Dashboard Insight recently spoke with Jitterbit's Ilan Sehayek about enterprise integration products, the open source software model - and what he really thinks about “dog and pony shows.”
Dashboard Insight: Tell us about the history of Jitterbit.
Ilan Sehayek: Despite the fact enterprise integration products have been on the market for more than 20 years, the majority continue to be complex, cumbersome, expensive and risky. In 2006, the market was saturated with product offerings that attempted to address every technical aspect of integration. We decided to enter this market with a razor-focus on simplifying the integration process. We felt that other vendors and offerings simply threw complex technology at a problem that is technically challenging for business analysts to solve, forcing integration initiatives to require not only analysts but also highly skilled development personnel. With Jitterbit, our goal is to reduce the burden and dependency on developers and provide autonomy to technical business analysts to complete the work.
In addition, integration projects tend to span the entire application development cycle - from requirements gathering through implementation and testing. Knowing this, we architected our solution to enable organizations to easily leverage the assets and expertise that have been built using either Jitterbit or custom-made development tools that organizations have built in-house.
DI: What suggestions do you have for businesses that are comparing the commercial software model to the open source software model?
IS: The biggest advantage for businesses evaluating open source products over commercial ones is that there are no hidden surprises in open source. What you see is what you get. A company should first identify its needs, download the product and make sure the open source product addresses its specific requirements. The autonomy is what many companies enjoy. Commercial open source vendors like Jitterbit provide resources to assist in this process. With solely open source products, the customer is typically required to be more heavily involved in the process and required to make sure the product performs as it should.
The main disadvantage with commercial open source is that it comes with no frills. Most commercial open source vendors shy away from hiring armies of salespeople that put on the “dog and pony shows” associated with the majority of enterprise software sales presentations. Sure the customer benefits from watching a great presentation and product demo, but in the end many are left purchasing services they do not need. Customers also need to know that they are the ones that will end up paying for this “show and tell” performance, which often yields little to no value in actual implementation. In addition, without hands-on product testing during the evaluation cycle, a hefty price may be paid downstream if the commercial product does not perform as promised.
Finally, open source projects are created when technologies become a commodity. In all categories where open source has had time to mature, it has become the leading choice. Great examples include Linux, Apache, MySQL, PostgreSQL and JBoss. These companies all took time evolving their offerings into high-quality, and in most cases, preferred alternatives to commercial products. Adding to their success is the transparent process in which open source products are developed. In addition, wide community adoption has turned these offerings into great products that deliver faster ROI verses its commercial counterparts.
DI: You talk about your “No-Coding” approach on your website, tell us about this and what makes Jitterbit different from other open source data & application integration suite competitors on the market?
IS: Jitterbit provides a graphical interface to perform complex integration tasks, which requires less technical knowledge than needed when developing in Java or .NET. When logic is required in evaluating process conditions or for complex transformation routines, a Jitterbit user will create scripts, which enable an analyst that is comfortable writing Excel macros and SQL to complete sophisticated integration operations.
Other open source data and application integration suites do not focus on this type of experience as they assume that a Java developer will be involved. Other open source integration offerings on the market provide tools that generate Java code and require all customizations and extensions needed to complete the integration be performed in Java. They have taken a similar approach to the technical products provided by commercial offerings in not trying to abstract the technical complexities of integration, which forces the user to understand nuances in their code. Their focus is to compete with commercial offerings instead of focusing on simplifying the integration process. What separates Jitterbit from the competition is our focus on powerful integrations completed with ease that anyone - from a developer to a business analyst - can understand and benefit from.