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It’s all about open source BI

Monday, January 17, 2011

Open source BI is becoming a mainstream option for organizations looking at implementing a BI solution. Although solution choice for full BI suites is still limited, the ability to apply diverse features and customize solutions by either manipulating source code or taking advantage of commercial offerings makes it a viable BI option in comparison with other market offerings. Consequently, more organizations are considering open source BI as part of their software evaluations.

Recent announcements such as Jaspersoft expanding their solution offerings and the way they provide BI shows that open source is no longer about developers customizing free source code.  Although many developers and organizations are still keen on open source because of the lack of software costs and focus on continual updates and improvements, the reality is that open source vendors now provide much more than free source code. 

Open source now includes broader feature sets, integration with traditional BI solutions, and a wide variety of subscription fees and solution choices. This opens up its value to many types of organizations, not just those with IT developers onsite to develop and to maintain solutions. In actuality, open source BI is becoming a great solution choice for mid-sized companies looking at more dynamic applications of BI.  Although features and functions might be comparable to other traditional BI offerings, pricing structures and a focus on dynamic development creates an environment that mimics the way in which SMBs look at software selection and implementation.  

The general evolution of open source

The open source market has evolved from providing limited value due to intense development requirements to broad ranging commercial BI offerings. These offerings tend to take the other end of the spectrum into account.  For instance, enabling multiple types of BI users to take advantage of open source – developers on the one hand, and business users on the other.

What this means, is that SMBs can take advantage of commercial open source without the developer requirements while still getting the benefits of continued development. Consequently, the expansion of open source BI solutions contributes to general diversity within the BI market because of the increase in competitive offerings. Obviously, the benefits of commercial open source expand beyond SMBs, but with limited IT resources, considering open source is a valuable first step to BI implementations.

About the Author

Lyndsay Wise is an industry analyst for business intelligence. For over seven years, she has assisted clients in business systems analysis, software selection and implementation of enterprise applications. Lyndsay is the channel expert for BI for the Mid-Market at B-eye-Network and conducts research of leading technologies, products and vendors in business intelligence, marketing performance management, master data management, and unstructured data. She can be reached at lwise@wiseanalytics.com. And please visit Lyndsay's blog at myblog.wiseanalytics.com.


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