• May 5, 2006
  • By Colin Beasty, (former) Associate Editor, CRM Magazine

BI Keeps an Open Mind

The adoption and use of open source BI is higher than previously expected and companies currently using open source BI are realizing strong ROI, according to a survey by Ventana Research. "Open Source and Application BI" found that the number of large (more than 1,000 users) open source BI deployments will increase two- to threefold within the next 12 months. Of the 300 organizations surveyed 20 percent had already deployed open source BI, another 19 percent was in development with open source BI, and an additional 43 percent was considering it. The survey also detailed the growth that is expected in this new market. Eleven percent of organizations were already deploying open source BI to 1,000 users or more while another 38 percent were planning to support more than 1,000 users once fully deployed. "Open source BI has reached a point of maturity where the functionality combined with the ease of customization make it a cost effective solution relative to commercial BI software," says Dan Everett, research director of BI at Ventana Research and author of the study. The study clarifies open source BI's customization advantages with databases, ERP solutions, and CRM applications. Eighty-six percent of organizations reported value from prebuilt templates for ERP and CRM applications while another 90 percent of companies reported value from automatic BI metadata updates with ERP and CRM applications. "It shows the value companies can realize from BI solutions tailored to transactional applications and databases such as Oracle, PeopleSoft, and Siebel." Cost was found to be the primary factor. Forty-eight percent of respondents said they expected open source BI to be half the price of equivalent commercial BI software. In conjunction with that fact, nearly half of all respondents were from SMB companies, which "implies that open source BI adoption may be led by organizations that have fewer resources than larger companies," Everett says. Open source technology has driven changes in software markets like operating systems, databases, and applications, but open source BI is relatively new. According to Everett, open source BI is not yet a standard, in the sense of being the only BI platform for most organizations. Few of the survey respondents had standardized on using a complete open source BI deployment, comprising databases, middleware, and applications. Nearly all of the respondents who were considering using open source BI software already owned commercial BI software. Everett says for now, he sees open source BI being used primarily in conjunction with other commercial BI applications, filling in specific needs or functionality requirements. Moving forward, respondents cited improved security support, more data source adapters, and an improved metadata layer as leading features they want to see added from vendors. Related articles: BI Will Be Pervasive
The (Open) Source of the Problem
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