is). We are.
Kepler and some of the others are actor-based. We are not. Our modules are state-less. Why does this matter? It makes development of extensions easier, and it makes reusing them even easier. You’re not cobbling together functionality into 1 non-reusable node. I would also argue that we can scale out better too.
In Composable DataFlows, all of a modules configuration can be inputted through connections. Why does this matter? This allows for any configuration or inputs to be set dynamically / externally, which equates with extreme flexibility. Alteryx and Knime can’t do this (not sure on Kepler). Alteryx doesn’t have any of the web service authoring capabilities we have. They also don’t have any of the activation connectors.
We have a whole slue of web service endpoints, fluent APIs, so you don’t need to use the UI for anything if you don’t want. Yes, the competitors have APIs, but they’re using older methodologies.
Some of the other products only have a workflow editor in an IDE (i.e Eclipse). Only developers are ever going to download an IDE. The creators made the explicit decision that they’re a developer ONLY tool. We are not.
Composable is also not just a visual workflow engine. You wouldn’t use Alteryx, Knime, AzureML, or Kepler for anything else. Composable includes Data Modeling, Forms, Query Views, Slicing / Dicing, Alerting, Pub / Sub, Custom Interfaces, just to name a few big features. None of the systems in the Dataflow Analytics space have those.
You build your system and custom vertical products on top of Composable – nothing else is required, other than your favorite database. Some of our features are more akin to a Salesforce or FileMaker. People are not building entire systems on products like Alteryx, Knime, Or Lavastorm – these are products for proof-of-concepts, not platforms for operational systems.
We are a collaborative platform for building software (between software engineers, data scientists, business analysts, and stakeholders). Yes, I said software, not just some narrowly-focused, stand-alone analytic or mashup.
We have a comprehensive, fine-grained access control model for the various resources, allowing for sharing with groups, users, etc. Our competitors have none of this.
I think this space (Composable included) needs to do a much better job at differentiating the products. A few of our goals in the New Year is to beef up our marketing site and present a clearer view of what Composable is great at, and what it probably shouldn’t be used for.