Is your Hadoop cluster big enough to hold your development team’s ego?

March 7, 2013
“There isn’t a cluster big enough to hold your ego!”

“There isn’t a cluster big enough to hold your ego!”

While Gartner describes a “trough of disillusionment” to describe the hangover that follows a period of commercial hype, on the IT side, I see a corresponding “mountain of ego”. Don’t get me wrong. This is not about a sales guy trying to go after the development community – one I proudly belonged to for many years and where I started my journey in this industry. But ask any developer how long it takes to code something and prepare to be amazed by how fast and easy it all is. Three budget cycles later and a couple of delay notifications and we all know better. Agile development tries to cope with this but it’s no silver bullet.

As companies plough ahead with big data initiatives, the relationship between IT and the business has never been more important.  IT and data integration specialists lead most of today’s big data initiatives; it’s uncharted territory, pioneering work and a place to shine a bright and powerful spotlight on IT’s capabilities and potential to add great value to the business. Challenged by the promise of crafting an algorithm that reads like poetry they dive in head first with the scripting language of choice: Python, Ruby, Pig, Perl, JavaScript…whatever you prefer, too bad there isn’t an Hadoop Assembler library available or we could take some real poetic license!

But here’s the problem. It’s one thing to develop beautiful algorithms and dazzling prototypes but what happens when the inevitable errors, exceptions and irregularities, or – worse – the continuous stream of user changes surface? These unglamorous, seemingly trivial inconveniences that seemed hardly worth factoring into the initial delivery estimates invariably wind up causing major headaches and delays. And fixing them is boring and unworthy of the self proclaimed and highly paid Data Scientist!

The reason I mention all this is that no group suffers the grave consequences of putting ego before pragmatism than IT itself. Business Intelligence 1.0 fell into disrepute for taking ages to implement, costing too much money, being inflexible and plagued with backlogs of IT requests. Our industry must avoid the situation in big data where searching for the Holy Grail of scripting nirvana gets in the way of delivering solutions on time to the business so we all can avoid a repeat failure.

When it comes to data analytics, sidestepping IT is reckless. If you thought ‘Excel Hell’ and ‘rogue spreadsheets’ led to inefficiency and poor decisions, just wait for the mayhem that ensues when ‘rogue analytics’ comes to town! Whether it knows it or not, the business needs IT to handle the data cleansing, warehousing, integration and assimilation that is vital to underpinning fast, meaningful, insightful analytics – especially when big data sets come into the picture.

All this means that IT and the business need to work together and find a rhythm instead of trying to get one over on each other. Since the business rarely gets blamed for bad IT decisions (even when it makes them) this rhythm will only happen when IT gets pragmatic and finds ways to work at the (rapid) pace of the business, especially when using big data sources. In addition to changes in culture and mentality, taking advantage of the promise of big data analytics will certainly involve IT using powerful data integration tools instead of coding scripts and hacking algorithms together. However, through these changes, IT stands to earn respect and even hero status, when the business is able to measure revenue gains and efficiency savings.

On the other hand if IT insists on putting ego before pragmatism, the business will find shortcuts, and believe you me they won’t be pretty! So don’t F* around…visit http://www.pentahobigdata.com to learn more.

Davy Nys

*Cartoon drawing by Pentaho’s own Steve Macfarlane


Channel Partners – Carpe Diem!

March 1, 2013
Erik Nolten

Erik Nolten

In my first blog post for Pentaho, I would like to join our Italian channel partner BNova in a celebration. No, this is not about Italy’s recent elections (I don’t want to get involved in politics!) but a matter closer to my heart. On March 13, I will meet BNova’s Massimiliano Vitali and Serena Arrighi in London to take part in the IT Europa European IT and Software Excellence awards dinner in recognition for the ground-breaking work it did for its customer Infocamere. You can read more about the Infocamere story here.

This is a proud milestone in our partnership with BNova, which was one of our very first European channel partners. We worked with Bnova from day one, helping the company design its business strategy, marketing plan and train its people to sell and support Pentaho with confidence. BNova has built a thriving, profitable business whose revenue has tripled since its reseller agreement with Pentaho began in early 2009. All this has taken place against the backdrop of Italy and the Eurozone’s tough economic situation, proving that its services offer public and private sector companies excellent value for money.

Seize the day, or the year!

Our CEO Quentin Gallivan recently blogged that 2013 will be the year in which many companies go into production with big data analytics. Thanks to the groundwork we have done together, BNova, which has thrown its support behind big data is now in pole position profit from this trend, which is emerging in Italy. You can learn more about BNova’s customers and services at the Big Data Conference in Rome on March 12.

When channel partners succeed, everybody wins. We know that many of you have limited marketing resources so we’re here to help. If you have impressive customer stories like Infocamere, our team is on hand to help you promote and celebrate them by writing up case studies, press releases, co-hosting a webinar and completing award applications.

I hope that BNova’s story will inspire other channel partners to get the most out of their partnerships with Pentaho. If you’d like to learn more, please contact me on enolten@pentaho.com.

Erik Nolten
Director Channel EMEA & APAC


Attention channel partners: turn big data into big money!

October 8, 2012

In Europe, where about half our sales come through the channel, I’m seeing some interesting opportunities for our partners to profit from the big data revolution that I wanted to share. The good news is that the customer demand is already here.

One is in providing expert professional services to help customers plan and implement big data solutions. Within this area, one of the biggest opportunities is in tool selection. There’s a dizzying array of big data technology on the market, much of which is unfamiliar to customers. For example, there are at least ten NoSQL databases, so which one should they pick? And how should they further complete their big data architecture? Customers are looking for some hands-on guidance.

Another opportunity I am seeing is within partners that are embedding our analytics software to provide big data solutions ‘as-a-service’. These partners offer to pull data from Twitter feeds, Facebook feeds and other sources, perform the advanced analytics on that data and finally serve up that data as a service to their clients. We are seeing a number of marketing software providers that offer these types of services to companies on a subscription basis

You can read more about my observations on how customers are benefitting from big data here in this recent article in the UK channel magazine Microscope.

What will help improve your chances of success?

First, don’t try to boil the ocean! Focus on the needs of a specific industry. Big data uses cases differ massively even between retail banks and wholesales banks, so channel organisations really need to focus on tailored solutions to gain credibility.

Next, avoid the ‘big bang’ approach. Get customers warmed up with big data by proving the value of big data through small pilot projects using a couple of data sources that return specific and measurable outcomes. After the first stage is completed, identify new opportunities and goals and plan the next incremental stage. This allows the customer to become acquainted with the new technologies and processes along the way without being overwhelmed. Customers today want to see results quickly and have little appetite for long term development projects.

Our full Business Analytics platform is the ideal tool for this big data ‘warm up’ process. First you can tackle the data integration challenges using our Pentaho Data Integration (PDI) software. PDI makes big data technologies much easier to use.  Its visual design tool significantly lowers the barriers to getting started with big data by cutting out the complex scripting and coding tasks.

From there you can immediately visualise the results with our underlying analytics engine. That way you can iteratively work your way to a solution that will prove valuable to the customer immediately. If you want to learn more about our big data solutions go to pentahobigdata.com

I hope this has convinced you that the big data revolution stands to offer you some real revenue opportunities today. If you’re an IT channel organisation and would like to know more or you’re a partner with a story to tell, please get in touch!

Davy Nys
VP EMEA & APAC, Pentaho
Twitter @davynys


Big Data Panelmania

September 21, 2012

From sea to shining sea, Pentaho leaders will be busy with big data discourse during two panel discussions on Tuesday, September 25th. In San Francisco, Chief Technology Evangelist Ian Fyfe will weigh in on what makes data visualization the hot, must-have big data tool. Later in the day, founder Richard Daley will the discuss the effects (and the challenges) big data technology has on business intelligence. He’ll also discuss why SMBs shouldn’t feel left out of what big data has to offer. We’d love to see you at either panel (or even both, if you have one of these).

The Details:

What: DataWeek panel on “Why is Data Visualization Insanely Popular”
Where: San Francisco
When: Tuesday, September 25th, 12pm/pt
Join Us: http://www.dataweek.co/index/conferencespeaker/event/23

What: Enterprise Insights panel on “Go Big (Data) Or Go Home”
Where: 1290 Avenue of the Americas, New York City
When: Tuesday, September 25, 2012, 6pm/et
Join Us: http://www.nybimeetup.org/events/78002042/?eventId=78002042&action=detail


Pentaho Customer Success Update

August 27, 2012

We are lucky to have such awesome customers at Pentaho from all verticals such as retail, healthcare, travel, finance and education. Here is a list of a few of our newest customer stories.

BeachMint - Innovative venture capital-backed online retail company built from the ground up with Pentaho. This is an interesting story about how company-wide access to analytics can drive operational excellence, improving customer experience and maximize revenues. They are a big data example — using Kettle with HP Vertica.

Oklahoma School of Community Medicine - This is an innovative story about medical students using Pentaho to help change the way they treat patients. Unique about this story is that the driver for analytics is the head of the medical program (very non-technical).

Lufthansa ­ Largest European airline by number of passengers and revenue, relies on Pentaho to monitor one of its most important core processes, the handover of passenger data between different airlines. Read the full case study in English and German.

the lewis group – Leading UK debt collection agency rolled out Pentaho to deliver performance management dashboards to help improve operational efficiency. They now are analyzing data daily through reports on a client, department and individual level.

Pharos Resources – SaaS provider of retention intelligence for higher education colleges and universities, embedded Pentaho Business Analytics into its Pharos Insight offering and went to market in just four weeks. With enhanced analytics using Pentaho, Pharos has leapfrogged competitors, expanded into new markets, seen 25% revenue growth and a great increase in customer ROI. Watch the customer webcast: Pentaho to Go to Market with Higher Education Student Retention Product in Four Weeks and read the case study.

You can view all Pentaho customer success stories here: http://www.pentaho.com/customers/success-stories/


Pentaho Olympic Analytics: Flat File to Analytics in Olympic Speed

August 20, 2012

We were big fans of the London 2012 Summer Olympic Games and enjoyed analyzing all of the data associated with the event. You may have seen the many Olympics dashboards we shared over the past couple weeks on our Facebook page here, here and here. Wayne Johnson, Senior Sales Engineer at Pentaho put together a behind the scenes video to demonstrate how easy it was to create the Olympic dashboards and reports using Pentaho. Check it out:


We need your support! Vote Pentaho for the Data Week Awards

August 9, 2012

Data innovation is all the buzz these days. With the emergence of brand new, exciting technologies, the founders of Techweek in Chicago and the Data 2.0 Summit in San Francisco are putting together DataWeek 2012 from September 22-27  in order to spawn collaboration and conversation about how data innovation is affecting the ways our society works. An exciting part of the conference is the Data Week Awards. Pentaho has the opportunity to win in two categories!

If you have benefited from using Pentaho, we have a small favor to ask in a return…..Please vote Pentaho to win an award for our Business Intelligence and Big Data capabilities. It takes just a few moments to register to vote and we would greatly appreciate your support!

We are trying to win in two categories. Please click below to vote!

Business Intelligence: http://ow.ly/criFQ 

Big Data: http://ow.ly/ckBR9 (currently we are one of the top contenders in this category)

Thanks for your help!


Advice from Willy Wonka

August 3, 2012

We’ve got your golden ticket to web analytics, download the latest whitepaper: Everything you Know about Digital Measurement is Wrong…and What to Do About It.


Pentaho update to BBBT

July 24, 2012

Pentaho had the privilege of briefing the Boulder BI Brain Trust (BBBT) on July 20, 2012. The Boulder BI Brain Trust is a gathering of leading BI analysts, experts, and practitioners who attend half-day presentations from interesting and innovative BI vendors. After a very interactive morning presenting to the group, Pentaho CEO, Quentin Gallivan and SVP of Products, Jake Cornelius sat down with Claudia Imhoff, president and founder of the BBBT to discuss some of her questions from the morning about Pentaho.

The result is an excellent update about Pentaho products, technology and overall direction. Listen to a podcast of this interview to learn the following about Pentaho:

  • How Pentaho is differentiated?
  • What are the market forces for business analytics and how are they converging?
  • How is Pentaho meeting changes in market?
  • Overview of the Pentaho platform
  • What’s the reason for the BI embedded analytics trend?
  • What are some Pentaho big data customer examples?
  • What’s in the near future for Pentaho and its products?

Listen now: Claudia Imhoff interview with Pentaho leaders Quentin Gallivan, CEO and Jake Cornelius, SVP of Products


Words of Wisdom

July 20, 2012

We are very lucky to have some words of wisdom today from The Most Interesting Man in the World.

Stay integrated my friends!


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