Top 10 Reasons Behind Pentaho’s Success

September 2, 2011

To continue our revival of old blog posts, today we have our #2 most popular blog from last July. Pentaho is now 7 years old, with sales continually move up and to the right. In a crazy economy, many are asking, “What is the reason behind your growth and success?” Richard Daley reflected on this question after reporting on quartlery results in 2010 .

*****Originally posted on 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


What is Agile BI? Your answers from business user to fluff

August 18, 2011

As of today we have 110 posts on BI from the Swamp blog. Over the next two weeks we are going to repost the most popular blogs on BI from the Swamp since it launched in March 2010. Today’s blog was originally posted on May 12, 2010 by Doug Moran to highlight the results of our ‘What is Agile BI?’ contest. Over a year later, Agile BI continues to be the hot topic. For example, the theme of the TDWI World conference last week was Evolving your Agile BI Environment. Multiple times at the conference we were asked how Pentaho defined the term, Agile BI. A quick an easy answer was to point them to the blog below and to our Agile BI Practical Guide.

****************** original post from May 12, 2010*****************

Last month, Pentaho sponsored a contest where people answer the question -“What does agile BI mean?”  I was lucky enough to be one of the judges to determine who made it to the final five and win a Flip Ultra™ camcorder.  The results were posted today http://www.pentaho.com/what_is_agile/. Now it’s up to the community to vote for their favorite answer and the winner gets an iPad – (yes, that means you).

When reading through hundreds of entries I began to see a pattern and being an old BI guy, that meant I had to make a pie chart. The answers fell into 5 main groups: BI Solution Development, Business Users, Entire Business marketing Fluff and Other.

Almost 34% of the entries cited Agile BI as an iterative methodology for developing BI solutions involving the end user as early and often as possible.  It is exemplified by one of the finalists “Agile is about speeding up the design/create/ship/observe cycle. The more you ship and observe, the better you learn to design and do. Whether you’re headed in the wrong direction or the right one, it’s imperative that you find that out as soon as possible.” Exactly what we have started with the PDI 4.0 release and are continuing to focus on.

A full 25% of the responses focused on the business user with quotes like, “Agile is never being caught flat-footed – being able to react and adapt with ease, leaving competitors in your wake.” The ability for end users to explore and analyze business data beyond static reporting is very important.  Applications like Pentaho Analyzer and Web-based Ad hoc Query and Reporting address this need. The modeling perspective added to PDI 4.0 reduces the complexity and learning curve associated with building metadata models and schemas in order to put that analytical power into the end user’s hands.

A little over 12% were not concerned whether the agility was on the development or user side.  They just knew that the business had to react quickly to changing business conditions.  “Agile means being able to rapidly adjust to changing conditions with speed and accuracy” was a typical response in this category.

Exactly 15% of people responded with what I call fluffy messages. These were creative and got the most attention from our marketing people (I wasn’t the only judge)  “The antonym to SAP”, “Less work, more money” and “Agile (with Pentaho) means never having to say you’re sorry.”

The last 14% were entries like “agile is eliga read backwards” and the self-referencing “The only way to make agile decisions.” Not sure where they were going with some of these but they were also entertaining.

Out of the entries, there were nine attempts to make a phrase by using words that start with the letters A-G-I-L-E. Two people submitted papers on agile BI.  We even had a submission written in Haiku.  No one went for the extra creativity points by using video or interpretive dance.  We didn’t get any abusive, obscene or SPAM entries, which was nice.

There were only two negative responses complaining that Agile BI was marketing hype.  Here is one of them, “Two answers. 1. Personally, “Agile BI” means nothing to me. Sounds like yet another attempt by marketing to create an artificial differentiator. 2. If I had to describe “Agile BI” or die, I’d say, “An Agile BI environment enables an organization’s people and processes to quickly adapt to new or changed user requirements, ideally through self-learning and pre-emptive adjustments.” Answer two is exactly what we intend to enable with this initiative and when we are successful, that will prove the number one answer wrong.

Pentaho is committed to Agile BI. We believe our development plan is in line with the majority of respondents to this contest. PDI 4.0 is a great start but it is just the first steps and we are using this feedback to help set the product roadmap for the next half of this year and beyond. Thank you for participating! Please vote for one of the finalists.

Doug Moran
Pentaho Community Guy


Pentaho Data Integration 4 Cookbook – Win a Free Copy

July 19, 2011

Pentaho is very fortunate to have such a fantastic community. There are a few community rockstars that find time in their uber busy lives to write books about using Pentaho. The latest book published, the Pentaho Data Integration 4 Cookbook by co-authors Adrián Pulvirenti & Maria Carina Roldán is making its way to the top of the Amazon bestseller tech list. Even more impressive – this is Maria’s second book about PDI in just 15 months! (In April 2010 she published PDI 3.2: Beginner’s Guide). We were interested to learn more about the book and the authors. Check out our interview below to get the inside scoop about the PDI 4 Cookbook.

Read below to learn how to win a FREE copy of the PDI 4 Cookbook and for a special discount offer from Packt Publishing

1) What inspired you to write the PDI 4 cookbook so soon after “PDI 3.2 for beginners”?
Maria: At the time PDI 3.2 for Beginners was published there was a clear need for a book that revealed the secrets of Kettle, in particular for those who barely knew about this tool. The book had a great acceptance especially coming from the Pentaho Community. Today I can say that the main inspiration was definitely that rewarding feedback.

On the other side, at the time that book was published, Pentaho was about to release PDI 4. From a beginner perspective, there aren’t big differences between Kettle 3.2 and Kettle 4. Thus, there is nothing that refrain you from learning Kettle 4 with the help of the Beginner’s book. However Kettle 4 brought a lot of new features that deserved to be explained. This was also a motivation for writing this new book.

2) What is the main goal behind the book?  What do you aim to bring across?
Adrián: This book is intended to help the reader quickly solve the problems that might appear while he or she is developing jobs and transformations. It doesn’t cover PDI basics – the Beginner’s book does. On the contrary, it focuses on giving the PDI users quick solutions to particular issues.

  • Can I generate complex XML structures with Kettle?
  • How do I execute a transformation in a loop?
  • What do I need for attaching a file in an email?
  • These are common questions solved in the book through quick easy-to-follow recipes with different difficulty levels.

3) Where did you find the inspiration for this new book?
Maria: The main inspiration for this book was the PDI forum; many of the recipes explained in the book are the answers to questions that appear in the forum again and again, as for example: how to use variables, how to read an XML file, how to create multi-sheet Excel files, how to pass parameters to transformations, etc. Just to give an example, the recipe “Executing part of a job once for every row in a dataset” explains how to loop over a set of entities (people, product codes, filenames, or whatever), which is a very recurrent issue in the Kettle forum.

Besides that, Kettle itself was an inspiration. While outlining the contents of the book and with the aim of having a diversified set of recipes we browsed the list of steps and job entries many times thinking: Is there something that we aren’t covering? Are there steps that deserve a recipe by themselves? Many of the recipes that you can find in the Cookbook came out after that exercise. “Programming custom functionality,” a recipe that explains how to use the UDJC step and quickly explains other scripting related steps, is just an example of these set of recipes.

4) What do you like so much about Pentaho (Data Integration) to make you write books about it?
Maria:  I have used Kettle since the 2.4 version, when many of the tasks could only be done with JavaScript steps. Despite that, I already admired the flexibility and power of the tool. From that moment Kettle has really improved in performance, functionality and look & feel. Its capabilities are endless and this goes unnoticed for many users. That’s what makes me write about it: The need to uncover those hidden features, and explain how easily you can do things with Kettle.

Adrián: In my daily work I integrate all kinds of data: xml files, plain text files, databases, and so on. Anyone facing these tasks knows about the time and effort required for accomplishing them. Meeting Kettle was love at first sight. Thanks to Kettle I realized that these formerly tedious tasks can be done in a fast, fun and easy way. I liked the idea of writing this book to share my own experiences with other people.

5) When can we expect the next book(s)?
Adrián: Just as Kettle, the whole Pentaho Suite has grown a lot in the latest years. There is undoubtedly much to write about it.

However at this time we’d like to enjoy the recently published book and look forward for the feedback of the Pentaho community.

**

Win a free Pentaho Data Integration 4 Cookbook. Like Pentaho on Facebook and leave a comment here about which chapter(s) or recipe(s) you think will be most useful for you and why (you can see the full index in the book here). You also have the chance to win on Twitter by following Pentaho and tweeting your comment with the hashtag #PDI4. Maria and Adrián will pick their favorite comment to win. Deadline to leave a comment is July 26 at 12pm/EST.

Packt Publishing is offering an exclusive 20% discount off the Pentaho Data Integration 4 Cookbook when you purchase through PacktPub.com for Pentaho BI from the Swamp readers. At the shopping cart, simply enter the discount code PentahoDI20 (case sensitive).

***Update July 27***
The winner of the free book goes to Mike Dugan. As Adrián explains, “Because he expressed in a few words the essence of chapter 7, which is one of our favorites.”

Mike’s response to his favorite chapter and why, “Chapter 7 is the key here. Who wants to recreate the wheel??? Just like Newton I believe in the conservation of energy…. Especially MY energy. Do it once, use it a lot, look like a rock star with minimal effort.”

Well said! Congrats Mike, you will receive a free copy of the PDI Cookbook courtesy of Packt Publishing soon.

Read all the responses here


Pentaho Global Partner Summit 2011 Recap

January 26, 2011

The energy was high and the sun was shining in San Francisco last week during the Pentaho Global Partner Summit 2011. Pentaho partners from nearly 20 countries around the world came together at the Presidio Golden Gate Club for two days of shared insights, innovation, and networking around open source business intelligence and data integration.

We could go on forever about highlights from the event’s action-packed two days, such as the Global Partner Award ceremony or the Lightening Round session where partners from Hong Kong, Quebec, Portugal, and more impressed us with their innovative implementations of Pentaho. However, we think it best to recount the highlights as shared by our friends and partners:

Thank you!

Thank you to all attendees, speakers, and participants, for playing a part in this year’s Global Partner Summit. It is our hope that you walked away with new ideas, opportunities, knowledge, and a sense of the spirit that continues to drive Pentaho to “Rise Above”. We hope that the experience was valuable to you and your organization, and look forward to seeing what you will accomplish in 2011.

For More…

We welcome you to read these blogs and articles for more information on this year’s Global Partner Summit.


Meet the most active and friendly developer community in Open Source BI

October 27, 2010

One of the highlights of my job as the “Pentaho Community Guy” is the yearly Community Gathering. This year, thanks to Webdetails, it was in beautiful Cascais, Portugal.  For a full recap of the event check out the blog, Pentaho Community Gathering (live), courtesy of Jan Aertsen at kJube.  This is the third year that the community has gathered for a weekend of presentations, beer and fun.  In 2009 it was in Barcelona Spain and before that, Mainz Germany.

I have been working with the community for about six years both as a developer and as community manager.  I’ve watched it go from a few familiar people answering questions in the forums to a daily flood of ideas (and other stuff) in the IRC.  Where it really gets fun and interesting is when people who work together, help each other and joke around every day, get to meet in person.  The flow of ideas accelerates greatly when in person and not constrained by a command line.

So – why only get the community together just once a year?  Community members in the London area had the same question and decided to start a Pentaho London User Group.  They are holding their first Pentaho London User Group or PLUG today, Wednesday October 27th. If you are near London stop by.

As the London group was getting the word out, other community members from around the world have been vocal on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, asking about starting a group.  To help people get started, we’ve created some guidelines and added resources to the Pentaho community site to help people connect and organize their own Pentaho User Group or PUG.  Each group will have it’s own personality and be owned by it’s local community. PUGs are a place to share best practices, foster innovation, network and build relationships with other Pentaho professionals.

Visit the home of Pentaho User Groups where you can find information about current Pentaho User Groups, let others know about your group and find answers to questions related to starting a group of your own.

I do believe that we have the most active and friendly developer community in Open Source BI. However, you can see for yourself by attending or starting a Pentaho User Group online or in-person.

Doug Moran
Community Guy
Pentaho

Photo courtesy of Jan Aertsen. To learn more about who’s who in the photo visit http://kjube.blogspot.com/2010/09/pcg10-participants.html

In the time between writing the blog and posting it, a new PUG has formed in the Benelux region. Welcome to our new PUG.  Make sure to check out the PUG home page, new ones are starting everyday.


Now available: Pentaho Kettle Solutions

September 21, 2010

Congrats to Matt Casters, Roland Bourman and Jos van Dongen for their new book available today: Pentaho Kettle Solutions: Building Open Source ETL Solutions with Pentaho Data Integration. You can buy it on Amazon or Wiley (they also have free exerpts)

If their names sound familiar it is because Roland and Jos are also the authors of the Amazon best seller – Pentaho Solutions: Business intelligence and Data Warehousing with Pentaho and MySQL published August 2009. Matt is the Kettle Project founder and Chief Architect of Pentaho Data Integration.

My copy is ordered and I can’t wait to read it.

Congrats
Doug Moran
Pentaho Community Guy


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


Improving product quality the open source way

July 7, 2010

Originally posted on opensource.com 7/7/10

If we look at the differences between closed and open source software development processes, we can identify aspects that can be generalized and applied to other industries and domains.

Open source development—that combination of transparency, iterative development with early-and-often releases, and open participation—leads to higher quality products. When we’re talking about software, people tend to think of quality in terms of bugs. But this is only part of the story of open development.

Defects can be anywhere within the requirements, design, implementation, or delivery processes, and we need to consider all of these areas to assess the full quality picture.

  • Requirements defects result in a product that does not meet the needs of the market or misses significant opportunities.
  • Design defects result in a product that tries, but fails, to meet the users’ needs.
  • Implementation defects result in a product that has lower customer satisfaction.
  • Delivery defects result in a product that no one hears about or can get hold of.

The earlier these defects arise in the process, and the longer they are unresolved, the more they cost to fix. When you compound defects in requirements, design, and implementation, the result is an expensive mess. (Windows Vista, anyone?)

A closer look at how this works inside the world of software development will yield larger principles to be applied to any project that aspires to use an open development model.

Under the closed model

Sales reps and account reps relay requirements to product managers, who then describe the required features to software engineers, who then design and implement the features and pass them to quality engineers, who try to test the features and report bugs that need fixing. After all this has happened, customers eventually receive the software. The lack of transparency means defects in the requirements and design don’t get spotted until after the product has been implemented and delivered. Another major problem is that, typically, the quality engineers don’t have any personal use for the software, so it is hard for them to imagine the different use cases that real users will have.

The final product suffers from the lack of connection between the software engineers and the software users.

Under the open model

A transparent requirements process includes consumers adding their own requirements and perhaps open voting to determine the most popular features. An open design process means consumers can ask questions about the design to validate it against their use case. Early-and-often releases during implementation mean that consumers can help find defects, which can be fixed early on. Fixing these defects during early development means features built later are not layered upon resolved defects from the earlier development.

Moving beyond software

So how do we apply these open principles outside of the software industry? Following are some good examples (and one bad one).

Open requirements

Some companies manage to meet unanticipated needs by enabling consumers to create new products for them to sell.

Amazon: As an independent author, Amazon allows you to sell your own books through their service. My mother wrote a book about British birth and death certificates. She uses a print shop in her village, and through Amazon UK she sells to a global market. Amazon sends her the customers’ addresses to mail her books to, and a check to cash, with Amazon’s commission already deducted.

Cafe Press: Create a cool slogan or logo, then upload it to Cafe Press and sell it on a wide array items. The designer needs almost no investment other than time and talent. Cafe Press gets an huge product set, over 250 million unique products—and a portion of each sale.

There are services with similar models for bands, musicians, photographers…

Open design

Lego: Using a free CAD design tool, Digital Designer, Lego customers can design new models, then order that kit from Lego. The creator can also upload the design to Lego’s Design by Me, so that other people can build it. The creator gets satisfaction and kudos, while Lego gets all the money. This builds community and revenue.

Nike: Nike ID lets you customize your own sports shoes. By allowing customization of the product appearance, consumers can create a unique-looking shoe that very few, if any, other people have. The Air Jordan basketball shoe has so many colors and customizable parts that even if every person on Earth bought five pairs, every pair could still be unique. Nike could take this further by letting people name their designs and allow voting for the best.

Local Motors: An open car company, Local Motors holds competitions for the concept and the design of their cars with open voting. Then they hold more competitions for the interior design, parts designs, exterior skins, and accessories. Then they put the vehicle into production. Their first is the Rally Fighter. They also encourage owners to participate in the manufacturing of their own cars. Their vision is to have small manufacturing facilities in most cities, hence their name. The effort put in by the contributors is stunning. The designs are awesome and it’s a highly supportive community.

Open delivery

Transparency and participation can also be used to help spread a message or engage consumers.

T-Mobile, UK: T-Mobile UK started with a successful advert where they staged a flash mob dance in London’s Liverpool St Station, an idea they must have borrowed from a Belgian radio station. Then they broadcast an open invitation to be part of their next event. Over 13,000 people showed up to find out the event was mass-karaoke. The result is really quite touching if you watch it all. It’s not often you can say that about a commercial.

Mountain Dew: Mountain Dew’s Dewmocracy was an open voting system for its next flavor. On their web sites you can see how the voting went down to the county level.

Kraft, Australia: An example of how to do it badly. When coming out with a new variant of their popular Vegemite spread, they had a naming competition. Fifty thousand people submitted entries. Unfortunately the winner was picked by a closed panel of “experts.” They selected “iSnack 2.0″ as the name, thinking it was edgy and cool. Public reaction was swift and very uncool. Within days Kraft announced they were revoking the name and opened a new poll to allow the public to choose the new name. The selected name was “Vegemite Cheesybite.”

Both the T-Mobile and Kraft campaigns involved large numbers of people participating of their own free will. The difference is that everyone participating in the T-Mobile event was part of the final product; if only 10 people showed up the result would have been very lame. In the Kraft case the closed selection panel proved to be the flawed element.

In all of these examples, there are similarities and differences. Some cases require a very flexible manufacturing process, while in others the inventory is electronic. Sometimes the individual contributors do their own manufacturing. In some cases the participants are highly skilled; while for others, little or no skills are required. But in all these cases (well, except the unfortunate Aussie Kraft example) the companies provide more choices, better products, or a better message by enabling open participation of individuals or communities.


Where to find Pentaho this June

June 15, 2010

June may be half way over but there are still 20 opportunities to learn about Pentaho this month at live and virtual events….and in 6 languages!

This month Pentaho is bringing a ray of Open Source BI sunshine to some of the industry’s most preeminent cloud events. Following the successful announcements of Pentaho’s On-Demand BI Solution and support of Apache Hadoop, we will demonstrate these offerings in action, bringing insight, clarity and flexibility to data in the cloud.

Pentaho Featured Cloud Events

GigaOm Structure 2010, June 23-24, 2010, San Francisco, CA – Join Pentaho ‘s CEO, Richard Daley and CTO, James Dixon at Structure 2010, to learn more about using Pentaho’s data integration and analytic tools to more quickly and easily load, access and analyze data in Hadoop, whether its on-premise or in the cloud.

In the exhibit hall, see a live preview demo of Pentaho’s integration with Hadoop and learn about the integrating of Pentaho BI Suite with Hive database. Take advantage of our 25% sponsor discount code by clicking here.

Hadoop Summit, June 29, 2010 in Santa Clara, CA –Pentaho is attending the third annual Hadoop Summit 2010.  Organized by Yahoo!, Hadoop Summit sessions span numerous industries and cater to all levels of expertise.  Richard Daley and Jake Conelius will be on hand at the conference to demo and discuss Pentaho’s integration with Hadoop and Hive and benefits of “Pentaho becoming the face of Hadoop.” They will also pass out limited edition Hadoop Elephants with Pentaho sweaters.

Pentaho Agile BI Events

Pentaho’s Agile BI initiative is full speed ahead as we recently delivered the Pentaho Data Integration 4.0 GA. To learn more about how to get started and why, make sure to attend one of these Agile BI focused events in the US and Europe:

North America

Worldwide webinar’s

Italy

Germany

Spain

UK

France

Norway

Visit the Events and Webcast section of our website to stay up-to-date on virtual and live events.

We want to connect with you. Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook and get the inside scoop from the BI from the Swamp Blog by signing up to receive post via email or rss.

Rebecca Goldstein
Director, Corporate Communications
Pentaho Corporation


What is Agile BI? Your answers from business user to fluff

May 12, 2010

Last month, Pentaho sponsored a contest where people answer the question -“What does agile BI mean?”  I was lucky enough to be one of the judges to determine who made it to the final five and win a Flip Ultra™ camcorder.  The results were posted today http://www.pentaho.com/what_is_agile/. Now it’s up to the community to vote for their favorite answer and the winner gets an iPad – (yes, that means you).

When reading through hundreds of entries I began to see a pattern and being an old BI guy, that meant I had to make a pie chart. The answers fell into 5 main groups: BI Solution Development, Business Users, Entire Business marketing Fluff and Other.

Almost 34% of the entries cited Agile BI as an iterative methodology for developing BI solutions involving the end user as early and often as possible.  It is exemplified by one of the finalists “Agile is about speeding up the design/create/ship/observe cycle. The more you ship and observe, the better you learn to design and do. Whether you’re headed in the wrong direction or the right one, it’s imperative that you find that out as soon as possible.” Exactly what we have started with the PDI 4.0 release and are continuing to focus on.

A full 25% of the responses focused on the business user with quotes like, “Agile is never being caught flat-footed – being able to react and adapt with ease, leaving competitors in your wake.” The ability for end users to explore and analyze business data beyond static reporting is very important.  Applications like Pentaho Analyzer and Web-based Ad hoc Query and Reporting address this need. The modeling perspective added to PDI 4.0 reduces the complexity and learning curve associated with building metadata models and schemas in order to put that analytical power into the end user’s hands.

A little over 12% were not concerned whether the agility was on the development or user side.  They just knew that the business had to react quickly to changing business conditions.  “Agile means being able to rapidly adjust to changing conditions with speed and accuracy” was a typical response in this category.

Exactly 15% of people responded with what I call fluffy messages. These were creative and got the most attention from our marketing people (I wasn’t the only judge)  “The antonym to SAP”, “Less work, more money” and “Agile (with Pentaho) means never having to say you’re sorry.”

The last 14% were entries like “agile is eliga read backwards” and the self-referencing “The only way to make agile decisions.” Not sure where they were going with some of these but they were also entertaining.

Out of the entries, there were nine attempts to make a phrase by using words that start with the letters A-G-I-L-E. Two people submitted papers on agile BI.  We even had a submission written in Haiku.  No one went for the extra creativity points by using video or interpretive dance.  We didn’t get any abusive, obscene or SPAM entries, which was nice.

There were only two negative responses complaining that Agile BI was marketing hype.  Here is one of them, “Two answers. 1. Personally, “Agile BI” means nothing to me. Sounds like yet another attempt by marketing to create an artificial differentiator. 2. If I had to describe “Agile BI” or die, I’d say, “An Agile BI environment enables an organization’s people and processes to quickly adapt to new or changed user requirements, ideally through self-learning and pre-emptive adjustments.” Answer two is exactly what we intend to enable with this initiative and when we are successful, that will prove the number one answer wrong.

Pentaho is committed to Agile BI. We believe our development plan is in line with the majority of respondents to this contest. PDI 4.0 is a great start but it is just the first steps and we are using this feedback to help set the product roadmap for the next half of this year and beyond. Thank you for participating! Please vote for one of the finalists.

Doug Moran
Pentaho Community Guy


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