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Midmarket Business Intelligence Buying Guide: Page 2

By Drew Robb     Feedback
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Open Source Business Intelligence

Jaspersoft BI

It's big news that Gartner included open source vendors in its Magic Quadrant. Actuate and Jaspersoft made it onto the list, with Pentaho getting an honorable mention. Jaspersoft is included in the MQ for the first time this year. The rise of open source and low-cost BI alternatives is putting downward pressure on price, making it difficult for the big vendors to continue to charge a premium.

Jaspersoft provides a comprehensive BI platform. The Jaspersoft Enterprise Edition has a reporting server, ad hoc query, in-memory analysis, dashboarding, a reports library, OLAP and ETL. The company partners with the likes of VMware, HP and Red Hat, and some of its partners embed it into their other applications as a value-add. The company has more than 13,500 commercial deployments.

"Cost is by far the most compelling part of the Jaspersoft value proposition and the major ingredient driving its success," said Gartner's Sallam. "Early success in cloud deployments is another strength."

Pentaho BI

Another open source player knocking on the MQ door is Pentaho. All it needs to do is continue to expand its sales numbers and it will be included in the next one.

"Even though Pentaho failed to meet all the criteria, it is still a company worthy of note," said Sallam. "Low license cost is a key element of Pentaho's value proposition."

The company provides an open source BI platform made up of Extract, Transform, Load (ETL), OLAP, reporting and dashboarding, ad hoc analysis, and data mining components all managed from a central BI server deployed either on premises or in the cloud. Pentaho BI is available on-premises as an annual subscription and on-demand as a monthly subscription.

Pentaho has also been one of the first BI vendors to deliver capabilities for integrating its tools with open source Hadoop to support Big Data. Managed by the Apache Software Foundation, Hadoop's list of contributors includes Facebook, Google, Yahoo and Amazon.

"Open Source BI is changing everything," said Joe Nicholson, vice president of product marketing at Pentaho. "Much like open source changed the database and application server markets, open source BI is rapidly becoming the solution of choice for customers large and small." 


Actuate does well with externally facing BI deployments, according to Gartner. It also is well suited for complex reporting and development requirements, as well as when integration with enterprise applications is a major requirement. ActuateOne is a unified suite for developing and deploying BI applications that include reports, dashboards, in-memory analytics, and mobile and cloud-based deployments. It leverages open source Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools (BIRT).

"Actuate continues to transition its product and marketing emphasis to its open-source commercial products based on BIRT," said Sallam.

Customer satisfaction isn't especially high, according to Gartner surveys. However, this applies mainly to its pre-BIRT applications.  

Actuate has recently added BIRT Data Objects, which can be used for disk- or memory-based OLAP-style analysis and end-user-built dashboards. Like many of the others, it has also been expanding its mobile options for iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry and Android.

Panorama Software

According to Gartner, Panorama's NovaView BI Suite is used primarily as a front end for OLAP databases — chiefly Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services. It is ranked highly in OLAP and in dashboarding.

"The top three reasons customers choose Panorama software are functionality, integration to chosen infrastructure, and implementation costs and efforts," said Sallam. "The vendor also offers good deployment flexibility with on-premises, pure SaaS and hybrid on-/off-premises offerings."

However, being so closely tied to Microsoft could be a dangerous strategy, as it's quite possible Microsoft will develop its own software to cover the same functions. But as a company that made it into the top reaches of the Gartner MQ, it bears consideration in any midmarket evaluation.


This article was originally published on August 9, 2011
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