In the recently published report, The Forrester Wave™: Augmented Business Intelligence Platforms, Q2 2023, we wrote that “ThoughtSpot’s continued focus on conversational user experience (UX) is no longer differentiating.” ThoughtSpot’s announced acquisition of Mode Analytics on June 26 is perhaps a means for ThoughtSpot to grow beyond its historical business user-focused strength in UX. Mode Analytics will provide ThoughtSpot with new capabilities and address several market realities. Specifically:

  • While ThoughtSpot is credited with being one of the pioneers of conversational UX (enabling users to interact with their data using natural language to query and natural language generation — NLQ and NLG), other leading business intelligence (BI) vendors offer similar capabilities. Conversational UX is not the differentiator it once was. The acquisition of Mode brings extended capabilities that ThoughtSpot needs to remain competitive.
  • The self-service BI market (ThoughtSpot’s sweet spot) has hit a plateau, with no more than 20% of business decision-makers using BI applications such as reports and dashboards hands-on. Most power users (e.g., citizen data scientists) still prefer a point-and-click/drag-and-drop GUI, which gives them more control over queries. ThoughtSpot will now be able to enhance its GUI with Mode’s data visualizations.
  • Professional data engineers and data scientists often need to bypass the BI platform’s semantic layer to give them granular control over their data. Complex SQL queries, application debugging, and embedded and custom-built analytical apps still require professionals to write code. ThoughtSpot did not go after this market prior to the acquisition but now will bring the SQL editor capabilities of Mode into its portfolio.

We wrote early in 2022 in The Future Of Business Intelligence that analytics have to be delivered where business users “live” — embedded with a high degree of context and personalization into all systems of work. Building enterprise-grade BI applications is the job of data pros, who prefer to use tools that give them the capabilities and controls they need. With the addition of Mode Analytics to its portfolio, ThoughtSpot has an opportunity to expand its reach with those data professionals.

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