Meet the most active and friendly developer community in Open Source BI

October 27, 2010

One of the highlights of my job as the “Pentaho Community Guy” is the yearly Community Gathering. This year, thanks to Webdetails, it was in beautiful Cascais, Portugal.  For a full recap of the event check out the blog, Pentaho Community Gathering (live), courtesy of Jan Aertsen at kJube.  This is the third year that the community has gathered for a weekend of presentations, beer and fun.  In 2009 it was in Barcelona Spain and before that, Mainz Germany.

I have been working with the community for about six years both as a developer and as community manager.  I’ve watched it go from a few familiar people answering questions in the forums to a daily flood of ideas (and other stuff) in the IRC.  Where it really gets fun and interesting is when people who work together, help each other and joke around every day, get to meet in person.  The flow of ideas accelerates greatly when in person and not constrained by a command line.

So – why only get the community together just once a year?  Community members in the London area had the same question and decided to start a Pentaho London User Group.  They are holding their first Pentaho London User Group or PLUG today, Wednesday October 27th. If you are near London stop by.

As the London group was getting the word out, other community members from around the world have been vocal on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, asking about starting a group.  To help people get started, we’ve created some guidelines and added resources to the Pentaho community site to help people connect and organize their own Pentaho User Group or PUG.  Each group will have it’s own personality and be owned by it’s local community. PUGs are a place to share best practices, foster innovation, network and build relationships with other Pentaho professionals.

Visit the home of Pentaho User Groups where you can find information about current Pentaho User Groups, let others know about your group and find answers to questions related to starting a group of your own.

I do believe that we have the most active and friendly developer community in Open Source BI. However, you can see for yourself by attending or starting a Pentaho User Group online or in-person.

Doug Moran
Community Guy
Pentaho

Photo courtesy of Jan Aertsen. To learn more about who’s who in the photo visit http://kjube.blogspot.com/2010/09/pcg10-participants.html

In the time between writing the blog and posting it, a new PUG has formed in the Benelux region. Welcome to our new PUG.  Make sure to check out the PUG home page, new ones are starting everyday.


Q&A with Mari Jansdotter, Director of Embedded Sales

October 26, 2010

Q&A is a new series on the Business Intelligence from the Swamp Blog that interviews key members of the Pentaho team to learn more about their focus at Pentaho and outlook on the BI and DI industry. For our first post, we interviewed Mari Jansdotter, Director of Embedded Sales at Pentaho. Mari has been at Pentaho for almost two years and comes to us from SugarCRM. She is based in our San Francisco office and in her free time can can be found chasing around her two adorable kids.

1. How have you seen the OEM landscape change at Pentaho over the past year?

It is a whole new playing field!  We have seen really positive trends, the most notable being a high increase in inbound interest.  Larger organizations, who earlier might only have considered traditional, proprietary vendors for their enterprise-wide projects, are coming to Pentaho to improve upon their already mature product offerings.  Our open standards-based architecture allows them to easily integrate Pentaho into existing products.  Similarly, start-up and mid-market companies are choosing to build new products on Pentaho’s platform because our end-to-end functionality can scale with them as their product and customer needs evolve.  The inbound interest is really coming from all corners of the market.  The real shift is the fact that these companies are now looking at Pentaho not because of price, but because they are making a strategic decision to choose the right BI technology solution for their product and for their customers.

2. Is there a specific vertical or type of company that you see particularly rapid OEM adoption in?

There are certainly a handful of verticals that continually show interest in embedding Pentaho, such as telco, finance, retail, insurance, and healthcare, but to be completely honest we don’t have a vertical-focused market.  When I first started here, I was ready to work with purely ISVs, but I am constantly surprised by various types and sizes of companies developing their own software.  We have worked with everything from small media monitoring organizations to one of the largest POS companies in the world.

3. What are some of the reasons that you have seen companies choose Pentaho’s OEM Program over the competition?

I would say there are three main reasons that companies choose to partner with Pentaho. Number one is certainly product breadth, as the only truly integrated end-to-end open source BI suite.  Second would be ease of deployment, because what matters most to companies looking to OEM a product is how fast they can get their product to market and start seeing ROI.  Third is the modular way that our product has been built, from the ground up, has proven much faster and easier to deploy than any others on the market.

4. What, if any, benefits do you feel Pentaho’s open source model lends to OEM partners?

One of the huge benefits of the open source model is innovation.  Pentaho is adding new and exciting features faster than anyone else by taking advantage of our large worldwide community. I think our OEM partners also take comfort in the fact that they are able to go out and see what is under the covers of our product and architecture.  The open source nature of each module in the suite also means full transparency regarding where our product is today and where it is headed.  Our OEM partners are always dialed in to our product roadmap.  They know what is to come and when, so that they can plan ahead for their own products.

5. What benefits do OEM Partners receive from the Enterprise Edition, that are not found in the Community Edition?

Choosing the right product takes on a whole new dimension when you are going to be putting it into a product of your own.  The ability to simply pick up the phone and call our product experts directly, should anything go wrong, has saved our Enterprise Edition OEM partners countless amounts of time and money.  The Enterprise Edition is stable, certified and licensed software, based on the open source code but put  through rigorous in-house QA and testing.  Not only that, but for the majority of companies that will be embedding Pentaho as a visual front-end, the Enterprise Edition offers additional functionality that includes more user-friendly GUIs, which really adds to their product.

6. As we move into the last quarter of 2010, where would you like to see the future direction of Pentaho’s OEM program headed for 2011?

Something that will be very important to me in the immediate future is building a stronger internal community with our Enterprise Edition OEM partners.  I think there is a lot of value to be gained from encouraging partner to partner dialogue.  A first step in this direction has been the introduction of the OEM-focused Architect’s Bootcamp course, which has proven to be a great learning and networking opportunity.  We recently had a very successful summit for our EMEA Partners in Lisbon on September 23-24, and are planning another Global Partner Summit here in San Francisco on January 19-20.  In addition, we’ve held a series of OEM Power Lunches in New York, San Mateo and Houston tomorrow. It is my hope that initiatives like these will allow us to provide the best possible experience for our growing network of OEM partners around the world.
Do you have additional questions for Mari? Is there someone or a certain role at Pentaho you would like us to interview? Leave your questions in the comments section below. We’d love to hear from you.

Seen and Heard in EMEA

October 25, 2010

It is always good to get out and meet old friends and new, when the sales calendar permits. A great way to combine meeting the public and keeping up Pentaho’s increasing momentum in the EMEA region is attending events. This month has seen seven so far; the launch of our EMEA HQ in Sweden, the Ovum Business Intelligence summit in London, our sponsorship of the Hadoop User Group, also in London, as well as dates for the Pentaho Agile BI Tour, which is ongoing for another few months

First and foremost was the launch of our EMEA HQ in a city which has seen its fair share of Open Source innovation – Stockholm. Held in the famous 100 year old Dramaten theatre and co-hosted by Pentaho partner Omicron, an invited audience of around 50 heard from Lars Nordwall, our Swedish-born Senior Vice-President of Sales (pictured left), as well as partners Conduct and BizIntel. A great success  in terms of networking, we will follow up with another event towards the end of the year also at the Dramaten, so feel free to let me know if you can make it. You can see all the photos from this event on the Pentaho Facebook Page.

Next up was the high-end Ovum Business Intelligence Symposium, a CIO-level event, which we co-sponsored with our partner Millersoft and saw us introduce a very impressive presentation from Pentaho customer Air Menzies, whose business involves shipping air freight underneath the passengers on scheduled flights. The audience were spellbound with tales of gold-plated Bugatti Veyronnes being transported from the Gulf to London for a summer with their owners and perhaps even more by an excellent iPad demo of Pentaho from satisfied customer Angus Gow (look out for the impressive case study soon).

Finally in a busy few weeks, Pentaho contributed the beer, pizza and (some of the) brainpower to only the fifth UK Hadoop User Group. Pentaho’s philosophy, which fosters communities like this, proves the importance of the Community aspect of our Open Source commitment. In this communal atmosphere, it was pleasing to hear so many searching questions from a friendly gathering that included some forward-thinking Pentaho customers. If you deal with Big Data but could not make it along, the chances are our paths will cross soon.

Cheers,
Vinay Joosery
VP Sales, EMEA
Pentaho Corporation


Pentaho’s ‘Chief Geek’ has the best job in America

October 20, 2010

CNN.com recently worked with Money and PayScale.com to create a list of the 100 Best Jobs In America. This list measures and  ranks jobs by their pay, work satisfaction and growth opportunity. We are excited to announce that our own Pentaho Chief Geek and CTO, James Dixon made #35 on the list! Check it out:

If you are looking to join a company that provides an exciting work environment that fosters creativity, presents rewarding technical challenges, and encourages experimentation,  check out our open positions worldwide in engineering, marketing, sales and services. Maybe you could make this list next year!

Learn more about career opportunities with Pentaho here: www.pentaho.com/careers/


Pentaho’s week of Hadoop

October 15, 2010

Congrats to our new partner Cloudera for putting on a great event this week. Hadoop World 2010 was a huge success – with over 900 attendees. It was great to talk to companies using Hadoop and those looking to solve their big data problems. We were also excited to have such a great showing at our presentation at the very end of the day with standing room only!

On Wednesday, following Hadoop World, the Pentaho Agile BI Tour arrived in NYC. Pentaho and its partner Project Leadership Associates presented a special half-day seminar focused on Agile BI and Big Data. We also hosted the first of three special OEM Power Lunches for companies interested in embedding Pentaho.

For an insider’s look at our Week of Hadoop check out our slide show below.

If you missed our four announcements Tuesday about the availability of Pentaho Data Integration and Pentaho BI Suite for Hadoop and our new partnerships you can read what the press and analyst have to say:

Hadoop pitched for business intelligence
ITWorld.com,  Joab Jackson

Pentaho Adds Hadoop Support
CTO Edge, Mike Vizard

Pentaho Brings Businss intellgience to Hadoop
ECRMGuide, Paul Shread

Pentaho brings BI, integration to Hadoop
Computer Business Review, Jason Stamper

You may be thinking, what is Hadoop? If so, I recommend to check out the videos by our Chief Geek, James Dixon. 5 videos are short, to the point and very informative.

Have a great weekend!
Rebecca Shomair
Director, Corporate Communications
Pentaho Corporation

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Pentaho, Hadoop, and Data Lakes

October 15, 2010

Earlier this week, at Hadoop World in New York,  Pentaho announced availability of our first Hadoop release.

As part of the initial research into the Hadoop arena I talked to many companies that use Hadoop. Several common attributes and themes emerged from these meetings:

  • 80-90% of companies are dealing with structured or semi-structured data (not unstructured).
  • The source of the data is typically a single application or system.
  • The data is typically sub-transactional or non-transactional.
  • There are some known questions to ask of the data.
  • There are many unknown questions that will arise in the future.
  • There are multiple user communities that have questions of the data.
  • The data is of a scale or daily volume such that it won’t fit technically and/or economically into an RDBMS.

In the past the standard way to handle reporting and analysis of this data was to identify the most interesting attributes, and to aggregate these into a data mart. There are several problems with this approach:

  • Only a subset of the attributes are examined, so only pre-determined questions can be answered.
  • The data is aggregated so visibility into the lowest levels is lost

Based on the requirements above and the problems of the traditional solutions we have created a concept called the Data Lake to describe an optimal solution.

If you think of a datamart as a store of bottled water – cleansed and packaged and structured for easy consumption – the data lake is a large body of water in a more natural state. The contents of the data lake stream in from a source to fill the lake, and various users of the lake can come to examine, dive in, or take samples.

For more information on this concept you can watch a presentation on it here: Pentaho’s Big Data Architecture

Cheers,
James Dixon
Chief Geek
Pentaho Corporation

Originally posted on James Dixon’s blog http://jamesdixon.wordpress.com/


Data, Data, Data

October 12, 2010

It’s everywhere and expanding exponentially every day. But it might as well be a pile of %#$& unless you can turn all of that data into information. And do so in a timely, efficient and cost-effective manner.  The old-school vendors don’t operate in a timely (everything is slow), efficient (everything is over-engineered, over-analyzed, over-staffed, etc) or cost-effective mode (the bloated supertanker needs feeding and the customer gets to pay for those inefficiencies), so that means new technologies and business models will drive innovation which ultimately serves the customers and communities.

Back to Data, Data, Data – Enter open source technologies like Hadoop and Pentaho BI/DI to drive next gen big data analytics to the market. Hadoop and Pentaho have both been around about 5 years, are both driven by very active communities, and have both been experiencing explosive growth over the last 18 months. Our community members are the ones who came up with the original integration points for the two techs, not because it was a fun, science project thing to do but because they had real business pains they were trying to solve. This all started in 2009 – we started development in 09, we launched our beta program in June 2010 (had to cap enrollment in the beta program at 60), launched a Pentaho for Hadoop roadshow (which was oversubscribed) and are now announcing the official release of Pentaho Data Integration and BI Suite for Hadoop.

I’m in NYC today at Hadoop World and we’re making four announcements:

  1. Pentaho for Hadoop – our Pentaho BI Suite and Pentaho Data Integration are now both integrated with Hadoop
  2. Partnership with Amazon Web Services – Pentaho for Hadoop now supports Amazon Elastic Map Reduce (EMR) and S3
  3. Partnership with Cloudera – Pentaho for Hadoop will support certified versions of Cloudera’s Distribution for Hadoop (CDH)
  4. Partnership with Impetus – a major Solutions Provider (over 1,000 employees) with a dedicated Large Data Analytics practice.

Consider this as phase I of building out the ecosystem.

We’re all about making Hadoop easy and accessible. Now you can take on those mountains of data and turn them into value. Download Pentaho for Hadoop.

Richard


The Pentaho Pre-Sales Sandbox

October 7, 2010

Quick Bit About Pentaho

Pentaho has been all about building and delivering a scalable, complete end-to-end BI Suite from day one. From making the software “possible” during those humble beginnings to making it “available” and now “easy”. You will find that Pentaho has an extensive offering that is both flexible and intuitive. Pentaho software has been targeted as the Commercial Open Source BI alternative by System Integrators, Consultancies, Enterprises, OEMs and SMBs. It has been deployed worldwide in a variety of industries; supporting mission critical applications which encompass both data integration and information delivery, all provided by “one” vendor, Pentaho.

The Pentaho Pre-Sales Sandbox

The Pre-Sales Sandbox is a resource that will streamline the effectiveness of the Evaluation/Selection process. With this resource at hand, you will be able to make an informed decision as quickly and efficiently as possible. Examples, tutorials, consolidated information are staged here to view and download to assist you in your evaluation process. Please be aware that the collateral available on this site can be posted on a moments notice and is intended to serve the masses as quickly as possible. Therefore the content downloaded may be a work in progress, a draft, incomplete, or limited in detail. Please see our website at http://www.pentaho.com for more information about our products and value added services.

Who should use this resource

This resource is primarily for those who are actively evaluating the Pentaho BI suite. It is not a replacement for our FREE evaluation support offering or the Pentaho Knowledge Base. It has been designed for those who are intending on exploring the power, flexibility and extensibility of the software. They have a basic understanding of Business Intelligence applications including information delivery and data integration. They are familiar with concepts of accessing data sources, creating and publishing reports as well as understand the fundamentals of ETL (Extract Transform Load). They understand terminology such as metric, measure, dimension and have a general understanding of data modeling. Professional documentation for the Pentaho BI suite, including Administration and Security guides are located in the Knowledge Base.

If you are evaluating Pentaho, or are simply a bit curious come check out the Pentaho Pre-Sales Sandbox here: http://sandbox.pentaho.com/

I hope to speak with you in person.

Michael Tarallo
Pre-Sales Director
Pentaho

(Originally posted on Michael Tarallo’s Blog: http://michaeltarallo.blogspot.com/2010/10/pentaho-pre-sales-sandbox.html)


Pentaho in October: It’s a Hadoop world, we’re just living in it

October 5, 2010

Big things are happening at Pentaho this month, with an emphasis on Big Data.  We are headlining Hadoop events in New York, London and San Diego. If you are attending Hadoop World in New York City on October 12th, make sure to stop by our booth and attend Richard Daley’s session, ‘Putting Analytics in Big Data Analysis‘.  Then stay around until the 13th for a special FREE half-day seminar, ‘Agile BI Meets Big Data‘ with our partners, Project leadership Associates.

All the while, we’re still on the road with the Agile BI Tour hitting full force in October.  We’ll be visiting 10 more cities around the world with these info-packed seminar and training sessions.  Directly following the Agile BI events in New York, San Mateo, and Houston, Pentaho will be hosting a special OEM Power Lunch, where we will explore Pentaho’s architecture, hear some specific OEM use cases, and introduce you to the Pentaho OEM team.

Hadoop Events

Join us to see how we’re simplifying the complexities of Big Data Analytics with Pentaho’s Biggest initiative to date, Pentaho for Hadoop.

Agile BI Tour : Data to Dashboards in Minutes

Business and technical users alike will benefit from these information-packed half-day seminars.  We will demonstrate and provide a step-by-step training on the Pentaho BI Suite Enterprise Edition.

OEM Power Lunch Series : Enhance you Product with Modern Business Intelligence

Join us for lunch as we explore Pentaho’s easily embeddable architecture, specific OEM partner case studies, and introduce you to our OEM team.  These lunch sessions will take place from 12:00 – 2:00pm, directly following the Pentaho Agile BI Tour stops in the following cities:

It’s an action-packed month and we look forward to seeing you somewhere along the way.  Wishing you a Happy Halloween from Pentaho!


The party is just starting

October 4, 2010

A few years ago when talking with some potential investors I heard on more than one occasion “Everybody already has BI” or “The market is saturated with BI products.” Quite the contrary – even the few companies that have BI or Data Integration products are just scratching the surface of their potential usage. Many projects are only rolled out to a limited set of users, handcuffed by the outrageous price of most products on the market. And what about all of the other projects that never even started due to cost constraints? And what about the rest of the companies on the planet who could never even buy their first BI/DI products? And what about all of the applications that could desperately use some embedded BI/analytical capabilities but due to cost and technical constraints of the old guard BI companies could never get off these efforts of the ground.

Imagine how frustrating it can be when the needs and requirements to make your business run more efficiently and effectively are held hostage by a few large software vendors. Thus, the founding of Pentaho and the democratization of BI and DI. For the past 5+ years we’ve been blazing trails to innovate and deliver great products to the market at either zero or extremely low prices. We chose open source as the development and distribution vehicles to make this all possible. We spent the first few years doing nothing but building great product and communities around those products. We knew we had to establish high adoption rates and momentum in order to effectively compete against the old school vendors, and to get the word out to the world that a better alternative was now available in BI and DI.

How are we doing? Many say we’ve done a great job: we win awards every year, we get great write-ups from analysts and press, we have a large, active community (I’ll post a separate blog on this subject), we have a large, happy customer base (our renewal rates are amongst the best in the industry), our company is growing at a record pace for any BI/DI company (our Q3 was 160% larger than any prior quarter in company history), our partner network is solid with some of the best minds/talent in the BI/DI market, our products are enterprise-class and easy to use (a combo that is not easy to achieve), and we continue to innovate (Agile BI, Cloud Offerings, Big Data Analytics), bringing great tech to the market to help solve problems for customers and communities. But we’ll truly know that we’ve done a great job when we become the defacto standard for BI/DI – this is what we set out to achieve every day.

What does this have to do with the title “The Party is just starting”? The need for analytics/BI/DI is never-ending and vendors have really only scratched the surface over the last 30 years. Break down one of the biggest barriers to adoption – cost – and you can clearly see how it is just beginning. Companies were starving for this tech and now the gates are wide open for adoption.  Couple that with the exponential explosion of data, a global market that is more tech savvy than ever and a worldwide financial crisis/recession over the last few years, and Voila! A full-featured, cost-effective alternative looks pretty attractive to customers.

Even the big vendors know how much value BI, DI and analytics bring to the market, as evidenced by all of the consolidation in our industry over the last 3+ years: ORCL buys Hyperion, IBM buys Cognos, IBM buys SPSS, IBM buys Netezza, SAP buys Business Objects, EMC buys Greenplum, etc.  Most of these vendors are creating stacks and appliances, but the cost to get in the game is still prohibitive to the overwhelming majority of companies. This is just one reason why Pentaho will continue to grow at record pace…

We’re winning for one simple reason: our customers, partners and communities are winning. So it is possible to have a party during a recession.

Regards,
Richard


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