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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.

A useful attribute of all open source tools is the ability to download and start evaluating the software immediately to see if it fits the requirements. There is no vendor involvement slowing the process of evaluation.

Bloor research published a report comparing costs of various data integration products but one of the more interesting items isn't about cost - it's the average time required for a company to evaluate various data integration products. Open source is the clear winner here.

Figure: Person-weeks required for evaluation. Source: Bloor Research

When working with proprietary software vendors, trials and proofs of concept require management involvement and multiple levels of approval. The legal department is often involved since there's usually a trial license agreement. The process is not under the developer's control, the schedule is governed by vendor terms and the process requires extra work.

Beyond the ease of evaluation, it's easier to get started with a project. With open source, time spent evaluating tools that might never be used can instead be spent on a proof of concept that is reusable in production.

If the proof of concept fails, the same time has been spent as it would with any other software. If the proof of concept succeeds, it can be moved directly into production without the required up-front commitments that traditional vendors need.

Speed to deliver is one of the open source advantages I described in more detail in the open source data integration paper I wrote for Talend. Also, if you'd like to read the Bloor report you can download a full copy from the Pervasive web site

Posted March 3, 2009 11:55 AM
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