Alibaba is turning its mountains of data into a whole new business

(Image credit: Alibaba)

Chinese ecommerce behemoth Alibaba has spun out a subsidiary, called Lingyang Intelligent Service Company, which it says will offer “enterprise digital intelligence services”.

The new business unit could potentially compete with Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP in the business intelligence space.

Though it’s online retail division may be better known in the west, it’s not the first time that Alibaba has laid its sights on conquering parts of the IT world; its cloud computing division is among the most successful in the world.

What will the new business do?

Lingyang will “focus on the customer's perspective and help enterprises drive efficient decision-making and promote growth through data intelligence in multi-platform operations”, according to reports from Chinese publication DoNews.

What Lingyang wants to do, explained Peng Xinyu, VP of Alibaba Group and CEO of the new entity, is "not software-as-a-service (SaaS), but data-as-a-service (DaaS) ", contrasting this approach with other SaaS solutions, most of which he said are aimed at solving “single point problems” and “are limited to workflow transformation”.

With well over a billion users worldwide, Alibaba has plenty of existing data that’s ready to leverage.

Lingyang undertakes “the important task of transforming the digital capabilities accumulated by Alibaba Group in the fields of consumption into intelligent products and services”, said Zhang Yong, Alibaba CEO.

Lingyang will have five major product lines - Analysis Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Production and Sales Cloud, Customer Service Cloud and Development Cloud - and 11 core products, including Dataphin, Bizphin, Quick Audience, Quick BI, Business Advisor, and Operation Advisor.

Alibaba said the new division’s team has been integrated and upgraded from within multiple core departments within the organization.

The team has apparently previously worked on digital intelligence projects such as Alibaba's Double 11 Data Big Screen and 88VIP members, and has served LVMH and Hyundai Doosan, as well as companies such as Star Macalline, Xiaopeng Motors, Robam Electric and Haidilao.

Will McCurdy has been writing about technology for over five years. He has a wide range of specialities including cybersecurity, fintech, cryptocurrencies, blockchain, cloud computing, payments, artificial intelligence, retail technology, and venture capital investment. He has previously written for AltFi, FStech, Retail Systems, and National Technology News and is an experienced podcast and webinar host, as well as an avid long-form feature writer.