Mitchell Field, New York-based CrossZ Software Inc has been through a fairly dramatic transformation from a bureau service-based Data Mart builder to a provider of packaged data mart products and is hoping for some dramatic growth following its imminent Nasdaq flotation and recent launch into Europe. CrossZ was founded in 1989 by two mathematicians working on the Cruise Missile Guidance System, who developed a technique using fractal geometry to create an abstract representation of data using algorithms, which enables a mathematical representation of data to be stored rather than the whole array of data. They saw an application for this in building sizable data marts which take up very little disk space. Initially run as a service bureau which created and ran Data marts for its customers, CrossZ got to the point a couple of years ago where it was working at capacity and was going to have to expand considerably in order to start growing revenues. It decided instead to turn its software into standalone products, the result of which was the QueryObject system, which it launched at the beginning of this year. The QueryObject Engine builds a QueryObject from the data source, for example the data warehouse, and the resultant QueryObject, or data mart, contains the answers to any query a user may ask. It uses the fractal algorithms to create an accurate mathematical representation of the data sets, so that according to the company, a QueryObject representing 45 million records takes up only 1Mb of disk space. In this way, whole data marts will sit on a notebook or desktop computer, and offer very fast query response times. The company has also just launched Voyager, a graphical tool to enable users to build their own QueryObjects to satisfy their precise business requirements. The tool guides the user through identifying his or her business goals and which data is available.
Snapshots of data
It then uses CrossZ’s own data mining algorithms to select the right data to build the QueryObject. The software runs on Windows NT, most flavors of Unix and MVS on the server, and all Windows clients. CrossZ does have its own analytical query tool for direct marketing, but does not seem to be pushing this very hard. It does not admit to competing with the likes of Arbor Software Inc, mainly because it says it is going after different markets, specifically insurance, finance, banking, utilities, although it admits there is a lot of cross over in the companies’ offerings. It is also looking at the retail sector, and will launch a market basket analysis tool some time next year to enable retailers to analyze every purchase made by a shopper and look for trends and buying patterns. The company says it will launch a new release of QueryObject in the first quarter of next year, which will enable different QueryObjects to be merged and compared. Matthew Doering, the company’s vice president product management, said this would enable companies to take time dependent snapshots of their data and compare them, so that for example customer data could be reviewed and compared over time. Currently a privately held company employing 70 people worldwide, CrossZ is about to float on Nasdaq. Having lost most of its sales revenue during the period of transforming from a service to a product company, when it sought venture funding to see it through the development phase, it will no doubt be looking to build sales fairly rapidly. In June the company opened its European headquarters in Hertfordshire in the UK, and has an operation in the Netherlands.