Splunk makes a splash

Queena Kim Apr 20, 2012

Kai Ryssdal: Boy there’s nothing the markets like more than a good initial public offering. Preferably some hot technology company, maybe a moble app or something — profits optional, ideally with a CEO barely old enough to have a beer.

Sadly, that’s not what we’ve got for you today. The best stock offering of the year is a company called Splunk. Yes, that’s actually the name. Shares doubled when they went on sale yesterday. It’s got nothing to do with social media. The CEO’s been in the technology business longer than Mark Zuckerberg’s been alive.

But Splunk may just be onto something. The dull and boring end of high tech — what’s starting to be called Big Data. Marketplace’s Queena Kim reports.

Queena Kim: It’s no secret that companies track everything we do these days: The movie tickets you buy, the restaurants we visit and where we shop for shoes. And they use all that data to sell us the “perfect” thing.

That’s the idea, anyway.

Rebecca Lieb is a digital advertising analyst at the Altimeter Group. She says the reality is many companies are just drowning in data.

Rebecca Lieb: Thanks to the proliferation of mobile and social and all kinds of consumer profiles, it is impossible to manage or understand this vast collection of data without very large, complex technical solutions.

And that’s where companies like Splunk comes in they analyze what’s known as Big Data to make it easier for companies to use. Splunk helps gaming companies like Zynga understand how people play its games.

Michael Chui follows “Big Data” for McKinsey Global Institute. He says it’s not just data gatherers like Facebook and Google that need “big data” services, more and more — the smaller companies need them too.

Michael Chui: The average company with over 1,000 employees in the United States has more data available to it that exists in the entire Library of Congress.

Startups like Splunk are putting Big Data on the radar but that could change, says Heidi Messer, who runs a big data company in New York.

Heidi Messer: My prediction is that nobody is going to be talk about big data because it’s just going to be the way you do business.

I’m Queena Kim for Marketplace.

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