Spotlight this week: LexisNexis, Infobright, OpenBI

June 17, 2011

We’ve been heads down the past month preparing for our next MAJOR product launch coming soon (sign-up to be the first to see the impressive new features). In the meantime, we’ve had three partners in the spotlight this past week with exciting new launches and customer success stories that are worth highlighting.


LexisNexis launched their High Performance Computer Cluster (HPCC) technology, making it possible to access and analyze complex, massive data sets in a matter of seconds. They plan to release the internally developed supercomputing platform, HPCC Systems, under a dual license, open source model.

Pentaho is proud to be a founding BI partner in this new exciting open source product making it possible for companies to process and analyze complex, massive data sets in a matter of seconds.

Learn more about HPCC Systems.

Infobright announced Infobright 4.0, the industry’s first database with built-in intelligence for near-real time analysis of machine-generated data. Quoted in the press release is our own CEO, Richard Daley:

“Infobright’s DomainExpert technology delivers new capabilities that allow Pentaho’s data discovery users to analyze their data much more quickly,” said Richard Daley, founder and CEO of Pentaho. “Since our technology is already tightly integrated with Infobright, these new capabilities will be available immediately for customers to generate data analytics faster, easier and more affordably.”

To learn more, read their press release and register for their webinar featuring Infobright 4.0 on June 22nd.

OpenBI published a great case study: Case Commons™, incubated and funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. This is a great story of how Pentaho Partner, OpenBI, and Case Commons™ join forces to provide cutting-edge analytics for human services agencies.

Here’s an insert from the results section of the case study. To read the full case study, click here.

Results
Using the Pentaho BI Suite with Pentaho Data Integration as the data transformation engine, OpenBI built the Casebook Analytics proof of concept featuring an analytical data mart and a front-end dashboard application, including advanced charting, filtering and paneling. The application integrates a number of external open source graphics libraries for advanced visualizations, including the ability to analyze ‘trajectories’ of life events and services. The system is designed to empower frontline teams to make timely decisions that increase the safety, permanency and well being of the children they serve.


3 questions that every CFO wants to know about Pentaho (and how to answer them)

January 25, 2011

1. Will it do what I need?

2. Will it get done on time?

3. Will it fit my budget?

These are pretty much the 3 questions that any IT Manager will ask him/herself when it comes to evaluating and investing in any type of software. Open Source BI is no different. Call it an over-simplified RFI (Request for Information) or “make my CFO approve my gut feeling” checklist, these questions are essentially what you need to know to go forward with a purchasing decision.

The snippets below show how 4 Pentaho customers have answered these questions.

ZipRealty, a well known real estate firm, wanted to increase the quality and quantity of their reports to their users. Their previous BI solution was cost-prohibitive when it came to rolling out these reports to “all” their agents and district managers. ZipRealty’s Director of Business Intelligence, Salvatore Scalisi quotes: “It wasn’t economical to add the number of users we wanted. The licensing fees became substantial.”

With Pentaho, ZipRealty was able to help its agents and managers track inventory and conversion rates. They also enhanced their client services and satisfaction by rolling out analysis to their client base, allowing them see real estate listings along with embedded analysis and map-based mash ups directly from the ZipRealty’s website.

Estalea L.P., a technology incubator with strong Java programming expertise wanted to find a similar technology-base solution to prepare “data services” for its clients’ independent BI applications. In looking for a solution that was Java base, and did not require very deep technical skills, stating, “Pentaho was the only viable open source product, particularly in the ETL area.” Given that other Java ETL solutions are on a per user licensing model, Pentaho’s unlimited user license was a better option to them.

The simplicity and ease of use of Pentaho Data Integration, further enabled Estalea to save on costs by not hiring more expensive programmer staff. Jon Cotter, Director of Product Design and Technology at Estalea explains, “This way I can take on projects with people with less experience and move my senior people to other projects.”

For Loma Linda University Health Care, the value was mainly around user adoption. Loma Linda’s physicians, a non-technical group in the field of Business Intelligence and ETL, are now very interested to use Pentaho for their analysis. Historically, physicians are primarily Excel users. Their positive experience on the ease of use of Pentaho BI Suite Enterprise Edition is absolutely clear in in the quote by Darrin Blocker, Decision Support Analyst at Loma Linda, “Just the idea of being able to select attributes and pivot that data and get a response in seconds, versus having to send in a report request and waiting for a week was a big selling point”.

Power Costs, Inc.’s goal was to offer an analytical application to its utility customers that can help them with energy bidding process. Monthly gigabytes of data and a seven-year history of data from its customers, combined with Power Costs’ own market data was processed to build these sophisticated analysis. Pentaho Analysis fit the bill.

For the volumes of data that Power Costs needed to analyze, Pentaho Data Integration was well-integrated into BI stack. According to David Nilsson, Power Costs Vice President of Product Strategy, his analysis of Pentaho’s ETL tool was “ One of the better ones that we had seen….Most vendors’ products don’t integrate as well.” The pricing model and easy integration helped Power Costs achieve ROI in less than four months.

4 customers, 4 different business use cases. They all needed Pentaho to not only deliver the functionality they needed, but also to provide them with tools that can easily be implemented and deliver results fast. Needless to say these customers had budget constraint that could not bless them to a ½ million dollar solution! To summarize their results in a few bullets, what they got out of Pentaho was:

  • Ease of use in implementation for the ETL and BI developer
  • Full integration of ETL and BI to speed project cycles
  • Letting business users make changes and see results fast, without having to wait for IT
  • Scalability of the solution for large volumes of data
  • Low cost in rolling out BI to the masses

For more information on these customers, download the white paper “Realizing the Pentaho Agile BI Opportunity: BI for the Masses and Customer Success” by Joshua Greenbaum, Principal at Enterprise Applications Consulting.

Farnaz Erfan
Product Marketing Manager
Pentaho Corporation

To read more examples of customers like Loma Linda University and Estalea experiencing success with Pentaho visit the Pentaho Customer Success webpage.


Business Intelligence – In the heads of people – not the software

January 14, 2011

Business Intelligence is part of a bigger picture and not a particular software package. BI in general involves many different factors in order to be successful no matter what software or skill set is being used. It requires the knowledge and expertise of the individuals who know it best. This includes the customer knowing what problems they have or want to prevent, as well as the software vendor and/or consultants who know how to provide solutions for those problems.

Analogy 1: Imagine you want to hang a picture. You have some screws but do not have any tools. You go to the hardware store and say, “I need a hammer”, because you think that this is the proper tool to get the job done. The proper response would be for the salesperson to ask you, “What do you need the hammer for?” or “What project will the hammer help you with?” When he finds out that you want to hang a picture and all you have are screws, the salesperson may suggest a screwdriver instead of the hammer or perhaps give you nails and a hammer. Even better yet, he may offer something that is even easier to use or costs less like those new gravity hooks. The salesperson needs to ask the proper questions to help the customer with the proper solutions. He may even offer a better solution to which the customer had no idea about. The salesperson was the expert who provided the knowledge for the proper solution or alternative.

BI not only involves helping the customer with existing problems but also involves helping them to see problems that they many not know exist.

Analogy 2: Imagine having a piece of food on your lip and not knowing it. Your friend says, “Hey, you got something on your lip!”, and points it out to you. You then take the appropriate action to resolve that problem by wiping it away with a napkin. The napkin was the tool,  the wiping was the action taken from the knowledge and direction provided by your friend. Your friend helped you discover a problem you didn’t know was there.

It is clear and easy to see that these two analogies provide support that Business Intelligence is about collaboration, communication, discovery, knowledge, insight, direction and action to just name a few. These factors along with the proper software and services can provide an organization with a successful BI implementation. The software can be part of a specific BI Platform or simply an application development environment used to create business applications that provide knowledge on data. Business Intelligence is not just about collecting data and reporting, it is a methodology in which experts can provide assistance. If you would like your organization to succeed with BI, it is extremely important to understand its factors and learn how to analyze and use the data created by this methodology.

BI is part of a bigger picture, is in the heads of people and not just in the software.

Michael Tarallo
Director of Sales Engineering
Pentaho Corporation


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


Happy 1 year anniversary Pentaho Agile BI!

December 8, 2010

Today we celebrate the one year anniversary of launching our Pentaho Agile BI initiative. Over the past year the Pentaho Agile BI initiative has received tremendous traction and praise throughout the industry and, more importantly, has impacted organizations in a positive way.

We thought an appropriate gift for our community is something that you would find insightful. For you, we have three new white papers that cover Pentaho Agile BI from different perspectives:

  • Pentaho Agile BI: An iterative methodology for fast, flexible and cost-effective Business Intelligence, by Pentaho Chief Geek/CTO, James Dixon
  • Business Intelligence at the Crossroads: The Need for Lean, Agile and Effective End-User Solutions, by Joshua Greenbaum, principal, Enterprise Applications Consulting
  • Realizing the Agile BI Opportunity, by Joshua Greenbaum, principal, Enterprise Applications Consulting

You can download the complimentary Agile BI white papers here.


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


Is Excel costing you more than you think?

July 15, 2010

A recent trend we have noticed at Pentaho is that an increasing number of customers reaching out to us for their BI solution are using spreadmarts as the default reporting tool and rely heavily on Excel/spreadmarts for storing and gaining insight on their data.  Red Flag! Often overlooked are the many risks that these spreadmarts introduce to your decision making process.  While effective for displaying static data, Excel/spreadmarts are a poor substitute for modern business intelligence.

Last month, Pentaho hosted a webcast to answer the popular question, “How do you save money and time by replacing Excel/Spreadmarts?” The speakers featured experts Rick Sherman, co-author of the TDWI study, “Strategies for Managing Spreadmarts and Migrating to a Managed BI Environment” and Jake Cornelius, Director, Product Management at Pentaho. The attendance and response to the webcast was tremendous. If you missed this webcast, no worries, it is now on-demand to watch on your schedule. Here’s an inside look at some of the highlights:

  • You are not alone! The median company has 30 Spreadmarts. Average = 837!
  • The average costs of spreadmarts to an organization is $780,000 a year.
  • The benefits of allowing business users to use spreadmarts are that they already understand the tool and can do it without IT assistance.
  • The dangers associated with spreadmarts include lack of data consistency, audit trail and data governance as well as the productivity drain due to version control and inaccurate data – see screen shot below. (In this webcast learn how to mitigate this risk and successful strategies for reducing you companies dependency)
  • There is a solution, which allows you to see the difference a managed BI solution will make. In 3 days you can receive an initial proof of value using a set of your own data (check out the Pentaho 72 Hour Challenge).

These are just a few of the highlights from the webcast. To learn more about how to save money and better leverage your data to make smarter decisions watch the on-demand webcast, ‘Modern Cost-Effective BI Will Save your Firm Money and Time by Replacing Spreadmarts.

Watch more of Pentaho’s most popular Open Source BI webcasts on your schedule.

We are listening! This webcast was a suggestion from our customers. What other topics are you interested to learn about from Pentaho? Let us know in the comments section below or on Twitter – we are @Pentaho.


You can run but you can’t hide

May 18, 2010

Social media has changed the whole customer-vendor relationship. If our customers are not happy they have 100’s of ways to tell a lot of people. Vendors can run but they can’t hide.

Howard Dresner gets it. He tapped into the social media world to gather a sampling of over 450 business intelligence users to learn their real-world experiences with their vendors. He gathered their feedback in the new market study by Dresner Advisory Services, The Wisdom of Crowds Business Intelligence Market Study™. Here are a few of the highlights:

  • Pentaho, in the Emerging Vendor category, was ranked against six other vendors and received the top ranking in value for the price paid and quality of consulting services.
  • Pentaho is the clear leader in OSBI ranking above other OSBI vendors in every category.
  • Pentaho received the second highest marks overall among BI vendors.
  • 100 percent of responding customers recommended Pentaho.

Red Hat’s slogan comes to mind in this situation: “Truth Happens.” With the growth of social media you cannot hide if you have bad support or a crappy product – social media puts the power back into the users hands.

You can’t just say you are the best or largest – you have to be it. It is easy to throw around meaningless statistics about having “over 100,000 community members”, when the 100,000 merely visited a website or forge and registered to get community editions or view a forum. What is worse is when over 75% of these “community members” only visited that site one time and never returned. Making these grossly misleading claims is bad for commercial open source in general and horrible for the specific vendors.

Beyond the Wisdom of Crowds report, I wanted to point out a few other independent surveys out there to see the truth.

Open Source Solutions: Managing, Analyzing and Delivering Business Information
BeyeNETWORK Research Report by Mark Madsen

The End of Enterprise Software: Open Source Finds an Opening
By Wayne Eckerson, Director, TDWI Research

If you are interested to know what your peers are saying about Pentaho in The Wisdom of Crowds Business Intelligence Market Study™ the survey is available for download by visiting: http://www.pentaho.com/wisdom_of_crowds/

Richard


Q1 2010 full speed ahead

April 21, 2010

As Capt Morgan used to say “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead”. Pentaho is going full speed as evidenced by the press release we issued this morning giving the community  insight into the past quarter and the great momentum happening at Pentaho. Here are just a few highlights from the release:

  • Compared to Q1 2009, Pentaho had a 177 percent increase in new Enterprise Edition customers* including:
      – Auto-Wares
      - Ericsson
      - Experian
      - NTT
      - Postbank P.O.S.Transact GmbH
      - Toyota Kreditbank GmbH
  • 229 percent growth in total bookings from Q1 2009 to Q1 2010.
  • Finished Q1 2010 with the most successful quarter in company history for the second quarter in a row.
  • Record number of new OEM partners including MICROS Systems, Inc.
  • Best launch in company history introduction of the revolutionary Pentaho Data Integration 4.0.

I encourage you to read the full press release here, ‘Pentaho Soars with Second Straight Record Quarter

Get seated, strap yourself in, and enjoy the ride.

Richard

*This figure represents customers that have purchased an annual subscription to Pentaho Enterprise Edition products, not simply product downloads or the purchase of documentation, training or per-incident support.


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