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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.

September 2009 Archives

I hear fairly often that consulting firms and systems integrators are more likely to use open source tools that IT because it allows them to be more competitive. They gain an edge by saving customers money on software licenses, or by having more customizable tools for projects, thus pricing themselves under competitors or providing a better fit with client needs. The other hope is that by freeing project budget from the software licenses, this could translate into more money spent on work with the consultants.

SI_use_OSS.gifWhile these points are all valid, the survey data on adoption seems to disprove the belief. An interesting pattern in the data is that consultants are generally less likely than IT professionals to use open source tools in this space (10% for consultants versus 36% for IT). The usage by respondent role is shown in the chart.

It is notable that 49% of the consultants and systems integrators are evaluating open source software today, signaling a possible shift. What this also says is that, far from leading the technology market, SIs and consultants seem to trail it, following the money rather than leading their customers in the market.

Even with the sudden rise in evaluation, consultants and SIs significantly trail IT departments. If you are in an IT organization that relies heavily on consultants for project work then using open source tools will require that you find qualified consultants ahead of time. Given these statistics, they are likely to be rarer than you expect.


We'd love to have your input on open source BI/DW software you're using and the challenges you faced. If you have 10 minutes, take our online survey. It will be open through September 22.

Posted September 16, 2009 4:30 AM
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