UPDATED 15:11 EDT / JUNE 08 2023

Barry McCardel - AWS Startup Showcase S3 E2 - 2023 AI

Hex Technologies responds to a changing environment for data teams

The swift advancements in artificial intelligence are having a massive impact on all industries in tech, data included.

So what does that mean for data practitioners living in the AI era? And how are other various pain points currently being managed?

One company seeking to solve challenges such as these is Hex Technologies Inc., which can almost be thought of as the “integrated workspace for data analytics,” according to Hex Chief Executive Officer and co-founder Barry McCardel (pictured).

“[Organizations] are spending millions of dollars on data storage, compute, hiring out whole data teams, and they want to get a lot of value from that,” McCardel said. “But then the fragmentation of the actual tools that people are using every day, and the lack of collaboration, really winds up holding these folks back.”

McCardel spoke with theCUBE industry analyst Lisa Martin at the “Analytics and Cost Optimization” AWS Startup Showcase, during an exclusive broadcast on theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s livestreaming studio. They discussed the solutions Hex seeks to provide and how AI factors into a changing data environment. (* Disclosure below.)

Integrated workspace for data analytics

With Hex, users can go all the way from asking a quick query — such as writing some SQL and getting the results sent back, while maybe building a chart — all the way up to building a complex notebook that’s doing a deep-dive analysis or building a model around something, according to McCardel. From there, a user could take that and publish it as an interactive report or dashboard that anyone could use.

“You can really go end-to-end. This is in contrast to a lot of existing tooling, where you have to jump between a bunch of different things to do anything,” he said. “All of this is cloud-based, and it’s collaborative first, so it works like a modern productivity tool that you’d expect, like a Google Doc or Figma or Notion.”

The company also offers Hex Magic, which are AI-powered augmentation features built into the workflow, according to McCardel.

“A lot of people are excited about AI, and a lot of people are using things like ChatGPT. Our philosophy with Magic is, let’s bring these really world-class, state-of-the-art LLM capabilities right into the product, where people are already doing things so you don’t have to tab over to ChatGPT to paste a bunch of things in and leak all your data out,” he said. “It works right in the product and is really integrated.”

Every business as a data business

It’s been often repeated over the past decade that, increasingly, every business in some form or another will become a data business. So what does that mean for a company such as Hex? Companies have responded to that idea by almost hoarding data, according to McCardel.

“I think a lot of organizations are now at this point where it’s kind of like, all right, so where are we getting value from this?” he said. “Is this actually useful for us day-to-day to make better decisions? And there’s a bunch of things at that usage and collaboration layer that are really holding people back.”

Fragmentation is a big problem, and one that makes individuals less productive, forcing them to jump between one tool to write some SQL and another tool to work with something in Python, according to McCardel.

“Things are living in a bunch of different places, and you wind up with this sort of siloing or balkanization of workflows and users based on sort of arbitrary technicality levels,” he said. “You’ll see the business analysts over here, the data analysts live over here, the data scientists live here, the machine learning engineers live over here. We think that’s kind of insane. We think that’s pretty broken.”

Of course, as AI continues to advance, it will continue to be a reality in the lives of data engineers everywhere. But there’s also an opportunity for it to give people deeper insights, according to McCardel.

“One of our customers I was talking to who was talking about our Magic AI features, they said that they’re trying things that they weren’t trying before. They’re more ambitious in the projects that they’re taking on because they have this assistance that can help them do more complex and sophisticated things,” he said. “That’s awesome for me to hear.”

The ultimate ambition is to help organizations do more with their data and to empower individuals to do more interesting and more impactful work, according to McCardel.

“That’s our ultimate vision of how more organizations can become really data-driven in the future,” he said.

Here’s the complete video interview, part of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of the “Analytics and Cost Optimization” AWS Startup Showcase event:

(* Disclosure: Hex Technologies Inc. sponsored this segment of theCUBE. Neither Hex nor other sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)

Photo: SiliconANGLE

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