Q&A with Mari Jansdotter, Director of Embedded Sales

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.

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