Revolution rebooting R with name change and new strategy

Just as business intelligence is starting to replace spreadsheets and whiteboards in enterprise business planning, Revolution Analytics will begin offering its programming language riding on top of those new tools.

Revolution Computing, which commercializes the R statistical language, is changing its name and launching a new strategy aimed at business users.

The company will now be called Revolution Analytics, said COO Jeff Erhardt, and plans to donate full versions of its commercial offering to universities.

"These guys are out developing modules that aren't built around ease of use or scalability. We will give them a better platform so when corporations see this module it's not just powerful, but easier to use and more scalable."

Business intelligence software companies have been doing well by encouraging business students to use their wares, Erhardt said, and this part of the firm's new strategy is to emulate that.

But that's just one element in a larger whole.

"In the short term we'll be rolling out a comprehensive big data solution for R. We'll take away the scaling and end bound limitations. It will release to alpha soon.

"Later in the year we'll develop a a modern, flexible thin client GUI that bridges the gap between people who only want to do command line programming and those who are consumers of those modules."

The aim is to bridge a gap CEO Norman Nie sees between the "sandbox" use of the software, with a command line interface, which is common among statistical researchers, and the needs of business intelligence departments and IT departments.

"We recognize that people who consume JasperSoft or Pentaho want to embed and use more powerful analytics in Business Intelligence," said Erhardt. "We also see a need for users of high level analytics to present results in a more Business Intelligence type fashion.

"So we will partner with and have integration with BI providers, in a bidirectional way. We will partner with data warehousing guys to do the same thing."

So just as business intelligence is starting to replace spreadsheets and whiteboards in enterprise business planning, Revolution Analytics will begin offering its programming language riding on top of those new tools.

The old business model was focused on parallel computing – giving away parallel computing and then providing implementation services around it, Erhardt concluded.

"Where we're taking the company is we're creating an open core business model. We'll develop proprietary technology around R and to complement it. Our goal is to sell technology and secondarily provide services if and when needed to sell that core."