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


On-Demand or On-Premise: Yes, Please

June 8, 2010

The great debate about on-demand solutions versus on-premise software has gone on for about a decade now. The consensus is that the hosted approach is more nimble, much faster to deploy, doesn’t require in-house resources or hardware, but it isn’t quite ready for the big league due to security issues, cloudy information ownership issues, limited functionality, very limited flexibility, closed architectures and a lack of general data scalability. As a result, hosted BI has struggled to gain acceptance.

Well it’s time for a fresh take on this subject – one that finally gets BI where it needs to be. Pentaho has created a hybrid approach, which gives you the best of both worlds – the freedom, flexibility and ease of hosted software in tandem with the security, robustness and scalability of enterprise-grade solutions. This comes in the form of a suite of On-Demand BI subscriptions that put you in the driver seat. Instead of having to live with whatever the provider decides to do with information storage, security and management, you are in complete control over how the hosted solution is deployed and managed. That adds the key element that has been missing – choice. You determine if it is best that the BI application is managed wholly by Pentaho, internally or by both parties.

Those of you with more time or internal resources to commit to the specific BI application initiative can develop and administer the infrastructure yourselves. Alternatively, Pentaho can handle any portion of the deployment or application management, as you determine based on what is best for your organization.

What if you change your mind? No problem. This subscription service is deployed via a virtual image. So if you decide to move your BI Suite on-premise, there are no portability issues to overcome – one of the huge barriers to adoption of traditional hosted solutions. No longer is it problematic to shift from hosted to on-premise or back again. And if you want to add more bandwidth, memory or processing power, it’s quickly and easily added.. How’s that for agility?

Skeptical? Take it for a test drive in our new On-Demand BI evaluation environment. It’s so good that we challenge anyone to provide us with a distinct data set and we’ll get it running within 72 hours with dashboards and relevant KPIs. We’ll even let you access it for three weeks while you explore and expand it.

On-Demand or On-Premise: Yes, please.

Richard

For more information about Pentaho’s On-Demand BI Solution and the 72-Hour Challenge visit www.pentaho.com/services/on-demand.


Big data should not mean big cost

May 19, 2010

Data is exploding at rates our industry has never seen before and the huge opportunity to leverage this data is stymied by the archaic licensing practices still in use by the old school software companies.  Currently, the big guys like Oracle, IBM, SAP, Teradata and other proprietary database and data warehouse vendors have a very simple solution to “big data” environments – just keep charging more money, a lot more money. The only “winners” in this scenario are the software sales reps. Our industry (Tech) is artificially slowed in order to support these old school business models – they can’t afford to innovate in licensing and they surely don’t want to kill the golden goose – The Perpetual License fee.

A major gaming company, for example, had been using Oracle for its database and BI tech. With traffic reaching 100 million to 1 billion impressions per day, the database giant’s only answer was to sell more expensive licenses. Even then, the best it could do was analyze four days worth of information at a time.

Organizations like Mozilla, Facebook, Amazon, Yahoo, RealNetworks and many others are now collecting immense amount of structured and unstructured data. The size of weblogs alone can be enormous.  Management wants to be able to triangulate what people are doing at their sites in order to do a better job of

a)     Turning prospects into customers
b)     Offering customers what they want in a more timely manner
c)     Spotting trends and reacting to them in real time.

Any company, small or large, that is trying to sift through terabytes of structured and complex data on an hourly, daily or weekly basis for any kind of analytics had better take a long hard look at what it is really paying for. Just like the worldwide recession of 08-09 brought tremendous attention to lower cost, better value prop alternatives like Pentaho, the “big data” movement is doing the same thing in the DB/DW space. And where do you find some of the best innovations in the tech space? The answer is open source.

Specifically, an open source tech called Apache Hadoop is addressing the “better value proposition for Big Data.” It also is the only tech capable of handling some of these big data applications. Sounds great, right? Well not exactly. The issue with Hadoop is it is a very technical product with a command line interface. Once that data gets into Hadoop, how do you get it out? How do you analyze that data? If only there was an ETL and BI product tightly integrated with Hadoop, and available with the right licensing terms…

Today I’m proud to announce that Pentaho has done just that. Early May 19th we announced our plans to deliver the industry’s first complete end-to-end data integration and business intelligence platform to support Apache Hadoop.  Over the next few months we’ll be rolling out versions of our Pentaho Data Integration product and our BI Suite products that will provide Hadoop installations with a rich, visual analytical solution. Early feedback from joint Hadoop-Pentaho sites have been extremely positive and the excitement level is high.

Hadoop came out of the Apache open source camp. It is the best technology around for storing monster data sets. Until recently, only a small number of organizations used it, primarily those with deep technical resources. However, as the tech matures the audience is widening and now with a rich ETL and analytical solution it is about to get even bigger.

Stay tuned to our website and to this blog as I’ll be sharing many success stories over the next 90 days. And most importantly, watch out for the ‘Golden Goose’ licensing schemes from the old school vendors.

Richard

Visit www.pentaho.com/hadoop to watch a demo of Pentaho Enterprise integration with Hadoop and reserve your place in the beta program.


You can run but you can’t hide

May 18, 2010

Social media has changed the whole customer-vendor relationship. If our customers are not happy they have 100’s of ways to tell a lot of people. Vendors can run but they can’t hide.

Howard Dresner gets it. He tapped into the social media world to gather a sampling of over 450 business intelligence users to learn their real-world experiences with their vendors. He gathered their feedback in the new market study by Dresner Advisory Services, The Wisdom of Crowds Business Intelligence Market Study™. Here are a few of the highlights:

  • Pentaho, in the Emerging Vendor category, was ranked against six other vendors and received the top ranking in value for the price paid and quality of consulting services.
  • Pentaho is the clear leader in OSBI ranking above other OSBI vendors in every category.
  • Pentaho received the second highest marks overall among BI vendors.
  • 100 percent of responding customers recommended Pentaho.

Red Hat’s slogan comes to mind in this situation: “Truth Happens.” With the growth of social media you cannot hide if you have bad support or a crappy product – social media puts the power back into the users hands.

You can’t just say you are the best or largest – you have to be it. It is easy to throw around meaningless statistics about having “over 100,000 community members”, when the 100,000 merely visited a website or forge and registered to get community editions or view a forum. What is worse is when over 75% of these “community members” only visited that site one time and never returned. Making these grossly misleading claims is bad for commercial open source in general and horrible for the specific vendors.

Beyond the Wisdom of Crowds report, I wanted to point out a few other independent surveys out there to see the truth.

Open Source Solutions: Managing, Analyzing and Delivering Business Information
BeyeNETWORK Research Report by Mark Madsen

The End of Enterprise Software: Open Source Finds an Opening
By Wayne Eckerson, Director, TDWI Research

If you are interested to know what your peers are saying about Pentaho in The Wisdom of Crowds Business Intelligence Market Study™ the survey is available for download by visiting: http://www.pentaho.com/wisdom_of_crowds/

Richard


Former Informatica exec joins Pentaho

May 4, 2010

If you have the world’s most popular open source data integration (DI) offering and want to make it even better, you need the top DI market strategist behind the product. That is why we turned to DI and analytics veteran, Joe Nicholson. With over 25 years of technology and marketing management experience, with companies like Informatica, DecisionPoint and Trintech I asked Joe the same question I did to Tom Leonard when he joined, “What brought you to Pentaho?” Welcome Joe!

Guest Blogger: Joe Nicholson

I have been in DI and analytics in one form or another for most of my career. Whether it was marketing the data integration platform at Informatica or doing business development around packaged finance analytics at DecisionPoint, I am really an analytics guy at heart. Part of my passion no doubt comes from solving the enduring complexity and depth of the BI challenge. A decade ago, our challenges were focused on dealing with the complexity of data sources and providing cost effective information and analytics to the emerging generation of managers and mobile workers. At that time, data volumes and sources were exploding (or so we thought) and our primary customer prospects were those hand-coding their ETL projects or dumping their finance and other data into Excel and wanted a better way. What is particularly intriguing to me is that those challenges haven’t really changed over time. Data volumes and sources continue to grow, now at a rate that was impossible to imagine 10 years ago. And, while the use of BI has certainly increased for the business user, it is nowhere near where I would have expected it to be given all of the hype around Pervasive BI, BI for the Masses, the Democratization of BI or the other terms that were being used at that time. As a technology, it is still too expensive, too complex and too slow.

What has changed is the mindset of the business user. Frankly, the ROI for BI was oversold in the early and middle years and the recent economy has focused end users on TCO like never before as the need for faster, more agile and diverse projects now drive end user requirements.

I had followed Pentaho for several years, both from the technology and business model angles. First, from a technology perspective, they are solving many of the issues faced by end users by producing a complete, integrated BI suite that includes purpose built ETL, data modeling, reporting and analysis, all within a single platform that handles administration, security and the rest of the functions needed for deployment and maintenance of the BI applications.

Second, old way of licensing BI technology (and other software) has run its course. The era of open source and commercial open source has arrived. In today’s cost conscious, business driven climate, why would anyone run a long, extensive procurement process, construct costly prototypes and pay $10,000 to $100,000+ of license plus maintenance fees before you can actually see if the technology works for your purpose.

Enter Pentaho and the open source development and distribution model. Pentaho and its thousands of community members together with its own professional engineering staff have developed the Pentaho Enterprise BI Suite that is on par with all of the major players in the market across ETL, modeling, reporting analysis and data modeling. The game has changed with Pentaho’s recent announcements of the Pentaho Data Integration Version 4.0 and the Agile BI integrated development environment that forever changes how IT developers and business users collaborate to produce relevant BI applications.

It’s an exciting time to be in the DI and BI markets and even more exciting to be at Pentaho.

Joe Nicholson,
Vice President Product Marketing
Pentaho Corporation

Read the press release Pentaho Names Joe Nicholson Vice President of Product Marketing


Pentaho hires heavy hitter to head Europe

May 4, 2010

This week kicks off our EMEA Agile BI Roadshow. If you are in Turkey, Milan or Madrid make sure to drop by and meet Vinay Joosery, our new VP of Sales for EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Asia) region. The growth in EMEA is blazing, creating a wealth of sales opportunities and we are stepping up our game accordingly. Vinay brings the skill set that will propel our European operations forward at this critical time and build a sales operation that can take on and take down the incumbents across the region. After seven years at MySQL (Oracle/Sun) I asked Vinay, “What brought you to Pentaho?” Välkomna Vinay!

Guest blogger Vinay Joosery

The new guy often sees things differently to the ‘lifers’. I thought, after seven years in sales at the pioneering MySQL, it might take a while to settle in. At Pentaho though, life moves fast and there is a strong sense of community, so heading into my second month here, it already feels like I have been here for a while.

One reason for that, is the similarity in approach between the two companies. Pentaho is pioneering the commercialization of the leading end-to-end open source BI platform, at the very time that many organizations are looking for just such a solution. For me, there was no better professional challenge.

In my interactions with Pentaho customers, I see a wide range of adoption. We have the small fast-moving organizations who need to stay ahead of the curve and aggressively grow their top-line, like Aspiro, the ‘Nordic iTunes’. Or, the larger more conservative shops, who, perhaps driven by more austere economic times, need to reduce bottom-line costs. One good example is Swissport, a billion euro enterprise who employs over 30,000 people. It is great to see first-hand the real business value that customers are taking today from our offerings.

One important factor for these companies was the opportunity to ‘try before they buy’, easily gather independent information about the product and get assistance when they needed it.  Businesses are looking to ‘de-risk’ their investments, and this is where the deal is irresistible. In my previous roles dealing with high-end proprietary software, this is not possible. With Open Source it is common practice – one can follow the development of the products, access the public bug database, contribute and help influence the product roadmap.

What I love most about Pentaho is the great product, already in use by thousands of organizations, the engineers who are passionate about the product and so a large and active community, which keeps us all honest. In EMEA, we are very focused on ramping up on the marketing and sales.

It will take all of my experience of living on three continents and test my three European language skills, but I am relishing this new challenge. Thanks for welcoming me onboard with such warmth and feel free to reach out. I will do my utmost to deliver for all of you.

Cheers,
Vinay Joosery
VP Sales, EMEA
Pentaho Corporation

Read the press release, Pentaho Hires Heavy Hitter to Head Europe


What does the word ‘Agile’ mean to you?

April 27, 2010

The term ‘Agile BI’ is being used a lot these days. We launched our Agile BI Initiative back in Nov 2009 with Pentaho Analyzer being the first tech realization of the initiative. Last month we released  Pentaho Data Integration 4.0 as the second major deliverable, forever improving the way BI Apps are developed and deployed. Forrester just published a report, ‘Agile BI Out of the Box’ explaining their Agile BI Methodology. We are interested to learn from our community, “When thinking about business intelligence, what does ‘Agile’ means to you?”

By answering this one question, five finalists will be selected to win The Flip Ultra™ camcorder. The community will then have the chance to vote for their favorite answer. The winner of the community vote will win an iPad.

Deadline to enter is Friday, April 30th.

The creative entries – videos, cartoons, songs, scribbling on the back of cocktail napkins, etc. are the ones that will garner the most attention from the judges, so don’t hold back.


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