Pentaho summer intern rock stars

July 30, 2010

Internships are often associated with organizing papers and getting coffee. This is far from the truth for the Pentaho internship program. This summer we were fortunate to have three rock star interns. They were not fetching coffee however, enjoying our stocked break room with everything from snacks to beer. This summer they got a taste of what it is like to work in our San Francisco sales and marketing office. They were able to  work alongside experienced leaders in sales and marketing learning about CRM and marketing automation software, sales lead qualification, outbound lead generation, social media and business operations.

Pentaho is unique in that it adapts to the backgrounds and strengths of the interns and allows them to select what they will focus on in the summer program. We just wanted to take this opportunity to thank them for their hard work this summer and highlight some of the great things they’ve learned this summer:

Summer 2010 Intern Rock Stars:

Rick Daley: Rick is going into his junior year at the University of Florida.  He has been playing soccer for 18 years, and is currently playing with the UF men’s club team.  Rick is taking part in the internship to understand the business intelligence market and to determine if he will follow in the footsteps of his father.  Rick is using the summer to make a final decision on what major he will pursue.  Pentaho has allowed Rick to realize sales is much more creative and interesting that he previously thought.

Mark Daley: In the Fall, Mark will start his Senior year at Lake Highland Preparatory School in Orlando, FL.  Mark is the youngest employee to work for Pentaho and has utilized his talents to help the look and feel of Pentaho’s social media presence.   Mark thinks it is a great opportunity to get real world experience while he is still young and beautiful.  “Working under Rich Taylor, Pentaho Sales Operations Manager, has shown me a lot of things; first and foremost, he taught me that frozen Twix and Dr. Pepper go together; and more importantly that work can be both fun and rewarding.”

Paul Lyandres: Paul is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, where he is active in a variety of community, civic, and professional organizations.  Paul is a talented young leader with a passion for learning.  Paul’s fascination with technology and his desire to work in a start-up environment brought him to Pentaho. At Pentaho, Paul applies his drive for excellence and high performance to support the sales and marketing team across a variety of roles. Prior to joining Pentaho, Paul worked for LIIF, a non-profit finance fund, and spent over 4-years at Martin Wolf Associates, a leading IT investment bank. His interests include fitness, cooking, swimming, and reading.

With the rapid growth of Pentaho, our interns have made immediate and valuable contributions.  Their fresh ideas and hard work were a huge help to us this summer and we’ll miss them around the San Francisco office.

If you are interested in interning or working at Pentaho check out our open opportunities worldwide.


Part 3: Easily prototyping your data

July 29, 2010


Prototyping as defined in information systems is:

The process of building an example or model of the actual proposed system. It is an iterative process that is part of the analysis phase of the development life cycle.

In Part 3 of this tutorial series I will show you how you can easily “prototype” your data within the Pentaho User Console by using the Dashboard Designer and its Data Access component. Part 3 picks up after we have configured our server side Pentaho Data Connections to connect to Oracle and MS SQL Server. In this tutorial I will also cover the Pentaho BI Server start up procedures on both the Linux and Windows operating systems.

You are able to download the video or view it in high quality directly from this blog. Click ‘share’ in the video window to see the available options.

Mike Tarallo
Pre-Sales Director
Pentaho


Congratulations to QlikTech and the new wave of BI

July 26, 2010

It’s been awhile since a BI company went public, so I’m excited by the news of QlikTech’s IPO and what it bodes for our industry. Following the Era of the BI consolidation, when the Big 3 BI vendors grew stodgy and were consumed by mega-vendors like IBM, Oracle and SAP who were looking to add BI functionality (a.k.a. “buy their maintenance stream”) to their existing products, it’s great to see Wall Street showing enthusiasm for a pure BI player. It clearly demonstrates that the market sees significant value in BI innovation.

QlikTech did a great job of taking its technology and packaging it to appeal directly to the business user. It’s a proven enterprise sales model, similar to what Arbor Software did in 1995, and QlikTech should be congratulated for being smart and adapting to an important trend. It’s encouraging to see their market valuation and I’m sure it’s because:

  • Their strong growth rate
  • The BI market is very large and getting much bigger
  • Newer technology that enables direct sales to business users (not to mention a very sexy UI)
  • Other publicly held BI companies are relatively flat

Appealing directly to business users, making it easy for them to upload their data and begin analysis without waiting for support from developers is critical. Every BI vendor must do this and more. The market is also screaming for data integration (simple as well as sophisticated), deployment options (on-premise, private and public clouds/virtualization), and big data analytics just to name a few.

So my congratulations to QlikTech for what they achieved and for raising the excitement level in the BI industry even higher. With this outstanding achievement, I have to wonder how Wall Street might receive a company that is not only financially successful and has great growth momentum, but is also supported by an open source community, has its technology and sales model appealing to more constituents—developers, system integrators, and business users—and has its technology innovated around all the key BI trends. Hmm…

Richard


Part 2: Configuring Server Side Data Connections – even easier!

July 23, 2010

Welcome to Part 2 of the Pentaho Video Tutorial Series. In Part 1, we covered the installation of the Pentaho BI Suite on an Ubuntu Linux O/S using the Pentaho BI Suite Installer. Many have already experienced how easy it was to download and install, thanks for your comments. (You can obtain the installer from the Pentaho KB or from http://www.pentaho.com/download/.)

In this part we will cover configuring Pentaho server side data connections that can access your traditional RDBMS data sources. In this example I demonstrate adding connections to Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server 2008. It is important to note that the Pentaho design tools, such as Report Designer, Schema Workbench, Data Integration and the Metadata Editor can publish content using these server side data source connections that have been configured. (We will cover this in Part 3 of the series) To prepare for this configuration, please have the appropriate vendor specific JDBC Type 4 driver available for the data source you want to connect to. You can obtain them from the database vendor’s web site, your DBA, or perhaps the installation location of the RDBMS.

You can view the video inline in this blog, or download the higher quality .wmv (Windows Media Video) to your workstation for local viewing.

To see all related Tutorials in this series posted by me, click on my pic on the bottom right under Authors.

Mike Tarallo
Pre-Sales Director
Pentaho Corporation

Para ver esta entrada en español chasque aquí here
Pour regarder cette entrée en français cliquez sur ici
Um diese Eintragung auf deutsch anzusehen klicken Sie hier


Part 1: Installing Pentaho Enterprise Edition – yep, it’s that easy

July 21, 2010

That’s right, I said it. It’s that easy. Hello everyone, I am Michael Tarallo, Pentaho Pre-Sales Director.  It is an absolute pleasure to be blogging in the Swamp with the rest of the Pentaho crew.  Originally I started creating a series of Pentaho related tutorial type videos published exclusively on my blog michaeltarallo.blogspot.com. However, I have also been invited to the Swamp to share my BI technical musings and knowledge with y’all. (no really, I am originally from the North East, I don’t ever say y’all) –  I thought this would be a great way to share this series and create an awareness of how easy it is to get started using and evaluating the Pentaho software.

This is part 1 of an N part series (there is so much to showcase I don’t have a definitive number) that will showcase the power, flexibility and extensibility of the Pentaho BI Suite. My goal is to help you evaluate the Pentaho BI Suite easily and quickly as well as show you tips and techniques that make Pentaho the right choice for current and future needs.  In this 15 min video (available in my blog or as a download here)  you will watch me go through the process, of downloading, installing and testing the Pentaho BI Suite Enterprise Edition on an Ubuntu Linux operating system. From start to finish, you will see it truly is just that easy. The next entry will focus on configuring data sources to be used for content creation. Enjoy and I hope to speak with you in person!

To see all related Tutorials in this series posted by me, click on my pic on the bottom right under Authors.

Mike Tarallo
Pre-Sales Director
Pentaho Corporation

Para ver esta entrada en español chasque aquí here (Google Translation)
Pour regarder cette entrée en français cliquez sur ici (Google Translation)
Um diese Eintragung auf deutsch anzusehen klicken Sie hier (Google Translation)

You can download the high quality .wmv (Windows Media) here


Top 10 reasons behind Pentaho’s success

July 20, 2010

Today we announced our Q2 results. In summary Pentaho:

  • More than doubled new Enterprise Edition Subscriptions from Q2 2009 to Q2 2010.
  • Exceeded goals resulting in Q2 being the strongest quarter in company history and most successful for the 3rd quarter in a row.
  • Became the only vendor that lets customers choose the best way to access BI: on-site, in the cloud, or on the go using an iPad.
  • Led the industry with a series of market firsts including delivering on Agile BI.
  • Expanded globally, received many industry recognitions and added several stars to our executive bench.

How did this happen? Mostly because of our laser focus over the past 5 years to build the leading end-to-end open source BI offering. But if we really look closely over the last 12-18 months there are some clear signs pointing to our success (my top ten list):

Top 10 reasons behind Pentaho’s success:

1.     Customer Value – This is the top of my list. Recent analyst reports explain how we surpassed $2 billion mark during Q2 in terms of cumulative customer savings on business intelligence and data integration license and maintenance costs. In addition, ranked #1 in terms of value for price paid and quality of consulting services amongst all Emerging Vendors.

2.     Late 2008-Early 2009 Global Recession – this was completely out of our control but it helped us significantly by forcing companies to look for lower cost BI alternatives that could deliver the same or better results than the high priced mega-vendor BI offerings. Making #1 more attractive to companies worldwide.

3.     Agile BI – we announced our Agile BI initiative in Nov 2009 and received an enormous amount of press and positive reception from the community, partners, and customers. We’ve been showing previews and releasing RCs in Q1-Q2 2010 and put PDI 4.0 in GA at the end of Q2 2009.

4.     Active Community – A major contributing factor to our massive industry adoption is our growing number of developer stars (the Pentaho army) that continue to introduce Pentaho into new BI and data integration projects. Our community triples the amount of work of our QA team, contributes leading plug-ins like CDA and PAT, writes best-selling books about our technologies and self-organizes to spread the word.

5.    BI Suite 3.5 & 3.6 – 3.5 was a huge release for the company and helped boost adoption and sales in Q3-Q4 2009. This brought our reporting up to and beyond that of competitors. In Q2 2010 the Pentaho BI Suite 3.6 GA brought this to another level including enhancements and new functionality for enterprise security, content management and team development as well as the new Enterprise Edition Data integration Server.  The 3.6 GA also includes the new Agile BI integrated ETL, modeling and data visualization environment.

6.     Analyzer – the addition of Pentaho Analyzer to our product lineup in Sept-Oct 2009 was HUGE for our users – the best web-based query and reporting product on the market.

7.     Enterprise Edition 30-Day Free Evaluation – we started this “low-touch/hassle free” approach in March 2009 and it has eliminated the pains that companies used to have to go thru in order to evaluate software.

8.     Sales Leadership – Lars Nordwall officially took over Worldwide Sales in June 2009 and by a combination of building upon the existing talent and hiring great new team members, he has put together a world-class team and best practices in place.

9.     Big Data Analytics – we launched this in May 2010 and have received very strong support and interest in this area. We currently have a Pentaho-Hadoop beta program with over 40 participants. There is a large and unfulfilled requirement for Data Integration and Analytic solutions in this space.

10.   Whole Product & Team – #1-#9 wouldn’t work unless we had all of the key components necessary to succeed – doc, training, services, partners, finance, qa, dev, vibrant community, IT, happy customers and of course a sarcastic CTO ;-)

Thanks to the Pentaho team, community, partners and customers for this great momentum. Everyone should be extremely proud with the fact that we are making history in the BI market. We have a great foundation in which to continue this rapid growth, and with the right team and passion, we’ll push thru our next phase of growth over the next 6-12 months.

Quick story to end the note:  I was talking and white boarding with one of my sons a few weeks ago (yes, I whiteboard with my kids) and he was asking certain questions about our business (how do we make money, why are we different than our competitors, etc.) and I explained at a high level how we are basically “on par and in many cases better” than the Big Guys (IBM, ORCL, SAP) with regards to product, we provide superior support/services, yet we cost about 10% as much as they do. To which my son replied, “Then why doesn’t everyone buy our product?”  Exactly.

Richard
CEO, Pentaho


Is Excel costing you more than you think?

July 15, 2010

A recent trend we have noticed at Pentaho is that an increasing number of customers reaching out to us for their BI solution are using spreadmarts as the default reporting tool and rely heavily on Excel/spreadmarts for storing and gaining insight on their data.  Red Flag! Often overlooked are the many risks that these spreadmarts introduce to your decision making process.  While effective for displaying static data, Excel/spreadmarts are a poor substitute for modern business intelligence.

Last month, Pentaho hosted a webcast to answer the popular question, “How do you save money and time by replacing Excel/Spreadmarts?” The speakers featured experts Rick Sherman, co-author of the TDWI study, “Strategies for Managing Spreadmarts and Migrating to a Managed BI Environment” and Jake Cornelius, Director, Product Management at Pentaho. The attendance and response to the webcast was tremendous. If you missed this webcast, no worries, it is now on-demand to watch on your schedule. Here’s an inside look at some of the highlights:

  • You are not alone! The median company has 30 Spreadmarts. Average = 837!
  • The average costs of spreadmarts to an organization is $780,000 a year.
  • The benefits of allowing business users to use spreadmarts are that they already understand the tool and can do it without IT assistance.
  • The dangers associated with spreadmarts include lack of data consistency, audit trail and data governance as well as the productivity drain due to version control and inaccurate data – see screen shot below. (In this webcast learn how to mitigate this risk and successful strategies for reducing you companies dependency)
  • There is a solution, which allows you to see the difference a managed BI solution will make. In 3 days you can receive an initial proof of value using a set of your own data (check out the Pentaho 72 Hour Challenge).

These are just a few of the highlights from the webcast. To learn more about how to save money and better leverage your data to make smarter decisions watch the on-demand webcast, ‘Modern Cost-Effective BI Will Save your Firm Money and Time by Replacing Spreadmarts.

Watch more of Pentaho’s most popular Open Source BI webcasts on your schedule.

We are listening! This webcast was a suggestion from our customers. What other topics are you interested to learn about from Pentaho? Let us know in the comments section below or on Twitter – we are @Pentaho.


Where is Pentaho this July?

July 12, 2010

This July, Pentaho continues the Worldwide Techcast Series demonstrating how Pentaho’s Agile BI initiative will help you speed development of new BI applications and better ensure that these applications meet the needs of your business users. Learn about Pentaho Data Integration 4.0 and Agile BI in six languages: Italian, German, Portuguese, Spanish, French and Norwegian. Sign-up for a live techcast this month or watch the series on-demand.

We are also holding an executive breakfast the city where high-tech meets southern hospitality, Raleigh, North Carolina on July 20th at EvoApp Live. If you are in the ‘Triangle’ make sure to reserve your seat for this interactive panel discussion about how business analytics are driving top preforming companies to make better, faster, more informed decisions.

Pentaho Featured Events

The highlighted events for the month of July are webcast for those looking to learn more about OSBI and simple ways to get started. These webcast are free, however, early registration is recommended.

Comparing the Cost of Business Intelligence – Proprietary Vs. Open Source.
With leading analyst Mark Madsen
July 13 at 14:00 EDT (18:00 GMT)
Register Now

* If you cannot attend the webcast on July 13, register for the July 22 webcast.
* For additional background to this webcast download Mark Madsen’s latest white paper, Lowering the cost of Business Intelligence with Open Source.

BI On-Demand – See your data in a dashboard in just 3 days!
Wednesday, July 28, 2010 14:00 EDT (18:00 GMT)
Register Now

Visit our events page for more details and updated events.
Follow-us on Twitter or Facebook for event reminders and updates.


Improving product quality the open source way

July 7, 2010

Originally posted on opensource.com 7/7/10

If we look at the differences between closed and open source software development processes, we can identify aspects that can be generalized and applied to other industries and domains.

Open source development—that combination of transparency, iterative development with early-and-often releases, and open participation—leads to higher quality products. When we’re talking about software, people tend to think of quality in terms of bugs. But this is only part of the story of open development.

Defects can be anywhere within the requirements, design, implementation, or delivery processes, and we need to consider all of these areas to assess the full quality picture.

  • Requirements defects result in a product that does not meet the needs of the market or misses significant opportunities.
  • Design defects result in a product that tries, but fails, to meet the users’ needs.
  • Implementation defects result in a product that has lower customer satisfaction.
  • Delivery defects result in a product that no one hears about or can get hold of.

The earlier these defects arise in the process, and the longer they are unresolved, the more they cost to fix. When you compound defects in requirements, design, and implementation, the result is an expensive mess. (Windows Vista, anyone?)

A closer look at how this works inside the world of software development will yield larger principles to be applied to any project that aspires to use an open development model.

Under the closed model

Sales reps and account reps relay requirements to product managers, who then describe the required features to software engineers, who then design and implement the features and pass them to quality engineers, who try to test the features and report bugs that need fixing. After all this has happened, customers eventually receive the software. The lack of transparency means defects in the requirements and design don’t get spotted until after the product has been implemented and delivered. Another major problem is that, typically, the quality engineers don’t have any personal use for the software, so it is hard for them to imagine the different use cases that real users will have.

The final product suffers from the lack of connection between the software engineers and the software users.

Under the open model

A transparent requirements process includes consumers adding their own requirements and perhaps open voting to determine the most popular features. An open design process means consumers can ask questions about the design to validate it against their use case. Early-and-often releases during implementation mean that consumers can help find defects, which can be fixed early on. Fixing these defects during early development means features built later are not layered upon resolved defects from the earlier development.

Moving beyond software

So how do we apply these open principles outside of the software industry? Following are some good examples (and one bad one).

Open requirements

Some companies manage to meet unanticipated needs by enabling consumers to create new products for them to sell.

Amazon: As an independent author, Amazon allows you to sell your own books through their service. My mother wrote a book about British birth and death certificates. She uses a print shop in her village, and through Amazon UK she sells to a global market. Amazon sends her the customers’ addresses to mail her books to, and a check to cash, with Amazon’s commission already deducted.

Cafe Press: Create a cool slogan or logo, then upload it to Cafe Press and sell it on a wide array items. The designer needs almost no investment other than time and talent. Cafe Press gets an huge product set, over 250 million unique products—and a portion of each sale.

There are services with similar models for bands, musicians, photographers…

Open design

Lego: Using a free CAD design tool, Digital Designer, Lego customers can design new models, then order that kit from Lego. The creator can also upload the design to Lego’s Design by Me, so that other people can build it. The creator gets satisfaction and kudos, while Lego gets all the money. This builds community and revenue.

Nike: Nike ID lets you customize your own sports shoes. By allowing customization of the product appearance, consumers can create a unique-looking shoe that very few, if any, other people have. The Air Jordan basketball shoe has so many colors and customizable parts that even if every person on Earth bought five pairs, every pair could still be unique. Nike could take this further by letting people name their designs and allow voting for the best.

Local Motors: An open car company, Local Motors holds competitions for the concept and the design of their cars with open voting. Then they hold more competitions for the interior design, parts designs, exterior skins, and accessories. Then they put the vehicle into production. Their first is the Rally Fighter. They also encourage owners to participate in the manufacturing of their own cars. Their vision is to have small manufacturing facilities in most cities, hence their name. The effort put in by the contributors is stunning. The designs are awesome and it’s a highly supportive community.

Open delivery

Transparency and participation can also be used to help spread a message or engage consumers.

T-Mobile, UK: T-Mobile UK started with a successful advert where they staged a flash mob dance in London’s Liverpool St Station, an idea they must have borrowed from a Belgian radio station. Then they broadcast an open invitation to be part of their next event. Over 13,000 people showed up to find out the event was mass-karaoke. The result is really quite touching if you watch it all. It’s not often you can say that about a commercial.

Mountain Dew: Mountain Dew’s Dewmocracy was an open voting system for its next flavor. On their web sites you can see how the voting went down to the county level.

Kraft, Australia: An example of how to do it badly. When coming out with a new variant of their popular Vegemite spread, they had a naming competition. Fifty thousand people submitted entries. Unfortunately the winner was picked by a closed panel of “experts.” They selected “iSnack 2.0″ as the name, thinking it was edgy and cool. Public reaction was swift and very uncool. Within days Kraft announced they were revoking the name and opened a new poll to allow the public to choose the new name. The selected name was “Vegemite Cheesybite.”

Both the T-Mobile and Kraft campaigns involved large numbers of people participating of their own free will. The difference is that everyone participating in the T-Mobile event was part of the final product; if only 10 people showed up the result would have been very lame. In the Kraft case the closed selection panel proved to be the flawed element.

In all of these examples, there are similarities and differences. Some cases require a very flexible manufacturing process, while in others the inventory is electronic. Sometimes the individual contributors do their own manufacturing. In some cases the participants are highly skilled; while for others, little or no skills are required. But in all these cases (well, except the unfortunate Aussie Kraft example) the companies provide more choices, better products, or a better message by enabling open participation of individuals or communities.


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