The party is just starting

October 4, 2010

A few years ago when talking with some potential investors I heard on more than one occasion “Everybody already has BI” or “The market is saturated with BI products.” Quite the contrary – even the few companies that have BI or Data Integration products are just scratching the surface of their potential usage. Many projects are only rolled out to a limited set of users, handcuffed by the outrageous price of most products on the market. And what about all of the other projects that never even started due to cost constraints? And what about the rest of the companies on the planet who could never even buy their first BI/DI products? And what about all of the applications that could desperately use some embedded BI/analytical capabilities but due to cost and technical constraints of the old guard BI companies could never get off these efforts of the ground.

Imagine how frustrating it can be when the needs and requirements to make your business run more efficiently and effectively are held hostage by a few large software vendors. Thus, the founding of Pentaho and the democratization of BI and DI. For the past 5+ years we’ve been blazing trails to innovate and deliver great products to the market at either zero or extremely low prices. We chose open source as the development and distribution vehicles to make this all possible. We spent the first few years doing nothing but building great product and communities around those products. We knew we had to establish high adoption rates and momentum in order to effectively compete against the old school vendors, and to get the word out to the world that a better alternative was now available in BI and DI.

How are we doing? Many say we’ve done a great job: we win awards every year, we get great write-ups from analysts and press, we have a large, active community (I’ll post a separate blog on this subject), we have a large, happy customer base (our renewal rates are amongst the best in the industry), our company is growing at a record pace for any BI/DI company (our Q3 was 160% larger than any prior quarter in company history), our partner network is solid with some of the best minds/talent in the BI/DI market, our products are enterprise-class and easy to use (a combo that is not easy to achieve), and we continue to innovate (Agile BI, Cloud Offerings, Big Data Analytics), bringing great tech to the market to help solve problems for customers and communities. But we’ll truly know that we’ve done a great job when we become the defacto standard for BI/DI – this is what we set out to achieve every day.

What does this have to do with the title “The Party is just starting”? The need for analytics/BI/DI is never-ending and vendors have really only scratched the surface over the last 30 years. Break down one of the biggest barriers to adoption – cost – and you can clearly see how it is just beginning. Companies were starving for this tech and now the gates are wide open for adoption.  Couple that with the exponential explosion of data, a global market that is more tech savvy than ever and a worldwide financial crisis/recession over the last few years, and Voila! A full-featured, cost-effective alternative looks pretty attractive to customers.

Even the big vendors know how much value BI, DI and analytics bring to the market, as evidenced by all of the consolidation in our industry over the last 3+ years: ORCL buys Hyperion, IBM buys Cognos, IBM buys SPSS, IBM buys Netezza, SAP buys Business Objects, EMC buys Greenplum, etc.  Most of these vendors are creating stacks and appliances, but the cost to get in the game is still prohibitive to the overwhelming majority of companies. This is just one reason why Pentaho will continue to grow at record pace…

We’re winning for one simple reason: our customers, partners and communities are winning. So it is possible to have a party during a recession.

Regards,
Richard


Welcome Doug Johnson

August 26, 2010

If you have followed my blogs about Pentaho, you can easily detect that our momentum is full-speed-ahead. Another notch to add to our success is adding Doug Johnson to the Pentaho management roster as our CFO. Doug has a unique background that combines a passion for business intelligence, experience, bringing three companies through IPO, and extensive experience in open source and subscription-based services. I asked Doug to share with you, “What brought you to Pentaho?” Welcome on board Doug.

Guest Blogger Doug Johnson

There are a number of things about Pentaho that interested me when I began to talk to Richard about joining the company. The product area – business intelligence, the development approach – open source, the stage of the company – going through rapid growth and market dominance, and the people all struck a chord and raised my level of interest. As I got to know the management team and the board of directors during the evaluation stage, my interest continued to grow.

As a CFO, business intelligence has always been a passion for me. The role of CFO requires a deep understanding of the data in the company and using tools like Pentaho’s BI suite allows me to organize the data, combine data from different systems and then analyze that data. It used to take my staff hours and hours to pull the data from its various sources and then combine the data in such a way as to make it understandable and actionable. It is always preferable to be the CFO of a company whose product you can relate to and appreciate.

The open source movement makes sense to me. As a CFO in mid-size companies most of my career, making a decision to acquire business intelligence software was always a difficult one due to the price of the leading products. Frequently, I had to either decide not to go forward with a project or to select a lesser alternative simply based on the price tag of the product I really wanted. The commoditization of software through the use of open source is a movement that I have supported and been in favor of for some time. To see it being used in an area that has simply been out of the reach of mid-size companies in the past is heartening. To be able to afford a leading software product for 10% to 25% of the commercial price is an exciting prospect for a data hound like me.

Pentaho, for several years concentrated on building out its product suite and improving its ease of use. It has reached the point where it is equal or better than anyone else on the block. The company is now growing its sales infrastructure to dominate the market. Growth in the business is strong and the changes going on in the organization are dramatic. The most exciting time in a company’s life cycle for a CFO who runs all the administrative areas also is when it is going through its early growth phase and is crossing the chasm from the early adopters to the main market. Pentaho is the fastest growing open source business intelligence company with a full product line. It is an exciting stage for a company and an exciting stage for a CFO.

Last but far from least, the people I met during the evaluation stage and have met since joining recently are some of the smartest, hardest working people I have had the honor of working with. Everyone at Pentaho is here because they genuinely care that it is and continues to be the best in class. I consider it a real honor to be part of this team.

Doug Johnson
CFO
Pentaho Corporation


Getting in shape at the Pentaho Sales Bootcamp

August 11, 2010

Looking around the room at our annual Pentaho Sales Bootcamp last week, it was impressive to see the number of new faces that have joined the team since last year’s event.  We must be doing something right, as over the past few months, Pentaho has been a magnet for top players from all corners of the BI space.  Last week was an excellent opportunity for our international Sales, Marketing, and Product teams to collaborate and work together to understand our customers’ current needs, how Pentaho’s solution can address them, and have a great time.

This year’s Bootcamp consisted of three packed days of case studies, interactive discussions, presentations, happy hours, and even a boat ride around the beautiful (albeit windy) San Francisco Bay. Click here for an inside look at the Pentaho Sales Boot Camp.

Bootcamp may be over, but our team is not done growing yet!  After officially outgrowing our current space, Pentaho San Francisco will be expanding into a brand new office this week, and we are actively hiring top-notch talent to join our Sales and Marketing teams in the Bay Area.

Aside from that, I am currently in Sweden preparing to open our new European headquarters in Stockholm, for which we are actively hiring as well.  If you are interested in joining the Pentaho team at any of our locations worldwide, I encourage you to take a look at our current Career Opportunities.

With the momentum of three record quarters in a row, the most innovative product on the market, and the tremendous talent and enthusiasm of this team, I have no doubt that the second half of 2010 will be a rock solid milestone in Pentaho company history.

Cheers,
Lars
SVP Worldwide Sales
Pentaho Corporation

Click here for more photos


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


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


Top 3 reasons to download PDI 4.0 and BI Suite 3.6

June 10, 2010

Today we announced General Availability of Pentaho Data Integration 4.0 and Pentaho BI Suite 3.6.  This marks a major step forward on our mission to empower users with the most comprehensive, easy-to-use, and integrated Business Intelligence suite on the market today.  All too often, new BI projects end up on IT’s cutting room floor due a variety of factors:

  • Licensing costs – it’s too expensive to add the additional users/CPUs for the project to reach its intended audience.  A single BI project can have licensing impacts on several software products including data integration (ETL), reporting, dashboards, analytics, database, and on and on…
  • Lengthy time to ROI – a classic pitfall of new BI projects is spending weeks or months ‘getting the data right’ before business users have an opportunity interact and provide feedback.  Inevitably, this leads to missed requirements, delayed rollouts, and blown budgets
  • Technical Resources – do you have the right technical resources available and are they knowledgeable in all of the tools and technology involved?  Am I beholden to availability of IT, or can I accomplish this myself?

Our Agile BI initiative is breaking down these barriers by delivering a BI Suite with:

  • All of the functionality you actually need at 20% the cost of a comparable solution from the big guys… bye bye bloat-ware
  • Integrated design environment combining all aspects of a BI solution from Data Integration (ETL) through data visualization; thereby encouraging collaborative, cross team interactions between solution architects and end users and faster iterations… compare that with a with a hybrid Informatica/Data Stage – Oracle/Business Objects/Cognos solution
  • A modern, standards based architecture that deploys in minutes and is easy to customize or extend to meet the changing needs of your business… guaranteed 97% less super glue and duct tape under the hood than comparable proprietary BI Suites

So you’re thinking… enough with the marketing bullets.  Why should I download or upgrade to these new releases? The top 3 reasons:

1. Design Perspectives – New perspectives in PDI’s designer (Spoon) providing one click visualization of data and simple, drag-and-drop metadata modeling for OLAP and reporting metadata

2. PDI Enterprise Edition Data Integration ServerAll the execution and clustering capabilities of our core offering plus integrated scheduling, advanced security, and enhanced content management including complete revision history on all of your jobs and transformations

3. User Console improvements – There are numerous improvements to our visualization plugins including:

  • Support for scheduling, emailing, member properties and dashboard filter integration in Analyzer
  • Configurable auto-refresh intervals on dashboards and dashboard widgets and integration of Dashboard filters with Pentaho metadata data sources

Get started today by downloading your copy from http://www.pentaho.com/download/

Jake Cornelius
Director of Product Management
Pentaho Corporation


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


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