Anant Corporation Blog

Our research, knowledge, thoughts, and recommendations about building and leading businesses on the Internet.


Webinar 3 Recap: Unifying Business Information with Portals and Dashboards

Thank you to everyone who joined us for last week’s webinar! The webinar was a continuation of our business software 101 series and focused on available business intelligence (BI) applications for reporting dashboards. With the ever increasing number of online systems and related data, there are troves of information available for managers and executives to pore over when analyzing performance, planning for future opportunities, or identifying inefficiencies. This webinar talked through some of the different challenges decision makers face in this process and low-cost, but powerful, tools that are available to help in dealing with this challenge.


To show the power of these tools we demo-ed four different BI applications; two open source and two commercial Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) products.


First was Metabase, an open source project with a strong developer community continually working to improve it (see GitHub page here), is one of the easiest BI tools to set up and get started with for non-technical users. This is one of our favorite tools as it doesn’t require users to be versed in SQL and it’s easy to generate automatic reports that can be emailed or integrated with messaging software such as Slack (which we love here at Anant!).


Next, we covered a more technical reporting tool called Redash. Users need to know some SQL or other database query languages to maximize its utility. The reporting tools are robust with the ability to handle and visualize large amounts of data.


We finished with two commercial products, Cyfe and Domo. Cyfe is a lightweight monitoring tool that can be paired with Alexa, Google trends, WordPress and more. Domo, which is widely considered to be one of the most sophisticated data integration and analysis tools, is an expansive platform that anyone interested in BI tools should check out before making a final decision (they have a free one-user demo account that you can sign up for here). We like Domo for its ability to handle queries that rely on millions of rows and its data manipulation features, which help with the process of extracting, transforming, and loading data. This process is commonly referred to as ETL and we have done it for a number of our clients.In short, while Domo is not open source, it provides a breadth of features not found in the other applications and is much more customizable to your needs.


You can find both a recording of the presentation and the accompanying slides below:




If you’re interested in learning more about please reach out to us directly or join us next month. We will look at approaches to managing the information and knowledge inside your company. You will come away with ideas about how to solve the challenge of finding the information you need but seems to be ever more difficult to find.


Business Software 101 Series:

Webinar 1 – Building Online Business Software 101 (B2B)

Webinar 2 – How to Connect Online Business Software 101 (B2B)

Webinar 3 – Unifying Business Information with Portals and Dashboards (B2B)

Webinar 4 – Organizing Business Information with Enterprise Search & Knowledge Management (B2B)

Strategy Breakfast – Wins and Failures in Big Data Projects

Last week we hosted a monthly Strategy Breakfast at the brand new Social Tables office near Metro Center. The group discussed issues that hinder enterprises when they attempt to undertake big data centered solutions, lessons that can be applied from implementation mistakes, and best steps to ensure success in data analysis efforts. A special thank you goes out to Social Tables and its staff for hosting and participating as well as to Mike Seigel (@mikejsiegel) who made this event possible.


Many companies and enterprises are already looking at or understand the importance of harnessing value from their data. A critical point addressed at the breakfast related to determining what types of information you want to extract from your information; and that you may not know what queries to ask when starting out on the implementation of a “big data” analysis or integration endeavor. One attendee suggested listing out questions you believe the project will potentially answer and establish a baseline for success – establish your desired outcome for the project. These questions and the success threshold will vary by company but will help you focus on critical business problems or challenges you are attempting to overcome. Basically, these are questions you want answered and you can clearly explain why you want them answered. For example, will the answers provide a greater understanding of project costs? Ways to improve operational efficiency? Will they better or more quickly inform decision-making? This exercise should initially be done internally by company stakeholders from various departments before engaging an outside firm to help hone the questions and construct the infrastructure for a solution.

big data


Over the course of the discussion, a consensus emerged that most big data projects aren’t really big data projects. Most of these projects are actually business analytics projects with a high level of complexity caused by the integration of both new and legacy systems. Many companies rush towards a “big data” solution without clearly defined business problems they want to address or not identifying benefits they wish to reap from their business information. Essentially, for a project to be successful a company needs to undertake a thorough assessment of its internal processes and desired outcomes to fully realize the benefits of data collection and analysis. Most “big data” projects don’t revolve around the issue of data sets being too big, as much as they do around connecting isolated data troves, appropriately framing the business benefits that will arise from answering data-driven questions, and finding the appropriate talent to build the infrastructure.


Join us later this month as we continue to look at technological issues facing today’s businesses and modern enterprises. The discussion will most likely focus on open-source data analysis tools you can use to help your company become more data-driven without making a significant monetary outlay. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any suggestions!


If you wish to learn more you can attend our webinar on “Unifying Business Information with Portals and Dashboards (B2B)” on October 14, at 10AM.


Webinar 2 Recap: How to Connect Online Business Software 101 (B2B)

Thank you everyone who joined us for our latest webinar! Last week, in the business software 101 series, we presented some of the basic methods available to businesses looking to integrate their web-based applications. An important thing to keep in mind is there are a multitude of applications available with different levels of complexity and customization to meet your business needs. The commercial and Service-asa-Software (SaaS) tools discussed were generally on the higher end of the customization and complexity scale (Ex: Cloudpipes, Neuron ESB,, and Mulesoft).


For demonstration purposes, Rahul showed participants and viewers how to create a relatively simple integration between Trello (a project planning tool) and Slack (a communication tool) via the use of Zapier (an application commonly used to integrate two or more web applications). This integration is one we use at Anant to quickly add cards to our Trello boards which we use for brainstorming and general product iteration. It is a useful integration for business users, assuming they use Slack, because they can easily push an idea directly from Slack to Trello without switching applications.


The integration above is useful for coming back to things later. Fortunately, we also share things on our blog and if you weren’t able to join us or want to review the materials again you can find them below for future reference.



We plan to continue the series next month with a webinar focused on the use of web portals and dashboards to display your business information in a single, unified location. We’ll also touch on common challenges businesses face in managing their information and look at some web portal and dashboard technology currently available. You can register here for the Friday, October 14, event that will kick off at 10am EDT.


If you can’t make the next webinar try one of our other events or join us for donuts on September 30 at our next business strategy breakfast roundtable.


Business Software 101 Series:


Is Your Business a Modern Enterprise?

“AOL Keyword ‘Anant.’”

Years ago, an advertisement ending with this phrase would have made our company modern (and potentially famous). Today, the expression is a bit ‘antiquated,’ to say the least, but it also shows how technology and business have evolved. A modern business, or a “modern enterprise,” survives on the ones and zeros coursing through the air and wires all around us. Many people make use of Google, Facebook, LinkedIn or similar cloud-based services everyday. Each of these sites has evolved to provide a service to us and has delivered it to us via the internet – a process often called “software-as-a-service” or SaaS for short. The ability to leverage internet-based technology to both improve and operate a company is vital to almost every company in business today. While the examples above are well-known, many business specific SaaS products are now available to help businesses meet both their needs and their customers’ needs.


As a company (hopefully) grows and begins to mature, the intricacy of its operations and composition can increase in complexity, necessitating a tweak in approach or outside help. A critical step when asking for help is to identify what you ultimately want to do; and diagnose what is, or what will, hold your company back (the “problem”). An issue many companies run into on their way to becoming a modern enterprise is copious amounts of data and process flows, but in different systems that don’t talk to each other or users who don’t fully comprehend what can be done with the information at hand. It is the companies who make the proverbial transition to a modern enterprise, the ones who connect their information and systems to their people and processes, who will survive and thrive. This evolution will impact all aspects of a company; finance, sales, services, operations, management and research; and it is important to understand what can be accomplished and with what tools.


designThe concepts and tools at play are relatively simple for in-the-know technologists and internet architects, but can be challenging even for some of the most technologically savvy around. It is a bit much to delve into today, but in the coming weeks we want you to better understand these foundational precepts.

To help, we’re providing free in-person presentations, online webinars, and explanatory postings in the coming months focused on these technological concepts and their impact on business. We look forward to helping your company become a modern enterprise as the new year approaches.


If you are interested in learning more about how you can apply the modern enterprise approach to your work today sign up for one of our 30 minute free consultations here! You can also tune in to our webinar later today (10am EDT) or catch up with us on 9/30 for a big data focused strategy breakfast.


Modern Enterprise Series

  • Is Your Business a Modern Enterprise?
  • Modern Enterprise: Modular Business Practices
  • Modern Enterprise: Planning & Discovery
  • Modern Enterprise: Design & Development


A photo by Rayi Christian Wicaksono.

Webinar 2: How to Connect Online Business Software 101 (B2B)

Software, software, software everywhere – and applications! Let’s face it, you probably couldn’t run your company without them. At Anant, we help clients connect their different pieces of software, apps and hardware to help make workflows more productive and more efficient. Next week, as part of our four part webinar series, CEO Rahul Singh will present on Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) to help you understand how these connections can be executed and why they are important to your business operations.


Even though the term “Enterprise Application Integration” itself seems daunting it is something you will be able to do (or want to do) to unlock opportunities for your company and yourself. Previously, monolithic applications, such as complex enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, attempted to create large frameworks of applications that would give you an all-in-one solution to your application integration needs. One of the main obstacles with systems such as these is they are largely inflexible. In a business environment where processes, amongst other things, are often prone to change, it is not sustainable to use applications which are inherently rigid.


With the advancement of Application Program Interface (API) technology, there is now a plethora of different application integration opportunities. Using APIs, companies have a much more feasible way to get applications to talk with each other, or with a central data warehouse (essentially, a repository for data from operational systems such as marketing, sales, etc.). Most of your common internet applications; such as Google Apps, Salesforce, WordPress, and Jira;  have APIs which can be programmed to suit your needs. However, there are pitfalls you need to avoid when connecting your applications together as well as important best practices to follow.


During the webinar Rahul will address benefits, pitfalls, and best practices while walking through the different options currently available for integrations.  Sign up is now open for the Friday, September 16, webinar! We’ll start at 10am and finish about an hour later. This webinar will be a 20-25 minute presentation and demonstration followed by an open-forum discussion around the topic of connecting online business software. We hope to see you there!



Come see us present in person at one of our upcoming events. If you’re in the DC area next week, Rahul will be moderating the monthly Data Wranglers DC event on Wednesday, September 14, where the presenter will speak about using Spark and Accumulo. You can sign up here.