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Claudia Imhoff

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This is another means for me to communicate, educate and participate within the Business Intelligence industry. It is a perfect forum for airing opinions, thoughts, vendor and client updates, problems and questions. To maximize the blog's value, it must be a participative venue. This means I will look forward to hearing from you often, since your input is vital to the blog's success. All I ask is that you treat me, the blog, and everyone who uses it with respect.

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About the author >

A thought leader, visionary, and practitioner, Claudia Imhoff, Ph.D., is an internationally recognized expert on analytics, business intelligence, and the architectures to support these initiatives. Dr. Imhoff has co-authored five books on these subjects and writes articles (totaling more than 150) for technical and business magazines.

She is also the Founder of the Boulder BI Brain Trust, a consortium of independent analysts and consultants (www.BBBT.us). You can follow them on Twitter at #BBBT

Editor's Note:
More articles and resources are available in Claudia's BeyeNETWORK Expert Channel. Be sure to visit today!

An excerpt from the Open Source Initiative explains why open source is important to the technologists. They state "The basic idea behind open source is very simple: When programmers can read, redistribute, and modify the source code for a piece of software, the software evolves. People improve it, people adapt it, people fix bugs. And this can happen at a speed that, if one is used to the slow pace of conventional software development, seems astonishing."

So what does this mean to you?

Yesterday I spoke with CEO Sam Mohamad and CTO Luke Lonergan from Greenplum (formerly Metapa), a company that is a big proponent of open source technology for BI, about open source and the role it will play. Here are some excerpts from that conversation:

CMI: Why is open source important in today's BI market?

Greenplum: The current applications development community favors open source because it enables them to try a greater breadth of options more quickly, which injects more innovation into the process. Given the increasing stability and features of the open source offerings in many applications, business managers are becoming accustomed to the innovation and cost-effectiveness of the model.

CMI: Why does it have more appeal for larger corporations than smaller ones?

GP: Large corporations traditionally have had more difficulty in innovating than small ones. Open source is changing the model of innovation by putting more power into the hands of the developers and departmental leaders building the newest revenue-producing products. The risk of adoption is being spread over a greater number of applications, and the best are bubbling up with the best-of-breed open source foundations. Companies like RedHat have prospered from this trend.

CMI: What are the disadvantages of open source technologies to corporations?

GP: One of the big drawbacks to adoption of open source tools is that there isn't a clear picture of how the tool will evolve over time. As a result, there is less predictability of feature and function in the open source tool sets.

What mitigates this problem is the focusing influence of companies that commercialize open source tools by concentrating the community on the most relevant feature sets for chosen audiences. Combining this focus with the appropriate support infrastructure makes the packaging more comfortable and predictable the enterprise.


Posted April 22, 2005 3:16 PM
Permalink | 2 Comments |

2 Comments

An interesting open source olap product you may wish to consider is called palo, and a preview can be downloaded from www.palo.net

The server is MOLAP based and includes an excel add-in.

It will have APIs available in PHP, C, .NET and support both Windows and Linux.

Since it's MOLAP and values are written directly back to RAM ideal applications include budgeting and forecasting, planning and reporting.
And with being 64bit it should be possible to hold large amounts of data in memory, for rapid response times


Support should also be available for a small fee.

I'm sure this is great news for many users and Business Intelligence Practitioners.

I agree that one of the drawbacks of open-source BI is a degree of unpredictability. Especially during the current time of recession, that can lead to unforeseen consequences. I think that a viable BI alternative, particularly during this recession, is free reporting and analysis software (e.g. www.freereporting.com).

This may not be as feature-rich as an open-source solution once it's fully implemented, but for small and midsize companies it is still a valuable tool to understand their data in a time of recession.

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