Happy Birthday Pentaho

October 8, 2012

Eight years ago on, Friday October 8th 2004, Pentaho was founded to (1) make a disruptive impact in the BI space (2) screw around with the big proprietary vendors  (3) have a lot of fun along the way. It’s been a great ride…but we have so much more to accomplish! Looking forward to the future with this phenomenal team that has come together over the years.

Happy B’Day Pentaho

Richard


Vive la France!!

October 26, 2011

France consistently tops the European charts when it comes to Open Source software adoption, partly due to the leadership taken in by its public sector, which has a knock-on effect in the private sector.

Lately we’ve felt like the best thing since sliced bread, with our popularity on the rise and several new customers joining the fold over the past few months. We’ve attracted companies from a range of sectors, including one of the largest technology companies in the world, leading health insurers and local government organisations. One reason behind the success is surely our new French account manager, Cédric Fauvet*, but we suspect there are a few others:

  • We’ve truly localized so our French support and presence is better than ever, delivered by native speakers who truly understand the market and customer needs.
  • Our partners are a big part of this, providing hands-on training, workshops and Webinars (in French) to actively working with our team on customer projects. Our collaboration with them has never been better.
  • Enterprise product differentiation and value. The added functionality and value of our enterprise offering compared to the community open source project is undeniable, resulting in much faster implementations and giving more power to users.

Look out in the coming months for announcements of new French customers and success stories.  If you’d like to find out more about our local French services or interested in becoming a partner, don’t hesitate to contact Cédric on the number below.

A bientôt!
Davy Nys
Regional VP EMEA

Vive la France!! 

La France à toujours été à la pointe de l’Europe pour ce qui est de l’adoption de l’OpenSource, en partie grâce à la traction du secteur public, qui a ensuite par effet boule de neige, contaminé le secteur privé.

Nous venons de rentrer dans une période faste, une popularité en croissante, plusieurs nouveaux clients qui rejoignent nos rangs. Nous avons par exemple attiré des sociétés issues de secteurs variés, incluant une des plus grandes sociétés technologiques dans le monde, le leader des assurances et plusieurs organisations locales. Une raison derrière ce succès est certainement notre nouveau responsable commercial, Cédric Fauvet, mais nous soupçonnons aussi les causes suivantes :

  • Nous sommes bien mieux localisés, nous supportons nos clients en Français et notre présence est meilleure que jamais, assurées par des Francophones natifs qui comprennent parfaitement le marché et les besoins des clients.
  • Nos partenaires y sont pour bonne part aussi, par la fourniture de formations clés en mains, par la participation à des ateliers et des Webinaires (en Français) avec notre équipe. Notre collaboration avec eux n’a jamais été meilleure.
  • Les nombreux différenciateurs et la valeur ajoutée de notre édition professionnelle.

Restez à l’écoute les prochains mois, pour de nouvelles annonces concernant nos futurs clients Français et leurs « succes stories ». Si vous souhaitez en savoir plus sur les nos services dans l’hexagone et les zones Francophones ou si vous êtes intéressé pour rejoindre la liste de nos partenaires, n’hésitez pas à contacter Cédric au numéro suivant

A bientôt!
Davy Nys
Regional VP EMEA


Open Source Fuels “Power To The User”

June 22, 2011

Traditionally open source Business Intelligence (OSBI) has been adopted by individuals with an “I” in their acronym: IT, SI, and ISVs.  This made sense because Open Source software started with deep technical roots in operating systems, appservers, RDBMSs, ESBs, etc., and when Pentaho pioneered OSBI in 2004 it was no different. The OSBI landscape back then was filled with some very nice technical projects, some desire from the “then current” open source proponents to move higher in the stack, and the overwhelming BI market screaming for disruption in the form of better products, better architectures and better pricing.

Over the next few years Pentaho built out a great BI platform with end-to-end BI capabilities and quickly became known as “The” OS BI Suite vendor. In conjunction with building product, we built out vibrant open source communities that helped spur our growth and adoption. We were the only clear alternative to Business Objects, Cognos, Oracle and Microstrategy, and the market was hungry for a better and more appropriately-priced offering. We’ve experienced incredible growth over the last couple of years as we continue to deliver great, solid, scalable, secure and functionally-rich products to the market – both to our open source communities and to our paying customers and partners.

In 2009 we started delivering more products geared toward the “business user,” a.k.a. “end-user,” a.k.a. “casual user,” a.k.a. “non-techie.” We immediately started seeing more people convert into customers and this trend grew significantly all the way through 2010. This was a great move in that direction, but we knew that another gap needed to be plugged in order to really satisfy growing market needs – better web-based reporting and data visualization as well as an easier way to get to data. People want results fast and easy, especially the “non-technical user.”  Voila, Pentaho BI 4.0 directly addresses these needs and pain points.  Check it all out here in our Pentaho BI 4 resource center.

Pentaho BI 4 is our biggest release ever that’s geared toward the business user. This product makes it not only possible, but makes it easy for business users to access their own data and do their own reporting, analytics, data discovery and dashboards. We’ve shielded users from the underlying complexities while also giving them the power that they desire.  Our open source roots make it clear that we are all about the people, and this release specifically extends that philosophy to include the “non-technical people.”

Pentaho BI 4 will greatly expand our addressable market size and customer profile. Our early feedback from customers, partners and communities indicates that this is a huge inflection point for our product line and company.  Our launch webcast on Thursday June 23 – Pentaho BI 4 Live – has already broken our previous webcast registration by 250%!

There must be some real unsolved thirst for pushing power to the user.

Richard


Reflections on the Wisdom of the Crowds BI Market Study

January 10, 2011

I recently came across a very interesting study that has been published by Dresner Advisory Services. The Business Intelligent market study titled, “The Wisdom of Crowds,” is written by Howard Dresner, one of the foremost thought leaders in the BI market. This in-depth market research has used a survey tactic to gather the wisdom of 457 BI users (quite a crowd!) on 32 essential metrics for choosing a BI technology. The results are astonishing.

Among the many trends two were the most interesting to me:

  1. Today, smaller BI deployments dominate across all geographies and all industries.
  2. Smaller BI deployments have started to take off in the last 2 years or so and are growing in the expense of large deployments that were once popular 5 to 15 years ago.

This is a huge market shift. 1,000+ user base deployments are no longer ideal or even desired. They have been replaced by smaller deployments for individual organizations, departments, and line of businesses.

While this is no surprise due to the economic conditions that has forced companies to cut back in their capital expenditure, including huge licensing costs just to entitle “every” user to the software and tools in hand, plus money spent on training and hiring skilled users, what has truly made this “shift” possible is the opportunity that open source BI has presented to these clients.

In my opinion, Open Source BI provides this opportunity in two ways:

1. Lower cost and easier to deploy BI software is now available. Notice that I am not just talking about the low cost here. Yes, Open Source BI has been a disruptive technology in the past couple of decades. Newer to the BI world, Open Source bears no acquisition cost for the software. Instead it offers a subscription model for support, which has made it the most attractive alternative for most clients. All the required functionality with only 10% of the cost! What else is new?!

Here, however, my emphasis is on the “easier to deploy” factor. What in the past took a symphony of data modelers, BI developers, ETL developers, data analysts, data architects, data warehouse managers, and DBAs, and a 12 month implementation cycle, is now done “only by a few and only in a few weeks”.

What does this mean for smaller organizations or even departments within larger organizations? It means that now they are able to invest in BI. Something that was not viable a few years ago. They not only don’t have to pay high dollars for BI tools, but also don’t need an exhaustive list of skills, consulting, and expertise to get going.

Dresner’s report shows exactly this. More and more smaller deployments are becoming popular in the last couple of years and are replacing the large ones that were on most corporate priority lists 5-10 years ago.

2. The second reason for this market shift is due to the connection that emerging technologies (such as open source) have made to the line of business owners. Business users have found a way to “free” themselves from IT latency. There is no question that you need your technical staff to initially set up the BI infrastructure and build the first round of reports and analysis, but that shouldn’t mean that every time you want add a dimension to your calculations, or measure something slightly different, you would have to go in a waiting list queue behind several other requests and get an answer 3-4 weeks later. Business users now realize that they can take control, and find the answers for themselves — at least in most cases.

Open Source BI has emerged to enable these folks with tools that let them manage changes in their business processes a lot faster. Dresner’s report is an evident to this fact. The study shows that business users are the most likely to chose emerging technologies over BI tools from the Titans (IBM, SAP, Oracle, and Microsoft) and the BI Pure Plays (Actuate, MicroStrategy).

I would encourage you to download and study this report further. You will be intrigued!

To conclude my points, I’d like to point out a chart from the 2010 Wisdom of Crowds Market Study (The 2011 study is underway). It shows the life cycle of all BI vendors. Several vendors matured 2 to 5 years ago. They saw the most deployments and new customer acquisitions in that time frame. But since then, their deployments have declined. Among these vendors are SAP Business Objects, Oracle, MicroSoft, IBM Cognos, and Actuate. With cobbled together tools from different acquisitions that are not integrated and require deep technical skills and long deployment cycles, not to mention the huge software acquisition costs for clients, there is no wonder to this trend. These tools are anything but suitable for small, agile, and high-value projects.

Farnaz Erfan
Product Marketing Manager
Pentaho Corporation

This blog was originally posted on  Open Source Business Intelligence


13 highlights Pentaho BI Suite Bootcamp

December 15, 2010

As the new product marketing manager at Pentaho, I wanted to write my first blog on my experience attending the four-day Pentaho BI Suite Bootcamp. This class is key to better understand the architecture of the Pentaho BI Suite and get hands on experience with the Pentaho BI Suite, ETL/Data Integration, Analysis and Reporting.

I have to say that coming from an enterprise data integration vendor such as IBM, I was a bit skeptical of any open source solution. What I expected was the bare bones: limited data type coverage, no metadata, basic data modeling and simple BI reporting. What I discovered was to the other extreme. I was taken by surprise on both the breath and the depth of the solution.

Here is my list of lucky 13 highlights from the class:

1.     Coverage of all types of data from what you expect (DB2, Oracle, & SQL Server) to Hadoop, Netezza, Teradata, SAP ERP systems, and of course MySQL and PostgreSQL.

2.     Parallel processing of data transformations – with an ‘intuitive’ UI that eliminates the need for coding. Unlike other tools in the market from both Open Source as well as major proprietary ETL vendors that are code generators, Pentaho Data Integration eliminates the need for coding. Talk about a low TCO!

3.     A shared repository gives a great opportunity for team work and collaboration in the process.

4.     Can handle very sophisticated dimensional modeling concepts – combination, degenerate, and conformed, and slowing changing dimensions, star and snow flake schemas.

5.     Power of OLAP for dynamic aggregation, so developers don’t have to figure out the reporting requirements ahead of time with SQL. This is an extraordinary piece of the puzzle.

6.     Caching and aggregate-aware constructs, so look ups don’t need to hit the database for every row. The wait times will be a lot less and latency is reduced.

7.     Removing the SQL layer for BI developers and data analysts. This has two benefits:  1. Reduces the complexity. 2. Protects databases from novice SQL users that can harm the system. Instead, a set of “business objects” (customer, product, etc) are presented for building reports and dashboards.

8.     Covers all types of reporting needs: Production reporting (for managed and high volume pixel perfect distribution), ad hoc analysis (for interactive analysis to measure business performance against time, location, product lines), operational reporting (for detailed reporting on the current state of data supporting ERP and CRM applications), and data mining (for predictive analysis to detect fraud / next best offers).

9.     Full drill in and out capabilities on reports. Can drill in from summary information to details. Can also drill from report to report with hyperlinks.

10.  Parametrized reports for the interactivity factor needed for analysis. Examples: What if I change the time dimension, or region? What changes I will see and how I need to adjust my operations accordingly?

11.  Dashboards, scorecards, and metrics that allow business users assemble previously built reports, queries, and analysis, needing “zero-training”.

12.  A quick installation got me up and ready in a few minutes. Quote from a customer in the class: “was able to kick this off in 10 minutes”. This customer has evaluated Pentaho’s other Open Source rivals and had found Pentaho to be superior.

13.  And now, for the cream of the crop…Something that the Big guys of ETL are light years behind: Pentaho’s integrated ETL, Visualization, and Modeling environment. It was really cool to be able to create a live connection to an transactional systems (OLTP), select some tables, and from there click right into the modeling and data visualization environments, analyze the content of those tables, do some profiling and decide the best ETL paths as well as best data structures for our new target schema. This was really exciting for me to see, as I have seen struggles around it before. Pentaho not only has all the pieces of the puzzle (ETL, Analysis, Modeling, OLAP, Predictive), which a lot of other vendors don’t even have, but it also has ‘integrated’ them into one development suite that helps the user walk through the process of building a BI solution one step at the time and on a consistent path to completion.

Seeing this set of “sophisticated” ETL, Data Modeling, OLAP, Visualization, and BI tools just left me with one puzzling question at the end. This is what I wrote in my notes at the end of the class:I can’t believe this is all so cheap! Where I was we used to charge hundreds if not millions of dollars for this!”

Farnaz Erfan
Product Marketing Manager
Pentaho Corporation


Congratulations to QlikTech and the new wave of BI

July 26, 2010

It’s been awhile since a BI company went public, so I’m excited by the news of QlikTech’s IPO and what it bodes for our industry. Following the Era of the BI consolidation, when the Big 3 BI vendors grew stodgy and were consumed by mega-vendors like IBM, Oracle and SAP who were looking to add BI functionality (a.k.a. “buy their maintenance stream”) to their existing products, it’s great to see Wall Street showing enthusiasm for a pure BI player. It clearly demonstrates that the market sees significant value in BI innovation.

QlikTech did a great job of taking its technology and packaging it to appeal directly to the business user. It’s a proven enterprise sales model, similar to what Arbor Software did in 1995, and QlikTech should be congratulated for being smart and adapting to an important trend. It’s encouraging to see their market valuation and I’m sure it’s because:

  • Their strong growth rate
  • The BI market is very large and getting much bigger
  • Newer technology that enables direct sales to business users (not to mention a very sexy UI)
  • Other publicly held BI companies are relatively flat

Appealing directly to business users, making it easy for them to upload their data and begin analysis without waiting for support from developers is critical. Every BI vendor must do this and more. The market is also screaming for data integration (simple as well as sophisticated), deployment options (on-premise, private and public clouds/virtualization), and big data analytics just to name a few.

So my congratulations to QlikTech for what they achieved and for raising the excitement level in the BI industry even higher. With this outstanding achievement, I have to wonder how Wall Street might receive a company that is not only financially successful and has great growth momentum, but is also supported by an open source community, has its technology and sales model appealing to more constituents—developers, system integrators, and business users—and has its technology innovated around all the key BI trends. Hmm…

Richard


On-Demand or On-Premise: Yes, Please

June 8, 2010

The great debate about on-demand solutions versus on-premise software has gone on for about a decade now. The consensus is that the hosted approach is more nimble, much faster to deploy, doesn’t require in-house resources or hardware, but it isn’t quite ready for the big league due to security issues, cloudy information ownership issues, limited functionality, very limited flexibility, closed architectures and a lack of general data scalability. As a result, hosted BI has struggled to gain acceptance.

Well it’s time for a fresh take on this subject – one that finally gets BI where it needs to be. Pentaho has created a hybrid approach, which gives you the best of both worlds – the freedom, flexibility and ease of hosted software in tandem with the security, robustness and scalability of enterprise-grade solutions. This comes in the form of a suite of On-Demand BI subscriptions that put you in the driver seat. Instead of having to live with whatever the provider decides to do with information storage, security and management, you are in complete control over how the hosted solution is deployed and managed. That adds the key element that has been missing – choice. You determine if it is best that the BI application is managed wholly by Pentaho, internally or by both parties.

Those of you with more time or internal resources to commit to the specific BI application initiative can develop and administer the infrastructure yourselves. Alternatively, Pentaho can handle any portion of the deployment or application management, as you determine based on what is best for your organization.

What if you change your mind? No problem. This subscription service is deployed via a virtual image. So if you decide to move your BI Suite on-premise, there are no portability issues to overcome – one of the huge barriers to adoption of traditional hosted solutions. No longer is it problematic to shift from hosted to on-premise or back again. And if you want to add more bandwidth, memory or processing power, it’s quickly and easily added.. How’s that for agility?

Skeptical? Take it for a test drive in our new On-Demand BI evaluation environment. It’s so good that we challenge anyone to provide us with a distinct data set and we’ll get it running within 72 hours with dashboards and relevant KPIs. We’ll even let you access it for three weeks while you explore and expand it.

On-Demand or On-Premise: Yes, please.

Richard

For more information about Pentaho’s On-Demand BI Solution and the 72-Hour Challenge visit www.pentaho.com/services/on-demand.


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