Welcome Pentaho’s new secret weapon, Eddie White

February 27, 2012

We are very excited to have a new secret weapon onboard with Eddie White joining Pentaho as Executive Vice President of Business Development. Eddie is responsible for developing strategic relationships with big data vendors and commercializing Pentaho Business Analytics for major cloud/SaaS hardware and software vendors.

Eddie has more than 20 years of experience helping businesses meet and exceed their sales revenue and growth targets through, business development, strategic alliances partnerships, and acquisitions. Career highlights include:

  • Directed global sales and business development as CRO, SVP of Global Sales and Business Development for leading Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) startup Sentilla Inc.;
  • Led strategic business development and partnership activities for two flagship storage and infrastructure management business units with combined annual revenue of over $1bn at Computer Associates (CA) Inc., where he was VP of business and corporate development;
  • Delivered OEM storage solutions for the client on schedule and budget as business development director at Adaptec Inc.;
  • Managed storage business unit with P&L responsibility for a $60m p.a. at Eurologic Ltd.
  • Graduated with a diploma in business studies and first class honors from University College in Cork, Ireland and received a bachelors of business studies with honors from Dublin City University.

As you can see from his career highlights, Eddie is a proven technology industry business development professional who has built partnerships and OEM relationships with companies of all sizes. He’s exactly what Pentaho needs to keep us on the forefront of the big data revolution.

Welcome Eddie!


Pentaho trip to Gatorland

May 18, 2011

Earlier this month, the sales and marketing teams gathered at the Pentaho Corporate Headquarters in Orlando, Florida for training, meetings and of course some fun.

Our surprise outing was to Gatorland. The night was a first time experience for all of us coming from around the world. From holding tarantulas, gator wrestling and gator feeding, we had a blast. Click here to check out photos from the event. It will give you a better explanation behind the title of this blog, BI from the Swamp!


This was also a great opportunity to bring the company together at the “West Campus,” the Miller Ale House for a company-wide happy hour. Click here for more photos from the event.



Q&A with Pentaho Senior Sales Engineer, Wayne Johnson

May 12, 2011

Q&A is a 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 Business Intelligence industry.

Our Q&A today is with Wayne Johnson, Senior Sales Engineer at Pentaho. When he’s not on webcast or in meetings with potential customers, Wayne is SuperDad to five kids, an adjunct college professor and competes in triathlons. To learn more about Wayne’s role at Pentaho and view on Business Intelligence we asked him four questions:

1.  What brought you to Pentaho?
Back in 2009 I was made aware of Pentaho by competing against them in an opportunity where I represented a proprietary BI Vendor.  When Pentaho approached me to discuss the possibility of joining their team, I was very apprehensive due to their business model.  I just didn’t understand it.  Instead of writing it off, I decided to do my research and started reading a book called Wikinomics by Don Tapscott and Anthony Williams.  This book not only changed my view on Pentaho but no pun intended, it opened my eyes to the benefits of Open Source (it was also a plus that Pentaho was mentioned in the book).  So I decided to take a risk and jump on board.

2.  What do you do for Pentaho?
Currently I am a Senior Sales Engineer who specializes in managing the Evaluation Experiences our evaluators have with our software.  Opposed to proprietary BI Vendors, companies are encouraged to try our software out to see if it is a fit for their organization.  Anyone with even a little experience in BI knows, however, that downloading, installing and building solutions with Enterprise Software would require some hand holding.  That is where I come in.  I make sure that those people that are evaluating our software have access to the resources and people they need to be able to accurately and efficiently evaluate Pentaho successfully.

3. How do you define a successful evaluation?
You would probably think my answer to this question is simply, one that ends in a subscription to Pentaho:-)  A more accurate answer is: A successful evaluation is one that has provided the evaluator with enough information to make an informed decision on whether they can meet their business needs with the use of Pentaho.  While the majority of our prospects come to the conclusions that Pentaho is the right solution to meet their business needs, some organizations do come to the conclusions that it is not.  I view both evaluations as successful because we have kept the customer in mind and solving their business needs as a priority, not just trying to make a sale, that is something I take great pride in.

4.  What characteristics do successful evaluations have in common?
There are definitely some common characteristics that I have seen in companies being able to successfully evaluate not just Pentaho, but any enterprise software package.  These are:

  •  Clearly Identified Business Needs – As I stated earlier, that a successful evaluation determines the ability to solve a specific business need, knowing that need is vital to gauging whether or not the software package will meet that need.
  • Having a Plan – If you were to take a trip driving from San Francisco to New York, you can either just get in your car, head east until you hit the coast then drive north along the coast until you hit New York.  This method would prove to be very time consuming and costly, especially considering gas prices these days.  Similarly, evaluating a software solution to meet your clearly identified business needs without a plan will be very time consuming and costly, especially with the limited amount of time and resources most companies are struggling with today.  Additionally, you run the huge risk of making the “wrong turn” on your evaluation route.  Having a plan ensures that you keep your eye on the objectives and have concrete milestones to check off during your evaluation.  It will also help you make your decision once you have arrived at your destination.
  • Executing the Plan – this may require a custom demonstration from the software provider, a test drive of the software using sample data, an evaluation of the software in your environment using your own data or engaging with Professional Services in order to prove out your plan.  Each company’s needs are different and may require a different execution of their plan.  The important part is to seek out is a software provider that provides ALL of those plan execution methods and does not limit you to their plan.  The problem is that most don’t allow you to download, install and test the software yourself.  For this reason I really enjoy working here at Pentaho, not only do we give you access to download and test the software for free for 30 days, but we also provide you with free evaluation support for those 30 days.

By following these three best practices around evaluating Pentaho or any other enterprise level software, you are guaranteeing that no matter what the decision is, you will have a successful evaluation.

Do you have additional questions for Wayne? 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.


Q&A with Pentaho Director of Sales Engineering, Mike Tarallo

April 14, 2011

Q&A is a 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 Business Intelligence industry.

You may be familiar with our interviewee today from reading his blogs on BI from the Swamp or watching a demo on the Pentaho Evaluation Sandbox. If you are a customer, there is a very good chance you have met him virtually or in person. Michael Tarallo is the Director of Sales Engineering and our feature today on Q&A. To learn more about Mike and his role at Pentaho we asked him 5 questions.

1. What brought you to Pentaho?

It was spring of 2007 and after about 9+ years at Information Builders (IBI), a proprietary Business Intelligence company, I felt I achieved all that I could and decided to “find new cheese”.  Around the time I was promoted to Senior Sales Engineer at IBI, a recruiter approached me speaking in tongues of this “thing” called “Open Source Business Intelligence.” I remember thinking, “Sheesh, I am having a hard enough time selling this expensive proprietary stuff, how the heck am I going to sell Open Source since it’s already free?” However, after a thorough investigation, I decided to leave my comfortable position at IBI for a company that was new and exciting called Pentaho.

When I finally learned that Open Source is not about “free” software but more about community, collaboration and better software, I was immediately enlightened and couldn’t wait to get started. I distinctly remember the Sales Manager at IBI, attempting to put fear in my head, “Ya know Mike, the grass isn’t always greener.” Well, sir 4 Years later, not only is the grass greener, but it is thicker and fuller than ever.  Remember, comfort is the enemy of achievement – (Dr. Farrah Gray)

2. What do you do?

I am the Director of Sales Engineering, responsible for leading the Sales Engineers and pre-sales activities within the organization.  I started 4 years ago as the first Pentaho Sales Consultant (SC), responsible for Pre-Sales activities. There are technical and consulting related activities that occur during the sales cycle, before the actual sale hence Pre-Sales.  Pentaho was still fairly new at the time and either sales team members or Product Management performed many product demonstrations. As the company grew it became increasingly important to a build a group that would focus support on the sales team as its pre-sales activities increased. My initial goal was to introduce pre-sales processes, create collateral and demonstrations that focused on “solutions” for business problems, rather than demonstrate a bunch of “tools”.

As the Pentaho Sales and Pre-Sales teams grew worldwide, there was a huge demand on Sales Engineer (SE) resources. With the continued growth of the company and finally a larger team of SEs – I was promoted to Director of Sales Engineering in order to lead and proliferate those processes throughout our group.

3. Why are Sales Engineers a vital part of the success of a sales cycle?

Sales Engineers are the stage performers of the IT world: immensely capable, adaptable, confident, excellent communicators who are equally cool in front of large crowds and intimate groups. Sales Engineers work closely with Pentaho Account Managers to demonstrate the breadth and depth of Pentaho products as a complete solution.

Sales Engineering provides what I call the “Solution Vision” to the prospect who is evaluating our software. We present the “Art of the Possible” by demonstrating and discussing how Pentaho software fits in the context of their landscape. At all costs we try to stay away from generic demonstrations, but sometimes you have to play the game. And when we do play, we play hard. Let’s face it; there are a lot of software packages that can “do” the same thing. Sales Engineering provides that 2% factor by establishing a relationship with the prospect and making them feel comfortable that the Pentaho solution can meet their specific needs. Without Sales Engineering, a crucial piece of the sales process would be missing.

4. What makes a good Sales Engineer (SE)?

There are a number of facets that make a good SE, good. But, there are key factors that make a good SE, great. Some of these characteristics are learned over time, and some are just part of one’s personality and are difficult to master. Aside from technical expertise, one important quality of a great SE is, communication. Learning not only how to communicate with the prospect but also with the account rep and other members of the SE team.

Every person, whether prospect or rep, is different. The key is being able to listen to what is being said and also what is not being said. This is important so the appropriate persuasive questions can be asked and proper expectations can be set.

Once communication skills are honed a SE should be able to translate the product’s technical software capabilities into the suitable business value to the prospect. There is nothing worse than demonstrating software to a company who has no idea why you just showed it to them.

I feel that an SE also needs to establish themselves as a leader in his/her domain. If your technical strength lies in some sort of application development you may want to focus your talents in the OEM group – where it is more about embedding and integrating the software into the prospect’s applications.  If you are able to articulate the business value better or provide subject matter expertise you can specialize in creating vertical demonstrations and collateral relevant to the sectors you are working with.

Finally….energy, lots of energy, enough said. :-)

5. What does the “Pre” in Pre-Sales stand for?

Doing a demonstration without knowing anything is called a “show up and throw up.” Hoping you know what a prospect wants is not good enough. It is critical to know their exact needs and how to best demonstrate our capabilities. I prefer to think of the “Pre” to stand for: P-prepare, R-respond, E-execute. Those actions will make for shorter sales cycles, proper customer expectations and increased sales.

Want to see what Mike is up to now?

Do you have additional questions for Mike? 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.


Top 5 Reasons to join the Pentaho Team

March 30, 2011

Several of our executives at Pentaho have shared reasons why they joined Pentaho – you can read their blogs here, here and here. We surveyed employees at Pentaho and narrowed down the top 5 reasons to join the Pentaho team:

  1. The fridge is stocked with beer. Corona, Amstel, Sierra Nevada, we have it all! Changing the face of business intelligence is no easy feat. To help us out, the Pentaho offices have dedicated full-sized beer refrigerators, so we can enjoy our favorite cold ones at the end of the day.
  2. Be a part of revolutionizing the business intelligence industry. Pentaho was founded in 2004 with the mission to “To achieve positive, disruptive change in the BI space by building an innovative, class-leading BI platform and making it available to everyone by releasing it into Open Source”. We are working towards this mission everyday and succeeding!
  3. Smart, motivated, and fun co-workers. We may work hard, but we know how to have a good time! From sales meeting to Halloween, we’re always in the company of innovative, intelligent, and friendly people.
  4. International opportunities. Being part of an international team means we get to work with customer, partners, and coworkers from around the world.
  5. We’re growing! With +120% growth year-over-year in 2010, the opportunities for growth at Pentaho are tremendous.

If you think you would be a good fit with our smart, talented and fun group, and are interested in working at a fast-paced, international, game-changing company, check out our current job openings. We’re growing fast and currently openings worldwide in everything from sales and marketing to services and information systems.

Bonus reason: Last year Pentaho CTO/Chief Geek, James Dixon was picked by CNN as having one of the Best Jobs in America.


Q&A with Pentaho Trainer Lynn Yarbrough

March 14, 2011

Q&A is a 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 Business Intelligence industry.

If you have attended a Pentaho training class, most likely you have had a chance to meet the knowledgeable and entertaining Lynn Yarbrough. To get to know Lynn and our training classes better we asked Lynn 5 questions.

1.  What brought you to Pentaho and what do you do?

I am a trainer at Pentaho. After almost 20 years in the BI and Data Integration industry working at companies like Information Builders and Hyperion, I wanted to work at a smaller Business Intelligence company and I found a job posting for a training position at Pentaho on Monster.

2.  How many classes have you taught and do you have a favorite that stands out?

I have been with Pentaho almost 4 years and probably taught 40 classes last year alone.  My favorite class is the Pentaho BI Suite BootCamp.  I especially love the morning of Day 3, because that when we complete the creation of an OLAP cube and can view the data of Pentaho Analyzer in the Pentaho User console.  It is very rewarding to see the result of all of the work and often this is when students have an ‘aha’ moment, and say ‘this is why we need Pentaho, to give our users this power.’

3.  What elements do you think are necessary to make a successful training class?

Knowledge of the product, knowledge of the industry (in my case Business Intelligence) and a sense of humor.  We in training have also made many of the classes very ‘hands on’ which help students learn and retain the product. One of the problems we face in the classroom is that we are teaching students who have a variety of skill levels to make the class beneficial to all we have added  “optional” labs for the more advanced students.

4. Can you tell us more about the Agile BI for Business Analyst class and how it contrasts to the ‘early days’ of training

We began talking about and shaping the Agile BI class over 2 years ago, but it didn’t really take-off.  The product didn’t have the “ease of use” it has today. Now, Pentaho Agile BI has matured to the level where the class is engaging and quite fun to teach since is so easy to create a data model and analyze the data.

5.  As we kick off 2011, what are you most excited about regarding training for the upcoming year?

2011 will add many new key features to the product which will not only impact customers, but will make training easier, as the product improves in “ease of use” it also get easier and more fun to teach.  We also plan to add new training classes suggested by our customers such as ‘Pentaho for the End User’ giving hands-on training for our front end tools and ‘Pentaho On-Demand’ for customers interested to gain more experience with our cloud solution. Things are never boring at Pentaho.

Do you have additional questions for Lynn? 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.


Former Jaspersoft exec joins Pentaho

January 13, 2011

I am very excited to welcome, Ian Fyfe to the Pentaho team as our Chief Technology Evangelist. Ian recently joined us after spending six years at Jaspersoft as their senior director of product management and product marketing. However, I know him best from working with him several years ago at an executive information systems start-up that he co-found called Intelligent Office Company (IOC, Inc). Ian’s knowledge of the industry, proven leadership skills, and existing relationships with the executive team are a home run for Pentaho. I like to welcome and introduce all new team members on the blog by asking the same question, “What brought you to Pentaho?” Welcome Ian!

Guest Blogger: Ian Fyfe

There are a number of things that brought me to Pentaho, including great people and great products, but perhaps one of the most compelling was the opportunity to work with the founding principals of the company again (Richard Daley-CEO, James Dixon-CTO, Marc Batchelor- Chief Engineer, and Doug Moran-VP Community), having worked with them several years ago at an earlier software startup.  Coming to Pentaho in some ways brings me full-circle, back to working with this group of extremely talented, innovative, and motivated individuals and helping take the extraordinary company they have built to the next level through a continuation of its high growth in customers, community, and capabilities. Even better, Pentaho has emerged from the swamps of Florida to establish their sales headquarters in downtown San Francisco, the northern anchor of California’s Silicon Valley, and my longtime hometown.

Through my long career in Business Intelligence and related technologies, I’ve been fortunate to work at a number of venture-backed startups such as Jaspersoft and Epiphany, as well as more mature larger enterprise software business such as Business Objects, Informix, and PeopleSoft.  I’ve worked closely with sales, marketing, and engineering, and have become fluent at real-time, bi-directional “translation” between these constituencies, enabling me to bridge the gap between understanding market requirements and customer problems, deriving the products and features to meet those requirements, and marketing and selling the resulting products.  From these experiences I’ve learned well the ingredients critical to success are a modern and well architected product, smart and motivated people, and a high growth or rapidly changing market with unmet requirements.  Pentaho truly has it all, and sits at the confluence of the BI market which continues year after year to be at or near the top of the list of CIO spending priorities, and the spectacular growth and mainstream acceptance of commercial open source technology.

I’m excited by my new position at Pentaho as the Chief Technology Evangelist, which builds solidly on my prior experiences, while also introducing the welcome challenge of a new role.  As one of Pentaho’s primary spokespeople I’m looking forward to communicating and interacting with you through events such as talks, webinars, articles, demonstrations, briefings, and social media.

Cheers,

Ian Fyfe
Chief Product Evangelist
Pentaho Corporation


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.

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/


Welcome Doug Johnson

August 26, 2010

If you have followed my blogs about Pentaho, you can easily detect that our momentum is full-speed-ahead. Another notch to add to our success is adding Doug Johnson to the Pentaho management roster as our CFO. Doug has a unique background that combines a passion for business intelligence, experience, bringing three companies through IPO, and extensive experience in open source and subscription-based services. I asked Doug to share with you, “What brought you to Pentaho?” Welcome on board Doug.

Guest Blogger Doug Johnson

There are a number of things about Pentaho that interested me when I began to talk to Richard about joining the company. The product area – business intelligence, the development approach – open source, the stage of the company – going through rapid growth and market dominance, and the people all struck a chord and raised my level of interest. As I got to know the management team and the board of directors during the evaluation stage, my interest continued to grow.

As a CFO, business intelligence has always been a passion for me. The role of CFO requires a deep understanding of the data in the company and using tools like Pentaho’s BI suite allows me to organize the data, combine data from different systems and then analyze that data. It used to take my staff hours and hours to pull the data from its various sources and then combine the data in such a way as to make it understandable and actionable. It is always preferable to be the CFO of a company whose product you can relate to and appreciate.

The open source movement makes sense to me. As a CFO in mid-size companies most of my career, making a decision to acquire business intelligence software was always a difficult one due to the price of the leading products. Frequently, I had to either decide not to go forward with a project or to select a lesser alternative simply based on the price tag of the product I really wanted. The commoditization of software through the use of open source is a movement that I have supported and been in favor of for some time. To see it being used in an area that has simply been out of the reach of mid-size companies in the past is heartening. To be able to afford a leading software product for 10% to 25% of the commercial price is an exciting prospect for a data hound like me.

Pentaho, for several years concentrated on building out its product suite and improving its ease of use. It has reached the point where it is equal or better than anyone else on the block. The company is now growing its sales infrastructure to dominate the market. Growth in the business is strong and the changes going on in the organization are dramatic. The most exciting time in a company’s life cycle for a CFO who runs all the administrative areas also is when it is going through its early growth phase and is crossing the chasm from the early adopters to the main market. Pentaho is the fastest growing open source business intelligence company with a full product line. It is an exciting stage for a company and an exciting stage for a CFO.

Last but far from least, the people I met during the evaluation stage and have met since joining recently are some of the smartest, hardest working people I have had the honor of working with. Everyone at Pentaho is here because they genuinely care that it is and continues to be the best in class. I consider it a real honor to be part of this team.

Doug Johnson
CFO
Pentaho Corporation


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