Direct from France, a new take on analytics in the cloud

A French startup called We Are Cloud wants to take cloud-based business intelligence applications to the next level, and it thinks it has taken another step in that direction with a new feature called QueryBlender. The highlight of version 3.0 of the company’s Bime offering, QueryBlender lets users combine live data sets on the fly to let users better make sense of their business by analyzing disparate data points against one another.

Since its launch in 2009, Bime has allowed users to import data from a variety of sources — spreadsheets, databases, Google Analytics, (s goog) (s crm) and Amazon Web Services (s amzn)  — and perform traditional, even complex, BI analytic tasks upon it. Bime is similar to other cloud-based BI startups such as Birst, although it has less in common with the popular — and well-funded — GoodData, which takes a more application-oriented approach to BI.

With QueryBlender, though, Bime tries to separate itself from the pack by doing something very similar to joins in SQL databases. Users can combine data from distinct tables, then produce charts or graphs that visualize those connections. For example, a retail user might have separate databases or spreadsheets for shipping data and order data, as well as Google Analytics data to monitor site traffic. QueryBlender would let that user determine any correlations between, for example, traffic volume and order volume, or order volume and shipping efficiency.

There’s a lot of talk about the intersection of cloud computing and big data, and there’s interesting work being done there, but the intersection of cloud computing and (just) data is probably more relevant to the majority of businesses right now. That’s especially true when it comes to BI and other analytics products, which traditionally cost lots of money as enterprise software. That’s why GoodData has raised $28.5 million from venture capitalists, and why Birst is fast making a name for itself.

Started by former BI analyst Rachel Delacour and Nicolas Raspal in Montpelier, France — far away from Silicon Valley — We Are Cloud and its Bime product have been flying under the radar stateside. Perhaps we’ll now start hearing more about the company, which is unofficially launching at the DEMO Fall 2011 event in Santa Clara, Calif., this week. It’s certainly operating in a hot space, and Bime appears to be a very competitive offering.