Pentaho Provides CFOs with the Ultimate Guide for Buying BI

Small and medium businesses are fast growing adopters of BI solutions. THE thing that was previously exclusive to large enterprises – i.e. “BI for the masses” – is now making it to the main streets of small and medium businesses and growing more and more popular by the minute.

The good news is that there is a wide range of Business Intelligence solutions available in the market. The bad news is that not all BI solutions are a perfect fit for SMBs.

Due to high growth, tight budgets, and lean organizational structures, SMBs require different kind of Business Intelligence.

Certainly the initial software acquisition costs is part of the allocated budget for SMBs, and the less expensive the solution looks on paper, the more attractive it appears. But there is more to it. For example, the timeline that it takes to reach an ROI breakeven point, as well as technical resources required for implementing changes and integrating with other software / solutions are all significant parts of the total cost. User growth is another area that can become very costly depending on the type of BI solution.

Because the BI market has matured and been shaped mostly according to the needs of large enterprises, SMB need to look deeper and identify important BI considerations that only apply to them, and focus on evaluating them before making a purchasing decision.

Regardless of what you ultimately select as your BI solution of choice, we are offering this whitepaper to help smaller and more nimble organizations

  • Know what to expect from a BI solution
  • Highlight things that most BI vendors don’t want you to know
  • Give you an evaluation checklist that can help you ask the right questions before you buy.

Download “CFO’s Ultimate Guide to Buying Business Intelligence” at http://www.pentaho.com/cfo-ultimate-guide-to-buying-bi/

Register for the webinar on September 22 to hear directly from Pentaho’s CFO and COO, Doug Johnson, about important considerations that CFO’s of SMB need to think through before they buy. http://www.pentaho.com/events/20110922-CFO-buying-guide-webinar/

Farnaz Erfan

Pentaho Product Marketing

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Does Current Financial Crisis Impact BI Investments?

Reuters reports that “Fear returned to Wall Street on Wednesday, sending the S&P 500 to another 4 percent decline, triggered by worries that Europe’s debt crisis could engulf French banks and spill onto the U.S. financial sector.”

Uncertainty is a common theme in economies worldwide at this time. Companies with Business Intelligence have a competitive advantage in ‘uncertain times.’ Business Intelligence and Predictive Analysis can forecast the future of the market, competition, and help with planning budgets and investments.

Although businesses intelligence provides a great way for organizations to view information as a strategic asset, available options in the market are either priced very high or require long implementation cycles. A struggling economy puts even more pressure on customers’ buying agendas. Stories of our customers validate this fact and shed new light into how businesses are coping with tough economic times:

  • After excessive maintenance and upgrade costs for an existing Oracle BI, Otto International looked to Pentaho for a BI solution that not only dramatically reduces ongoing costs, but is also a modern and scalable solution for their complex and time-consuming BI tasks.

“Working with BrainChild and Pentaho, we’ve been able to improve our BI capabilities and dramatically reduce our ongoing BI costs.” – Otto International, An International Trading Organization

  • London Oncology Clinic selected Pentaho over SAP Business Objects because SAP’s price per additional user created a large uplift, inhibiting their staff, senior management, and board to benefit from reports on treatment types and diagnoses.

“We entered negotiations with Business Objects, but the price-level limited our options.” – London Oncology Clinic, Europe’s Top Cancer Treatment Facility

  • After going through a cumbersome and manual process for creating and distributing reports manually, BNSF Logistics was able to build its data analysis and reporting in just 6 weeks after purchasing Pentaho.

“Not only did we deliver a powerful business intelligence tool set for our organization in short order, but were able to do so at a fraction of the cost of proprietary alternatives.” – BNSF Logistics, Leading Supply Chain Company 

As an alternative to reading the depressing headlines about the economy, I suggest a white paper that reveals low cost, high value alternatives to BI. Leading Industry Analyst, Mark Madsen compares open source BI pricing to other BI tools that carry a hefty price tag and long implementation cycles. Hopefully the results in this report will give you a glimmer of hope in the days of rising prices and falling economy.

–          Farnaz Erfan, Product Marketing, Pentaho

3 questions that every CFO wants to know about Pentaho (and how to answer them)

1. Will it do what I need?

2. Will it get done on time?

3. Will it fit my budget?

These are pretty much the 3 questions that any IT Manager will ask him/herself when it comes to evaluating and investing in any type of software. Open Source BI is no different. Call it an over-simplified RFI (Request for Information) or “make my CFO approve my gut feeling” checklist, these questions are essentially what you need to know to go forward with a purchasing decision.

The snippets below show how 4 Pentaho customers have answered these questions.

ZipRealty, a well known real estate firm, wanted to increase the quality and quantity of their reports to their users. Their previous BI solution was cost-prohibitive when it came to rolling out these reports to “all” their agents and district managers. ZipRealty’s Director of Business Intelligence, Salvatore Scalisi quotes: “It wasn’t economical to add the number of users we wanted. The licensing fees became substantial.”

With Pentaho, ZipRealty was able to help its agents and managers track inventory and conversion rates. They also enhanced their client services and satisfaction by rolling out analysis to their client base, allowing them see real estate listings along with embedded analysis and map-based mash ups directly from the ZipRealty’s website.

Estalea L.P., a technology incubator with strong Java programming expertise wanted to find a similar technology-base solution to prepare “data services” for its clients’ independent BI applications. In looking for a solution that was Java base, and did not require very deep technical skills, they stated, “Pentaho was the only viable open source product, particularly in the ETL area.” Given that other Java ETL solutions are on a per user licensing model, Pentaho’s unlimited user license was a better option to them.

The simplicity and ease of use of Pentaho Data Integration, further enabled Estalea to save on costs by not hiring more expensive programmer staff. Jon Cotter, Director of Product Design and Technology at Estalea explains, “This way I can take on projects with people with less experience and move my senior people to other projects.”

For Loma Linda University Health Care, the value was mainly around user adoption. Loma Linda’s physicians, a non-technical group in the field of Business Intelligence and ETL, are now very interested to use Pentaho for their analysis. Historically, physicians are primarily Excel users. Their positive experience on the ease of use of Pentaho BI Suite Enterprise Edition is absolutely clear in the quote by Darrin Blocker, Decision Support Analyst at Loma Linda, “Just the idea of being able to select attributes and pivot that data and get a response in seconds, versus having to send in a report request and waiting for a week was a big selling point”.

Power Costs, Inc.’s goal was to offer an analytical application to its utility customers that can help them with energy bidding process. Monthly gigabytes of data and a seven-year history of data from its customers, combined with Power Costs’ own market data was processed to build these sophisticated analysis. Pentaho Analysis fit the bill.

For the volumes of data that Power Costs needed to analyze, Pentaho’s well-integrated Data Integration and BI stack was ideal. According to David Nilsson, Power Costs Vice President of Product Strategy, Pentaho’s ETL tool was “ One of the better ones that we had seen….Most vendors’ products don’t integrate as well.” The pricing model and easy integration helped Power Costs achieve ROI in less than four months.

4 customers, 4 different business use cases. They all needed Pentaho to not only deliver the functionality they needed, but also to provide them with tools that can easily be implemented and deliver results fast. Needless to say these customers had budget constraint that could not bless them to a ½ million dollar solution! To summarize their results in a few bullets, what they got out of Pentaho was:

  • Ease of use in implementation for the ETL and BI developer
  • Full integration of ETL and BI to speed project cycles
  • Letting business users make changes and see results fast, without having to wait for IT
  • Scalability of the solution for large volumes of data
  • Low cost in rolling out BI to the masses

For more information on these customers, download the white paper “Realizing the Pentaho Agile BI Opportunity: BI for the Masses and Customer Success” by Joshua Greenbaum, Principal at Enterprise Applications Consulting.

Farnaz Erfan
Product Marketing Manager
Pentaho Corporation

To read more examples of customers like Loma Linda University and Estalea experiencing success with Pentaho visit the Pentaho Customer Success webpage.

This blog was originally posted on Business Intelligence from the Swamp