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Blog: Mark Madsen Subscribe to this blog's RSS feed!

Mark Madsen

Open source is becoming a required option for consideration in many enterprise software evaluations, and business intelligence (BI) isn't exempt. This blog is the interactive part of my Open Source expert channel for the Business Intelligence Network where you can suggest and discuss news and events. The focus is on open source as it relates to analytics, business intelligence, data integration and data warehousing. If you would like to suggest an article or link, send an e-mail to me at open_source_links@ThirdNature.net.

About the author >

Mark, President of Third Nature, is a former CTO and CIO with experience working in both IT and vendors, including a stint at a company used as a Harvard Business School case study. Over the past decade, Mark has received awards for his work in data warehousing, business intelligence and data integration from the American Productivity & Quality Center, the Smithsonian Institute and TDWI. He is co-author of Clickstream Data Warehousing and lectures and writes about data integration, business intelligence and emerging technology.


I did a webcast on open source for TDWI and Pentaho last week (reg required). The topic was open source BI adoption, which I believe has gathered speed this year. If you go through the registration link you can download a PDF of the slides from the webcast page.

If you're already familiar with open source BI, there were probably not a lot of surprises in my part of the presentation. The general outline was a little about open source and the market to answer the "why now?" question, followed by some information about categories of organizations adopting it and why they are adopting, and a few notes about challenges people run into when adopting. It was only 35 minutes so there's not as much depth as I would have liked.

I think one fundamental point should be made about open source: it's just software. When people state that they are resistant to open source, what they really mean is that they are resistant to the unfamiliar. A product should be evaluated on the combination of its ability to meet requirements and it's cost relative to other options. It's that simple.

Overcoming someone's resistance to open source in your organization means that you probably need to educate them, given that they use open source every day without thinking about it. It's in everything from cars to cell phones, as well as almost all the commercial BI tools shipping today. More likely, they are resistant because they (a) are threatened in some way by the change you propose, (b) face organizational obstacles like educating the legal department about licenses or (c) face political consequences you aren't aware of. It's often their personal situation that is the biggest factor, given that most objections are easily refuted as myths.


Posted October 23, 2008 12:00 PM
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