On December 13, 2016, MapR held its inaugural analyst day at its headquarters in San Jose, CA. MapR provided a stage for each of its leaders to impress. For its first attempt at an analyst day, MapR was very successful, although, Neuralytix believes that there should have been opportunities (any opportunity!) for analysts to provide our feedback and input. Neuralytix feels that it was a missed opportunity for MapR.

The lineup of speakers included John Schroeder, the founder and executive Chairman of MapR; Matt Mills, its CEO; Anil Gadre, SVP of Products; and several other SVP/VP level speakers.

MapR shared its vision for 2017 and beyond, and offered perhaps the clearest definition of what is a “next gen app.” Neuralytix believes that the term “next gen app” will be a catch-all phrase for workloads in 2017. Every infrastructure vendor will be articulating how it will address the nebulous “next gen app.” Anil Gadre, SVP of Products at MapR used a visual (Figure 1) to explain this concept.

Figure 1: Defining the “next gen app” (MapR 2016)

In essence, Gadre explains that a “next gen app” is one that combines both analytics and operations. An example of this would be how one of the world’s largest retailers actively seeks out lower prices for a product that is being purchased, and offers as a store credit, the difference between their price and a competitor’s price. This operation incorporates the traditional transaction (the ecommerce/database operation) as well as immediate/dynamic analyses of the transaction itself.

Historically, these operations would have been linear in nature. Now, they happen simultaneously – resulting in what Gadre calls a “converged” application or the “next generation application.”

Neuralytix believes that this clear definition of truly what the next generation of applications and computational operations looks like gives MapR a distinct advantage in two ways: first, it is best able to articulate to prospective and existing customers what the digital transformation looks like practically and operationally, and secondly, MapR is able to develop solutions that meet this goal without the distraction of going after every buzzword that will undoubtedly pop up during 2017 and beyond!

We believe that the addition of Dr. Crystal Valentine as MapR’s vice president of technology strategy whose background include being a tenure-tracked professor of computer science at Amherst College, and a prolific author of academic publications in the areas of algorithms, high performance computing (HPC), and computational biology will equip MapR with the practical experience necessary to help its customers address the next generation business problems through the development of “next gen apps.”

Overall, Neuralytix believes that MapR continues to be a leading Big Data player, and its 2017 focus on the “next gen app” will give it distinction over its competitors.

The challenge for MapR will be how it evolves user perception of it as purely as a Hadoop distribution vendor. The technical aspects of the vision and strategy is in place, as well as the personnel. The challenge will be for MapR’s marketing leadership to clearly articulate MapR’s business model and business vision alongside its technical strategy.