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Companies are becoming increasingly dependent on data, but it can be difficult to conceptualize what this data revolution looks like in practice. CNBC's Jim Cramer interviewed several behind-the-scenes data firms to find out how they support major household names.
Splunk's stock has been soaring high above the market average, up 64% in the last two years, but the software company is grounded in tangible results. Splunk helps its more than 15,000 clients turn machine data — one of the most complex but valuable areas of big data — into solutions for IT, security and other challenges.
DoorDash, an online food delivery platform connecting restaurants with consumers, employs Splunk's services to help navigate an increasingly complex digital environment. DoorDash serves more than 3,000 cities across North America and has one of the largest networks of restaurants.
"[DoorDash] need[s] instrumentation on what's happening on a moment-by-moment basis so that my order doesn't get lost. They can monitor everything from delivery times to quality of ratings from different consumers," CEO Doug Merritt told Cramer in a sit-down interview.
With access to a more complete view of its business through Splunk, DoorDash can deliver on each one of its orders with greater efficiency.
"We're helping them with everything from classic IT resiliency, engineering efficiency, cybersecurity visibility and resiliency, and then business analytics across the business," said Merritt. "It's a true data platform story for DoorDash."
Merritt notes, however, that with the power of big data comes a greater responsibility.
"The hard part about Splunk — the good and hard part — is we tend to be mission critical. When you're ingesting terabytes and petabytes of data per day, that usually is a mission critical system, and you have to have reliable visibility across that data."
Splunk works with 92 of the Fortune 100, including Coca-Cola and Comcast.
Talend may be little known among most consumers, but the data company is known and trusted by the biggest pizza company in the world. Talend has worked hand-in-hand with Domino's Pizza to evaluate franchisee performance and identify ways to drive better margins.
In a "Mad Money" interview, CEO Mike Tuchen broke down how companies like Domino's utilize Talend's unified data tracker.
"If you're a Domino's and you have thousands of franchisees in every country around the world, and you need to pull data from all those systems, blend it together and clean it up, there's only a few companies in the world that can solve those problems. That's what we can do."
Insights obtained from Talend's platform are used to implement better marketing campaigns, target prime customers and drive greater sales.
"Domino's considers themselves a data company that happens to sell pizza," Tuchen added.
While data is abundant today, getting data into an analyzable stage can be complex due to its scattered and varied nature. According Tuchen, Talend has expertise in this "first mile" of the data journey.
"We help companies take data that lives in all kinds of different places…it's all inconsistent, it's all dirty and messy, and we bring it together, clean it up and make it so they can actually start betting their business on it."
Talend's stock pulled back at the end of last year but has begun working its way higher, gaining 4.4% year-to-date.
If a company is only as strong as its clients, Equinix is a powerhouse, serving clients like Apple, Amazon and Netflix. As one of the largest data center companies in the world, Equinix has built a robust infrastructure that allows its nearly 10,000 customers to connect with networks and service providers all around the world. The data center REIT has achieved this all while remaining under the radar.
"We may not be a household name but I think it's safe to say we're probably impacting the lives of many of your viewers on a day-to-day basis working with those types of customers," CEO Charles Meyers said during an interview with Jim Cramer.
For example, the Netflix experience that consumers know and enjoy today has been made possible largely by Equinix. Netflix turned to Equinix to develop a content delivery system that would provide streaming video services with minimal lag time across a scalable system.
"We play a very important role in terms of interconnecting our customers, sometimes to public cloud providers, sometimes to software-as-a-service providers like Salesforce, sometimes to other sides of their supply chain, sometimes to networks," Meyers explained. "A big part of our legacy and history has been interconnecting people to networks."
Equinix lends a crucial hand in helping companies complete their digital transformations, acting as a relationship broker between customers and the underlying networks and public cloud providers.
"The interconnection story is a really central piece of the Equinix story," Meyers said.
Equinix has seen its share price rise 57% year-to-date, trouncing the S&P 500's approximate 19% gain.