Customer Success with Pentaho: Kiva.org

September 7, 2011

Pentaho is very excited to share with you our latest customer success story about Kiva.org, a non-profit micro finance platform, who have adopted Pentaho BI Enterprise Edition to automate their reporting and analytical capabilities. Kiva has gone from a “spread-mart” environment where each department had different views of disparate data sources, to being able to validate and publicize numbers company-wide.

Since its founding in 2005, Kiva.org has rapidly grown and made possible over $225 million in microloans between individual lenders and entrepreneurs all around the world.  To keep pace with increasing demand for its service, Kiva realized it needed a flexible, scalable and cost-effective data warehouse and reporting system that would be able to unify a variety of data sources and satisfy an equally varied number of customers of that data.

To achieve this, the team adopted an Agile BI and real-time data flow based on Pentaho.  Kiva believes that the return on investment with Pentaho has been almost immediate. By replacing Excel, Kiva is already seeing payback with people outside of IT analyzing their own data and creating their own reports. This allows Kiva’s engineering team to focus on the heavy lifting that its website requires rather than building custom reports.

With access to analytical tools, Kiva for the first time is empowering users and has turned its employees into true knowledge workers, a critical improvement when running an online microfinance organization that requires rapid, daily — if not hourly — decision-making.

“Using Pentaho and our data warehouse, we can break down a metric and do specific analysis to identify under-performing partners in just 20 minutes. In the past, that same query would take all night using an Excel grid,” said Greg Allen, a business analyst at Kiva.org.

Visit Pentaho.com to read the full story of how Kiva uses Pentaho to automate its reporting and analytical capabilities.

Join the Pentaho Lending Team on Kiva.org to start making an impact.


Open Source Fuels “Power To The User”

June 22, 2011

Traditionally open source Business Intelligence (OSBI) has been adopted by individuals with an “I” in their acronym: IT, SI, and ISVs.  This made sense because Open Source software started with deep technical roots in operating systems, appservers, RDBMSs, ESBs, etc., and when Pentaho pioneered OSBI in 2004 it was no different. The OSBI landscape back then was filled with some very nice technical projects, some desire from the “then current” open source proponents to move higher in the stack, and the overwhelming BI market screaming for disruption in the form of better products, better architectures and better pricing.

Over the next few years Pentaho built out a great BI platform with end-to-end BI capabilities and quickly became known as “The” OS BI Suite vendor. In conjunction with building product, we built out vibrant open source communities that helped spur our growth and adoption. We were the only clear alternative to Business Objects, Cognos, Oracle and Microstrategy, and the market was hungry for a better and more appropriately-priced offering. We’ve experienced incredible growth over the last couple of years as we continue to deliver great, solid, scalable, secure and functionally-rich products to the market – both to our open source communities and to our paying customers and partners.

In 2009 we started delivering more products geared toward the “business user,” a.k.a. “end-user,” a.k.a. “casual user,” a.k.a. “non-techie.” We immediately started seeing more people convert into customers and this trend grew significantly all the way through 2010. This was a great move in that direction, but we knew that another gap needed to be plugged in order to really satisfy growing market needs – better web-based reporting and data visualization as well as an easier way to get to data. People want results fast and easy, especially the “non-technical user.”  Voila, Pentaho BI 4.0 directly addresses these needs and pain points.  Check it all out here in our Pentaho BI 4 resource center.

Pentaho BI 4 is our biggest release ever that’s geared toward the business user. This product makes it not only possible, but makes it easy for business users to access their own data and do their own reporting, analytics, data discovery and dashboards. We’ve shielded users from the underlying complexities while also giving them the power that they desire.  Our open source roots make it clear that we are all about the people, and this release specifically extends that philosophy to include the “non-technical people.”

Pentaho BI 4 will greatly expand our addressable market size and customer profile. Our early feedback from customers, partners and communities indicates that this is a huge inflection point for our product line and company.  Our launch webcast on Thursday June 23 – Pentaho BI 4 Live – has already broken our previous webcast registration by 250%!

There must be some real unsolved thirst for pushing power to the user.

Richard


Why Pentaho Analyzer was ‘on the money’ at Strata

February 9, 2011

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Last week, Pentaho was a sponsor at The Strata Conference in San Francisco, California. Over the two-day conference our booth was constantly packed with attendees. As I chatted with these eager visitors, I was pleased to hear comments such as: “My boss has asked me to look into Pentaho,” and “We currently have product X and we are looking into solutions that are easy to use and don’t charge an arm and a leg for it.” As I was demoing the Pentaho BI Suite Enterprise Edition, one thing was clear … the line between business users and technical users is fading fast!

Everyone wants access to data, but not everyone has it. Technical users, the ETL and BI developers, spend all their time on working with data, integrating, cleansing, standardizing, and analyzing it, but the business users need their data in a different way. Data gives these business users power.

The days of traditional BI when IT was building standard reports and pushing it out to business users are over. Canned reports are too slow to arrive, too limited on the information they provide, and often are too far out from what the business needed in the first place.

Business users want the power and flexibility to work with their data, and to compare and contrast anything to everything. But they want an intuitive and easy way to work with their data, similar to the tools they are most familiar with such as Excel pivot tables. This became all very clear as I was demoing the Pentaho BI Suite Enterprise Edition. The reaction of people to Pentaho Analyzer was right on the money. Pentaho Analyzer has the same look and feel as Excel spreadsheets, with an easy drag and drop capability to pull business data (customers, sales, orders, payments, time, region, territory, etc.) up to the canvas and slice and dice it to the heart’s desire. “Why not Excel?” one attendee asked me. The answer is simple….Because you can see the changes that your colleagues or IT staff make to data, immediately, without having to cross-check, guess, or ask about. Your Excel data is as good as it once was!

Pentaho Analyzer’s easy to use and intuitive ad hoc analysis capabilities, with hyperlinks for drill through to detailed transaction data behind the scenes, along with its strong charting capabilities and the flexibility to turn your final analysis results into Excel, PDF or any other popular format, topped it all off. I was pleased to see a lot of nods as I was demoing the software, a confirmation to Pentaho’s focus, strategy, and roadmap.

For additional highlights from the Strata conference read blog by Ian Fyfe, Thoughts on last week’s Strata Conference.

For a free 30 day evaluation of the Pentaho BI Suite (including Pentaho Analyzer), please go to http://www.pentaho.com/download/

Farnaz Erfan
Product Marketing Manager
Pentaho Corporation


“Drilling” in to the detail with Pentaho

November 30, 2010

“Drilling”…..(with respect to Business Intelligence applications and Information Technology). Where did that word come from? What does it mean? What can it mean? I am sure you have heard the phrase “Drill down to detail” before, but you may have also heard “Drill Up”, “Drill Out”, “Drill Across”, “Drill In” and “Drill Through” and don’t forget “Drill Anywhere”.

In general, it means to simply move from summary level information to underlying detail data, either within its current data set or even outside to another data set. Its main purpose is to allow one to easily view summarized information in the form of a chart, table or some graphical visualization with the added ability to “click” on a value, series or region and “drill in” to the next level of detail or out to some other dimension. “Drilling” allows business users to make informed decisions quickly without having to page through sheets of raw data.

For example, summarized sales revenue for the year 2010 is $200K, but upon drilling down we see that $175K was brought in by 3 out of 4 regions, leaving 1 region with very low numbers. This now exposes a single region as being an outlier or a entity that needs focused attention. The power of Business Intelligence applications at work, turning raw data into actionable information.

The Pentaho BI Suite can provide “Drilling” in a number of ways depending on which module you deploy. We will explore each of these in this article……….read more about it here at the Pentaho Evaluation Sandbox.

http://sandbox.pentaho.com/2010/11/drilling-in-to-the-details-with-pentaho/

Regards,

Michael Tarallo
Director of Sales Engineering
Pentaho


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