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


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


Tom Leonard joins Pentaho

April 21, 2010

More good news from today is the announcement that Tom Leonard has joined our team as Executive Vice President of Worldwide Business Development. Tom is responsible for formalizing strategic relationships with target accounts across all of Pentaho’s channels inclusive of Global 1000 customers, OEM/ISV’s, system integrators, and technology alliance partners. With over 25 years of technology sales and executive experience Tom has a lot of insight into the industry. I’ve asked for him to be the first of many guest bloggers on the Business Intelligence from the Swamp blog. My question to Tom is, “What brought you to Pentaho?” Welcome Tom!

Guest blogger: Tom Leonard

So I wanted to take the opportunity to share my thoughts concerning why I joined the Pentaho team. During my career, I have been fortunate to be part of two venture backed company successes – Bluestone Software and JBoss. For both, I was an early member of the team and witnessed the remarkable journey of each company scale from a small bookings / revenue position to recognition as high-growth, technology / market-share leaders.

Through these experiences (and via some not so successful ventures), I have learned that the key ingredients of a successful early stage company mostly comprises of the following:

  • The technology
  • The people (that shapes the chemistry / culture of the company)
  • The market opportunity

At Pentaho, all of these ingredients are in place (with room to grow and improve of course):

The Technology

Over the years, Richard, James (Dixon) and team have invested mightily in building out a complete BI Suite that is on par with the mega and pure play business intelligence vendors. Pentaho employs the key developers, it owns the product development and roadmap that is supported by a large, vibrant, engaged open source community, and offers the market a fully integrated / interoperable business intelligence suite of products that are enterprise ready, deployed on an industry standard Java-based platform (either on-premise or via a Cloud / SaaS-enabled model), and is widely deployed in production by thousands of companies.

The proof is in the numbers:

  • Thousands of organizations rely on Pentaho open source BI every day
  • Over 5M downloads of Pentaho products since the inception of the company,
  • #1 in open source data integration / ETL according to the BeyeNETWORK research  report
  • Hundreds of customers that have an active Enterprise Edition subscription with Pentaho.

The People

In my humble opinion, this is the intangible that makes companies great. Often – you do not know until you arrive at the company and see the good and the not so good. At Pentaho and under Richard’s leadership – there is an amazing team that are all in-synch to drive the company to its fullest potential, opportunity and success. There is a tremendous level of passion and energy across the company that is fueling our significant growth with end customers and partners worldwide. Further proof that Pentaho is hitting its stride as a company; candidates’ industry-wide want to work at Pentaho as evident by the “many” that have joined the team over the past quarter.

The Market Opportunity

The open source business intelligence space is growing at a phenomenal rate – so says Gartner (“Open-Source Business Intelligence Tools Production Deployments Will Grow Five-Fold through 2012”)

Not much more that I can add here……

In summary, the company greatly understands the business that we are in, the opportunity before us and we possess the know-how to monetize and scale our business model. We have a proven team that has consistently demonstrated success, both on the BI and open source fronts. Pentaho has great investors, world class Board of Directors (Rob Bearden – JBoss and SpringSource and Zack Urlocker – MySQL), and an executive team that is directing the company to new levels of success each month (Lars Nordwall heading up worldwide sales, building a great team and executing flawlessly, Joe McGonnell working his magic on the marketing front, and Richard, James and team delivering great products).

This is the perfect time to be at Pentaho – if you have not noticed, I am very glad to be a member of the team.

Tom Leonard
Executive Vice President, Worldwide Business Development
Pentaho Corporation


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