Customer Success with Pentaho: Kiva.org

September 7, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


Does the Current Financial Crisis Impact BI Investments?

August 12, 2011

“Fear returned to Wall Street on Wednesday, sending the S&P 500 to another 4 percent decline, triggered by worries that Europe’s debt crisis could engulf French banks and spill onto the U.S. financial sector.” Campos, R. (2011, August 10). Banks drag Wall Street lower as fear returns. Reuters

Uncertainty is a common theme in economies worldwide at this time. Companies with Business Intelligence have a competitive advantage in ‘uncertain times.’ Business Intelligence and Predictive Analysis can forecast the future of the market, competition, and help with planning budgets and investments.

Although businesses intelligence provides a great way for organizations to view information as a strategic asset, available options in the market are either priced very high or require long implementation cycles. A struggling economy puts even more pressure on customers’ buying agendas. Stories of our customers validate this fact and shed new light into how businesses are coping with tough economic times:

  • After excessive maintenance and upgrade costs for an existing Oracle BI, Otto International looked to Pentaho for a BI solution that not only dramatically reduces ongoing costs, but is also a modern and scalable solution for their complex and time-consuming BI tasks.

“Working with BrainChild and Pentaho, we’ve been able to improve our BI capabilities and dramatically reduce our ongoing BI costs.” – Otto International, An International Trading Organization

  • London Oncology Clinic selected Pentaho over SAP Business Objects because SAP’s price per additional user created a large uplift, inhibiting their staff, senior management, and board to benefit from reports on treatment types and diagnoses.

“We entered negotiations with Business Objects, but the price-level limited our options.” – London Oncology Clinic, Europe’s Top Cancer Treatment Facility

  • After going through a cumbersome and manual process for creating and distributing reports manually, BNSF Logistics was able to build its data analysis and reporting in just 6 weeks after purchasing Pentaho.

“Not only did we deliver a powerful business intelligence tool set for our organization in short order, but were able to do so at a fraction of the cost of proprietary alternatives.” – BNSF Logistics, Leading Supply Chain Company 

As an alternative to reading the depressing headlines about the economy, I suggest a white paper that reveals low cost, high value alternatives to BI. Leading Industry Analyst, Mark Madsen compares open source BI pricing to other BI tools that carry a hefty price tag and long implementation cycles. Hopefully the results in this report will give you a glimmer of hope in the days of rising prices and falling economy.

Farnaz Erfan
Product Marketing
Pentaho


BI for Dairy Farmers

July 21, 2011

Pentaho is used by many casual business users including physicians, real estate agents, store managers, resort managers, insurance agents and airport staff. Today, Pentaho is proud to add dairy farmers to the list of casual business users with the publication of a customer success story about 3A Latte Arborea, the leading dairy and milk producer in Sardinia, Italy.

Read the full case study to learn how Pentaho along with jAPS Entando and J-service have provided power to the dairy farmers to help them moo-ve ahead (we just had too). 3A Latte Arborea is an interesting story about how Pentaho BI has helped the farmers to make more profitable decisions about production costs, optimize operational efficiency, identify strengths and weaknesses in the supply chain and improve overall short and long-term planning.

Check it out in English and Italian.

If you have an interesting story about how working with Pentaho is improving your business, we want to help you highlight your great work. There are many opportunities both public and private that are available. If you are interested, please contact us here.
photo credit: iStock Photo


Retailers Looking to Spend on Convenient Self-Service BI

July 13, 2011

Yesterday Reuters reported on a recent survey which revealed that “retailers have cash on their balance sheets and nearly half of 100 top retail executives said they are planning to spend it on technology.”

Specifically, retailers are looking to spend that money on analytical tools to “improve company growth, expansion and planning.” There is a tremendous opportunity for retailers to use analytical tools to make smarter business decisions with the enormous amount of data captured from online purchases and the cash register.

Tomorrow Pentaho customer Sheetz, a multibillion convenience store retailer, will share their experience implementing Pentaho Business Intelligence on a webcast.  Sheetz has gained visibility into purchasing behavior, store performance metrics and cross-channel trends using Pentaho. Join us tomorrow, July 14, to learn about Convenient Self-Service BI. Register here: www.pentaho.com/events/20110714-bi-4-retail-webcast/


User stories behind user-driven BI

June 28, 2011

Can BI be so simple to use that it becomes the daily productivity tool for even the most casual user? Here at Pentaho, we are certainly seeing this side of BI in our customers. Here are their stories in their own words…

Boyne Resorts, the largest family run four-season resort in North America, is using Pentaho everyday to better understand its customer behavior and loyalty. Their Pentaho Dashboards show Boyne’s top 50 customers grouped by city and state. These color-coded dashboards show the concentration of customers in a given city, allowing Marketing Managers to gain immediate visibility into local market activities such as customer’s time spent in resorts. This information helps Boyne design a better mix of resort offers and loyalty points for its customers. Boyne also allows Resort Managers to optimize their operational excellence by using Pentaho Dashboards to assess profits from food and beverage, lift tickets, and lodging. Noah Meister, BI Director of Boyne Resorts, highlights Boyne’s transformation to this user-driven BI approach, in his remarks:

“We’ve advanced a major step forward for our business users by leveraging Pentaho. Boyne has a long history of being first and pursuing innovative ideas and implementing a fully functioning business intelligence application across our network of resorts follows that tradition.”

Delta Dental of Virginia, a member company of Delta Dental Plans Association, the nation’s largest dental benefit carrier, is using Pentaho BI to enable its 4,000+ knowledge workers to become a truly data-driven organization. Pentaho Reporting is integrated into company’s web site, and is a key component of DDVA’s customer service program. The web site tightly integrates claim processing systems and allows Knowledge Workers and Claim Managers to pull up accurate reports and claim status information on a daily basis. In addition, Pentaho Dashboards provide Underwriters with insight into fraudulent behavior. This new user-driven BI paradigm has been so successful that other Delta Dental member companies have asked for the same software. John Sheffield, Director of Software Development at Delta Dental of VA, marks this achievement by saying:  

“Pentaho has precipitated a cultural shift at Delta Dental of Virginia toward a knowledge worker paradigm. Once we had a BI platform that everyone could use and people understood its capabilities, they were transformed into knowledge workers who can look to data to answer their questions. As a result, people rely on data, not anecdotes to drive the business.”

ControlPay, world’s leader in freight auditing with presence in Netherlands, Ukraine, and USA, is using Pentaho to provide its customers deep insight into the most cost-effective logistics and transportation options. With Pentaho BI, this true B2B company is now able to provide an e-platform to its clients, some of which include world’s largest manufacturers such as Bridgestone, Proctor & Gamble and Schlumberger. The e-platform allows Distribution Managers, Supply Chain Managers, and Partners to assess variances in costs due to factors such as location, distance from distribution points, and contractual rates of regional carriers. A more drill-down analysis into less obvious costs such as weight per pallet, loyalty discounts, road tolls, and regional tax regimes, gives ControlPay a huge competitive advantage over other logistics suppliers. Pieter Kinds, Chief Operating Officer of ControlPay, speaks of this innovation by saying:

“Logistics is a major cost incurred by many businesses. Understanding the most efficient route to market across decentralized networks is a distracting challenge for organizations trying to satisfy global markets. Using our e-platform with Pentaho BI, brings disparate knowledge into one transparent hub, which means ControlPay customers have oversight on one screen of logistics data from many sources. This is a breakthrough!”

It is fascinating to see how BI has come such a long way from the old days of IT-centric report building. Interested to find out more about Pentaho’s User-Driven BI? Check out this 4 minute video and see for yourself: http://www.pentaho.com/power-to-the-user/

Farnaz Erfan
Product Marketing
Pentaho Corporation


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.


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