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Posted by Boris Evelson on August 10, 2010
Open source software (OSS) and business intelligence (BI) are two related market segments where Forrester sees continually increasing interest and adoption levels. BI specifically continues to be one of the top priorities on everyone's mind. The main reason? Enterprises that do not squeeze the last ounce of information out of their data stores and applications, and do not focus on getting strategic, tactical, and operational insight into their customers, products, and operations, risk falling behind competition. And when it comes to open source, 2009 could best be described as "the year IT professionals realized that open source runs their business." The reason is simple: Over the past few years, we've seen that developers adopt open source products tactically without the explicit approval of their managers. This has shown up in numerous surveys where the actual adoption of open source ranks higher than what IT managers report. Well no longer: Forrester's Enterprise And SMB Software Survey, North America And Europe, Q4 2009 shows that management has caught on to the fact that developers increasingly use open source to run key parts of their IT infrastructure. And management has grown increasingly comfortable with it. In fact, throughout 2009, most client inquiries Forrester received regarding open source were focused on how to move from tactical adoption to strategic exploitation.
Yet, when you put the 2 and 2 together (OSS and BI), you mostly get a mixed market, where one unfortunately has to compare apples to oranges. Why? Before plunging into a tool evaluation and selection process, ask yourself the following questions, and make sure you are doing a like-to-like comparison:
Yet while comparing some of these OSS BI platforms does indeed seem like an apples-to-oranges (or as one of my independent analyst colleagues said "fruits to vegetables") comparison — somebody had to do it. After all, lots of our clients were and are asking for such a comparison. So Jeffrey Hammond and I rolled up our sleeves, put on the bulletproof vests, and by rolling up the scores to high-level aggregates, providing customizable weights to each evaluation criteria, and drawing a clear distinction between community and commercial editions, we have achieved as close to an apples-to-apples comparison as possible. Using this approach for Forrester's 157-criteria evaluation of open source BI vendors, we found that Actuate BIRT led the pack because of richness of reporting functionality. Jaspersoft Enterprise, SpagoBI, Pentaho Enterprise, and Pentaho Community are close behind and also offer much fuller and broader BI stack than Actuate BIRT, including extract, transform, and load (ETL) and advanced analytics functionality. The community versions of BIRT and Jaspersoft mostly offer individual BI components that can be used for embedding BI functionality into applications, but these frameworks are yet not enterprise-grade fully functional BI platforms or suites.
Lots more details, including the line-by-line items scores, can be found in the detailed research report.
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