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Posted by Boris Evelson on April 17, 2009
In my recent BI Belt Tightening For Tough Economic Times document I explored a few low-cost alternatives to traditional, mainstream, and typically relatively expensive Business Intelligence (BI) tools. While some of these alternatives indeed were a fraction of a cost of a characteristic large enterprise BI software license, there were even fewer truly zero cost options. But there were some. For example, you can:
Now MicroStrategy is taking the concept of free BI one step further. Today MicroStrategy announced that it is making its Release 9software available for up to 100 users/consumers of info (1 CPU, 2 developers, 2 power users, online support only) at no cost! Now that’s a whole different story. Now we are talking about not just individual components, but a complete BI solution. We are also not talking about a small use case for just testing groups or QA or prototyping. With 100 users you can roll a BI application out for free to a whole department in a large enterprise or to a small business. Is this the beginning of a trend? Between OS BI and MicroStrategy new direction, I can’t help but to ponder: is BI (and other enterprise applications) going to go the way of printers or cell phones that are being given away almost at cost just to be able to hook and reel in the customers for supplies and service?
And is it really free? Unfortunately not - it won’t be that easy for a while. As you saw recently in my 80/20 rule blog, typical BI costs involve so much services and so many indirect costs, that I do not see a truly free BI lunch in the near future.
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