It’s been a long, slow process, but I am pleased to say we have begun adding open source BI to our BI Scorecard product evaluations!
I’ve been collaborating with open source and BI experts Jos van Dongen and Mark Madsen in this process. Jos is the founder of Tholis Consulting in the Netherlands and co-author of the recently published book Pentaho Solutions. Mark is the founder of Third Nature and a fellow instructor at TDWI.
One of the challenging aspects in evaluating open source is in assessing what is in the free, community editions versus in the premium, supported editions. So while many associate open source with “free”, how free it is really depends upon which project you are talking about. Pentaho seems to make more for free than JasperSoft and Actuate, for example. Beyond the free community editions, even the premium editions are priced significantly lower than traditional BI vendors. In 100-user deployments, the license cost is about half and in enterprise deployments, it could be 1/10. BI Scorecard customers can see more details on BI licensing in our Q2 customer webinar.
However, like many of the BI platform vendors, the robustness of the particular BI modules (business query, OLAP, dashboards, reporting) and degree of integration varies significantly. In this regard, while I can say that certain modules do compete well against commercial BI vendors, other modules are less mature. This Pentaho evaluation highlights the suite’s strengths and weaknesses. A more detailed comparison is available to subscribers in the detailed BI Platform Scorecard.
Open source BI products should be evaluated alongside commercial BI products, but not only because they are free. Customers must first consider how well any one product meets business and technical requirements, as well as deployment and ownership costs.
Cindi Howson, BI Scorecard