Monday, November 17, 2008

Open Source BI Still Fighting For Its Share

Seth Grimes published today in Information Week, an article about Open Source BI called Open Source BI Still Fighting For Its Share (in the PDF file of the article the title is "Fine, but Not Fine-Tuned Yet").

He heard many executives of open source BI companies, mainly Steve Snyder of JasperReports and Richard Daley, CEO of Pentaho.

He said although the open source BI market is growing, the market remains dominated by the likes of Business Objects, Cognos, Microsoft, and Oracle.

BI suites typically cover core query, analysis, and reporting functions, and also provide data integration and dashboard visualization capabilities. Commercial open source BI vendors, notably Pentaho and JasperSoft, offer these components in free community editions with open source licenses, and also packaged with non-open source extensions in paid, supported, indemnified editions. The extensions include spreadsheet services for Microsoft Excel, Ajax interactive dashboards, and metadata abstraction layers that insulate business end users from the underlying database schema.

He also said that have two additional open source BI offerings are worth considering. The first, the Eclipse Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools project, is primarily of interest to Java developers. The second, the Palo OLAP Server from German firm Jedox, develops enterprise technologies for Excel applications, targeting enterprise planning, analysis, reporting, and consolidation apps.

One customer - Beyond Compliance, a provider of hosted compliance management software--uses Palo Excel-based reporting for analytical reports that include tables and graphs. Beyond Compliance harnesses the Palo OLAP Server on the back end and the non-open source Palo Worksheet Server for report distribution. "The nice thing about Palo is that we've taken report design away from developers and brought it to our client-services team, to end users," says Rick Clazie, Beyond Compliance's technology and infrastructure manager. The company doesn't measure the ROI of its open source choice in financial terms, trusting that faster reporting turnaround and extended capabilities increase client satisfaction.

He finished the article: Will others take this leap to open source BI? Gartner projects triple the adoption by 2012, implying much faster growth than the overall BI market. BI is making progress, particularly when commercially packaged to deliver usability and support lacking with free components. As people like Snyder and Clazie push these tools out to employees, that packaging, coupled with open source's lower costs, will be critical to open source BI's enterprise success.

Seth Grimes wrote a post with additional material in his blog in Intelligent Interprise, complementing his article, I would like to highlight:

OSBI's growing appeal to enterprise end users. End users need capable, robust, and usable software.

That core software components are free makes open source attractive both to end users and for systems integrators and independent software vendors that sell products and services built on OSBI components.

With open source, baseline costs are lowered, boosting margins, and [integrators and ISVs] have the ability to customize the code or develop extensions if they wish. Customers benefit and so does the greater user community. For instance, Yves de Montcheuil, marketing VP at open-source data-integration vendor Talend, boasts that half of his company’s 250 data-source/destination connectors were contributed by users.

In my opinion, Seth Grimes did a good explanation about how is the Open Source BI scenario.

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