Tuesday, September 14, 2010

And launched! (plus some secrets)

Yesterday we officially launched our first  offering from  Predixion Software – titled “Predixion Insight”.  For those who haven’t been following along, Predixion Insight is a cloud predictive analytics service access through an embedded Exceyippeel client (Predixion Insight for Excel) that has absolutely no infrastructure or procurement friction and works with Excel 2007 and botht he 32-bit and 64-bit versions on Microsoft Excel.  Oh – and it’s also directly integrated with Microsoft’s new PowerPivot offering allowing powerful analytics, business modeling and now, predictive analytics, right in the Excel working environment.

We actually closed down the beta and turned on Insight’s lights a week ago today.  Coming from a “packaged software” background it was interesting that shipping software in a cloud environment all boils down to switching a DNS entry on GoDaddy.com and we’re up and running.  We actually had one customer forego the free trial and become our first paying customer on day one!  A lot of our beta customers came back to take advantage of the free trial (sign up here if you haven’t already) and our service has been humming along making predictive magic for everyone quite nicely.  I do thank all of our beta customers for helping out and finding issues based on configurations and connection performance that would have been difficult for us to find out on our own – we also managed to incorporate quite a bit of feedback from the beta into the product.

On Friday we celebrated the launch in the dev offices with a toast of Pyrat Rum and then heads down to keep the Predixion train going.  Personally I’ve been busy with Simon, our CEO, demonstrating the product to industry analysts – 20 so far, and many more to come – and getting great feedback and some exciting responses (first published notes here, here, and here), while designing elements of our Enterprise offering as well as some exciting incremental functionality.

One interesting thing about any product release is always what is the last feature to make the cut.  What is that last piece of functionality that you just need to put in or that you want so badly that it gets in no matter what.  In our case it’s all in the task pane of Predixion Insight for Excel – the task pane was definitely the runaway surprise success story for the beta – one participant even responded “I wish all software worked that way.”  Given how happy people were with this feature, and we always wanted to add a little more functionality, we made sure that search and filter made it into v1.

image With this feature you can type arbitrary text and Predixion Insight for Excel will search all fields (including extended info) of each task and only display the results, or you can filter based on task type or items that are expiring soon.  Neat, huh?  Ok, maybe just “ok”.  Anyway, since you’ve already downloaded, installed the software, and signed up for a free trial, you may have noticed that if you select one of those filtering options it actually places something in the search box like this:imageThis is totally meant to imply that there can be other things you could “type” into the search box to filter your tasks, and as of today, this is the only place you’ll ever find out about what they are.  Search tags usage is simply “tag:value”  if the engine finds the “tag:” starting the search string it uses it – plain and simple – it’s not even case-sensitive.  The super-secret Predixion Insight for Excel search tags are:

Tag Value Description Example
tasktype InsightNow
Returns tasks of the specified task tasktype:Query
expires integer hours Returns tasks expiring within the specified number of hours expires:48
created integer hours Returns tasks created within the specified number of hours created:2
duration integer minutes Returns tasks with a duration less than the specified minutes duration:1
completed (optional)
Returns tasks that have completed, or not completed:
results (optional)
Returns tasks that have results to download, or not results:
status succeeded
Returns tasks with the specified status status:pending
tag any string Searched only the “tag” field of the task – i.e. the large bolded text tag:Profit Chart

You can add a bang (!) to the beginning of the tag to return any results not specified by the filter – for example you can get all the tasks created in the last hour by using the string “created:1”, and you can return all the tasks not created in the last hour by using the string “!created:1” – very handy indeed.

Oh, and just for a bonus, you can edit the “tag” (large bolded text) of any task for  your own personal edification – that is, you can change “Profit Chart” into “My Superbad Market Mayhem Chart” and then find it with the search “tag:Superbad

Anyway, that’s what is there for now – who knows what may come as Predixion Insight grows…..