Data, Data, Data

October 12, 2010

It’s everywhere and expanding exponentially every day. But it might as well be a pile of %#$& unless you can turn all of that data into information. And do so in a timely, efficient and cost-effective manner.  The old-school vendors don’t operate in a timely (everything is slow), efficient (everything is over-engineered, over-analyzed, over-staffed, etc) or cost-effective mode (the bloated supertanker needs feeding and the customer gets to pay for those inefficiencies), so that means new technologies and business models will drive innovation which ultimately serves the customers and communities.

Back to Data, Data, Data – Enter open source technologies like Hadoop and Pentaho BI/DI to drive next gen big data analytics to the market. Hadoop and Pentaho have both been around about 5 years, are both driven by very active communities, and have both been experiencing explosive growth over the last 18 months. Our community members are the ones who came up with the original integration points for the two techs, not because it was a fun, science project thing to do but because they had real business pains they were trying to solve. This all started in 2009 – we started development in 09, we launched our beta program in June 2010 (had to cap enrollment in the beta program at 60), launched a Pentaho for Hadoop roadshow (which was oversubscribed) and are now announcing the official release of Pentaho Data Integration and BI Suite for Hadoop.

I’m in NYC today at Hadoop World and we’re making four announcements:

  1. Pentaho for Hadoop – our Pentaho BI Suite and Pentaho Data Integration are now both integrated with Hadoop
  2. Partnership with Amazon Web Services – Pentaho for Hadoop now supports Amazon Elastic Map Reduce (EMR) and S3
  3. Partnership with Cloudera – Pentaho for Hadoop will support certified versions of Cloudera’s Distribution for Hadoop (CDH)
  4. Partnership with Impetus – a major Solutions Provider (over 1,000 employees) with a dedicated Large Data Analytics practice.

Consider this as phase I of building out the ecosystem.

We’re all about making Hadoop easy and accessible. Now you can take on those mountains of data and turn them into value. Download Pentaho for Hadoop.

Richard


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


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


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.


Big data should not mean big cost

May 19, 2010

Data is exploding at rates our industry has never seen before and the huge opportunity to leverage this data is stymied by the archaic licensing practices still in use by the old school software companies.  Currently, the big guys like Oracle, IBM, SAP, Teradata and other proprietary database and data warehouse vendors have a very simple solution to “big data” environments – just keep charging more money, a lot more money. The only “winners” in this scenario are the software sales reps. Our industry (Tech) is artificially slowed in order to support these old school business models – they can’t afford to innovate in licensing and they surely don’t want to kill the golden goose – The Perpetual License fee.

A major gaming company, for example, had been using Oracle for its database and BI tech. With traffic reaching 100 million to 1 billion impressions per day, the database giant’s only answer was to sell more expensive licenses. Even then, the best it could do was analyze four days worth of information at a time.

Organizations like Mozilla, Facebook, Amazon, Yahoo, RealNetworks and many others are now collecting immense amount of structured and unstructured data. The size of weblogs alone can be enormous.  Management wants to be able to triangulate what people are doing at their sites in order to do a better job of

a)     Turning prospects into customers
b)     Offering customers what they want in a more timely manner
c)     Spotting trends and reacting to them in real time.

Any company, small or large, that is trying to sift through terabytes of structured and complex data on an hourly, daily or weekly basis for any kind of analytics had better take a long hard look at what it is really paying for. Just like the worldwide recession of 08-09 brought tremendous attention to lower cost, better value prop alternatives like Pentaho, the “big data” movement is doing the same thing in the DB/DW space. And where do you find some of the best innovations in the tech space? The answer is open source.

Specifically, an open source tech called Apache Hadoop is addressing the “better value proposition for Big Data.” It also is the only tech capable of handling some of these big data applications. Sounds great, right? Well not exactly. The issue with Hadoop is it is a very technical product with a command line interface. Once that data gets into Hadoop, how do you get it out? How do you analyze that data? If only there was an ETL and BI product tightly integrated with Hadoop, and available with the right licensing terms…

Today I’m proud to announce that Pentaho has done just that. Early May 19th we announced our plans to deliver the industry’s first complete end-to-end data integration and business intelligence platform to support Apache Hadoop.  Over the next few months we’ll be rolling out versions of our Pentaho Data Integration product and our BI Suite products that will provide Hadoop installations with a rich, visual analytical solution. Early feedback from joint Hadoop-Pentaho sites have been extremely positive and the excitement level is high.

Hadoop came out of the Apache open source camp. It is the best technology around for storing monster data sets. Until recently, only a small number of organizations used it, primarily those with deep technical resources. However, as the tech matures the audience is widening and now with a rich ETL and analytical solution it is about to get even bigger.

Stay tuned to our website and to this blog as I’ll be sharing many success stories over the next 90 days. And most importantly, watch out for the ‘Golden Goose’ licensing schemes from the old school vendors.

Richard

Visit www.pentaho.com/hadoop to watch a demo of Pentaho Enterprise integration with Hadoop and reserve your place in the beta program.


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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