What is Pentaho UP to?

Larry Austin made good points in saying that he is excited about the developments over at Pentaho. Here is what he thinks of Pentaho:

  1. A well-known application that is traditionally big and expensive. This gives Pentaho a lot of aircover in setting pricing.

  2. A large, neglected SMB market opportunity. BI couple be useful to many SMB businesses out there, but they can't afford the current solutions. This gives Pentaho a way to enter the market below the entrenched big boys.

  3. A large enterprise market. Even though there's a broad SMB market, the Pentaho platform can scale up into the enterprise market, further increasing the market opportunity and putting continued pressuer on the incumbents.

  4. Incumbents can't move down market. Companies like Business Objects, Hyperion, and Cognos can't offer entry level solutions to compete with Pentaho Open Source without breaking their business model.

Pentaho's really is doing all the right things to win SMB Business Intelligence market share.

I've been keeping tabs on what the guys in Pentaho are up to. And I'm pretty impress with the decisions and the direction that they are setting for this solution. Here

It's NOT Goodluck for Pentaho Team... It will be GOOD WORK Pentaho Team! We expect great things from Pentaho.

Gilbert on Thursday, March 30, 2006 1 Comments

Who is Alphablox before IBM acquired them

I came to the BI market without much knowledge about Alphablox before IBM acquired them. So I did a little bit of digging using my best friendGoogle,

Founded in 1996, Alphablox is headquartered in Mountain View, California, and has offices throughout the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Alphablox is a recognized innovator and was selected by Computerworld Magazine as a "Top Emerging Company for 2002"; by Intelligent Enterprise Magazine as "A Company to Watch in 2002"; by Upside Magazine as "A Hot 100"; and by Technologic Partners as one of ten "Investors Choice for 2002" award winners.

Officers: CEO, Joseph Guglielmi (w/03); Technology, Bill Wagstaff (w/04); Sales/Marketing, Steve Guttman and Michael Nason, Original Alphablox Office: 516 Clyde Avenue Mountain View, CA 94043 (Source)

The strength of Alphablox lies in its architecture. It is the first 100% Web Based Custom Analytics tool. During its time, the BI Market leaders like Cognos and Microstrategy develop powerful client based BI Solutions. These are powerful and useful tools made available to different Fortune "rich" companies.

Other BI solution providers forgot that these 'rich' companies started doing OUTSOURCING. Their HR, Finance Dept, or Helpdesk Support might not be in a central data warehouse nor country/time zone. These 'rich' companies also started experimenting with co-locating part of their business in other countries. They also made experiments with the corporate structure and hierarchy, specially with empowering the decision makers. The right thing that Alphablox did that time, is that it did not compete with these great and successful companies, they develop a solution ahead of its time by being "100% web-based" (no need to install anything to access data), custom BI tool (made it robust and modular - use only the components that you need), flexible on how it will be deployed and extensible up to the level of interoperability with other industry tools.

With that strength in mind, they were acquired by IBM on July 2004 and was later repackaged to be part of the IBM DB2 Enterprise Edition.

Client Focus: Pfizer on 2001

From the maker's of Zyrtec®, Zoloft®, and Viagra® says they've tried multiple BI products that couldn't be customized, and they were forced to use proprietary infrastructure. The learning curve was high, yet the tools lacked important features and functions. Thye wanted to build applications customized to users, not force their users to customize themselves to some packaged tool.

"The technology worked right out of the box. Just drag and drop onto the templates, and you're up and running. And once the sales organization saw the prototypes, they got excited about what we were doing."

"The beauty of AlphaBlox is that you don't have to hire a bunch of expensive consultants for months just to implement it. Anyone with knowledge of HTML and JavaScript get can started building applications right away."

"We chose AlphaBlox because it gave us total control over the application look and feel, as well as the ability to easily integrate with other sources of information. All we have to do is set one attribute, and we can completely personalize the interface. "

"It's not about the database or the schema—it's about information delivery."

"If people can't access information and transform it into knowledge, then the technology is meaningless. AlphaBlox makes it easy to rapidly assemble powerful, easy-to-use analytical applications that address the full gamut of requirements."

Related Articles:
1. What is DB2 Alphablox
2. 10 technical things every DB2 Alphablox Developer should know
3. Blox Team Pics and Why we choose Alphablox

Gilbert on Wednesday, March 29, 2006 1 Comments

New Cognos 8.1.2 Features

1. BI search : They call this the Cognos Go! Search Service. Haven't really seen it in action but this feature is a long overdue feature for majority of BI Tools. We all know that the primary users of BI tools are managers and decisions makers, and they need these automated reports and dashboards to make intelligent decisions. We'll it SHOULD follow that BI tools should be as easy and simple to use as 'GOOGLE'.

With these feature, you can now quickly find information and data presented in reports, analyses, dashboards, metric information, and events across the organization. I'm hoping this will get implemented properly in all the other BI tools as well.

2. Extended Cognos Office Connection :
Cognos is just right in time to have made this feature available before Microsoft releases the next Microsoft Office 2007 with extended BI Functionality. We all know that Excel is still the most widely used 'client-side' BI application used in Business. And Microsoft intends to use that leverage to improve on its BI Market.

3. Access to mySAP™ and Siebel™ reports

4. Certified SAP NetWeaver® Support

5. Additional Platform and Data Support : Cognos also offers updated support for HP Integrity servers running HP-UX 11i, Microsoft SQL Server™ 2005, BEA WebLogic Server® 9, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4.0, Sybase® Adaptive Server® Enterprise (ASE) 15, Teradata® Warehouse 8.1, ORACLE® Database 10g v2, and Netezza Performance Server® system.

For more information, visit the companies website at Cognos.com

Gilbert on Tuesday, March 28, 2006 0 Comments

Open Source BI Review: Pentaho

Target Market: Middle-size to IT-Oriented Enterprise
Technology Used: JAVA (all the components are listed below)
Open Source License: LGPL (What is LGPL?)
Supporting Company: Pentaho Corp. (Orlando, Florida USA)

Pentaho is one of the strong Open Source BI market player. The pentaho project was developed and conceptualized (launched in 2005) by BI veterans from Cognos, Hyperion, IBM, Lawson, Oracle and SAS. They believe in the open source concept and designed a complete BI stack with reporting, OLAP analysis, data mining, dashboards and workflow capabilities. They also believe that it is their duty to keep Microsoft from NOT attaining their 100% goal of the BI Market (InformationWeek has the complete article).

Since Pentaho is a complete BI Suite, they have various components with different liceses. As a developer, Pentaho is a strong candidate in case you want to evaluate a solution for your company. The components of this BI suite is integrated properly and contains a strong understanding in the point of view of Business Intelligence. The company also has plans to have a similar business model as Redhat, so expect that support and training for the product would not be a nightmare.

Here are the components used in the Pentaho BI Suite (updated March 20, 2006):
1. Apache Commons Logging - Logging - Apache
2. Apache HttpClient - Server-to-server HTTP communications - Apache
3. OpenSymphony Quartz - Scheduler - Apache - compatible
4. Apache log4j - Logging - Apache
5. Chiba - Server-side xForm to HTML conversion - Artistic
6. Eclipse Platform - Desktop workbench - Eclipse
7. Eclipse Modeling Framework - Workbench Modeling Framework - Eclipse
8. Eclipse Graphical Editor - Workbench Graphical Editor - Eclipse
9. Enhydra JaWE - Graphical workflow editor - GPL
10. Enhydra Octopus - Data Extraction, Transformation and Loading (ETL) for enterprise application integration (EAI) - LGPL
11. Enhydra Shark - Workflow engine http://shark.objectweb.org/ - LGPL
12. Firebird - Relational database Used for sample deployments - Mozilla
13. JBoss AS - Application server Used for sample deployments - LGPL
14. JBoss Hibernate - Object persistence layer - LGPL
15. JBoss Portal - JSR168 compliant portal server Used for sample deployments - LGPL
16. JFree JFreeChart - Chart engine - LGPL
17. JOSSO - Single sign-on and LDAP integration - BSD
18. Metastuff dom4j - XML Parser - BSD
19. Mozilla Rhino - Javascript processor - Mozilla
20. Sun Java Mail - Email delivery - Sun
21. Sun JDBC - Database access - Sun
22. Sun JIMI - Image management - Sun

Last updated on: March 20, 2006

Gilbert on Monday, March 20, 2006 0 Comments

Open Source BI Review: BEE Project

Bee Project Logo
Target Market: Middle-size companies
Technology Used: ROLAP (relational on-line analytical processing), Code is written in Perl, DBD/DBI, SOAP::Lite, and MySQL
Open Source License: GPL (What is GPL?)
Supporting Company: Insight Strategy (Chzech)

BEE Project is an open source suite of Business Intelligence tools which combines ETL engine and a ROLAP server for mid-size businesses.

Here are the possible examples of outcome by using the BEE project. This Open Source BI Tool can change of a display style and form, drill directly to a specific graph and export the data in a other data formats.

You can also view a "Live Demo" at BEE Project's website.
You can also view our comprehensive list of Open Source Business Intelligence Tools, click here.

Last updated on: March 15, 2006

Gilbert on Wednesday, March 15, 2006 0 Comments

10 technical things every DB2 Alphablox Developer should know

1. Know where to put your tag libs in a JSP
2. Know what to put into Scriptlets versus Taglibs
3. Understand bookmarks
4. Understand bloxAPI.call()
5. Understand the bloxname tag attribute
6. Beware of Framesets, IFrames, Portlets, etc....
7. Use the Javadocs
8. Use the support site
9. Use an IDE for development
10. Understand the difference between the Server Side and BloxModel Programming Models

Read more at IBM website

Related Articles:
1. Who is Alphablox before IBM acquired them
2. What is DB2 Alphablox
3. Blox Team Pics and Why we choose Alphablox

Gilbert on Tuesday, March 14, 2006 1 Comments

Six Reasons Why a Company or Business should consider Blogging

I sent an email to one of my freelance clients regarding the advantages of having a blog site, and I thought it would be nice to share them with you.

Excerpt from my email to a freelance client:

I'm not here to convince or change your mind, but here are some reasons why your company should really consider blogging:

1. Blogs promote customer evangelism. Their personal nature helps humanize you and your organization. Microsoft even hired Scoble as a Technology Evangelist to blog.

2. They function as an instant-feedback mechanism. Most blogs allow readers to respond to your posts or link to them on their own blogs. These features provide almost real-time feedback on ideas and issues that strike a chord, or highlight new or existing problems. A blog can reveal a little problem before it grows into a bigger one.

3. They compel you to "Napsterize" more of your knowledge more often. A blog is about sharing what you know, think and believe; search engines index your ongoing knowledge sharing, making it easier for customers and prospects to find you. Attracting is always easier than hunting.

4. They facilitate the spread of buzz. Honest, informative or thought-provoking posts about issues important to customers and prospects tend to be spread more often.

5. They allow you to have more simultaneous conversations. It's more than you could ever do in person.

6. They help position you as a knowledgeable expert in your industry.

A company did a case study on how effective blog on bottom line sales. The result was 35% increase in sales in a month plus a larger market share and brand recognition. View Article

I'm open in assisting you in case you decide to put time and effort in establishing a voice for eNovAsia by using blogs.

Gilbert on Wednesday, March 08, 2006 0 Comments

Blox Team Pics and Why we choose Alphablox

Our Blox Team is currently developing a solution that will use the flexibility and the power of both Open Standard solutions and most specially IBM DB2 Alphablox. As of now, we have decided to limit the amount of information that will be discussed regarding this project but I can tell you several reasons why we choose IBM DB2 Alphablox over other BI Tools.

10 Simple reasons why we choose IBM DB2 Alphablox:
1) It's component-based, we call it Blox. (lower's TCO for enterprise owners)
2) It has ready made analytic components. (ideal for rapid development)
3) It's positioned under the CUSTOM-BI tools. (robust! very important)
4) It's easy to rapidly assemble analytic applications using Java™ Server Pages.
5) It's based on the Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) architecture.
6) It's deployed on a Web application server. (accessible to bottom line users)
7) It's based on an Open Architecture.
8) It's integrated with Excel, PDF and other format commonly used.
9) It's a marriage between relational data and cube data in one package.
10) It's an IBM product. (Support is strong)

Here are some of our pics as we discussed our on-going plans:

Here are a few screenshots of what we're discussing at the messy whiteboard:

Next, we'll discuss the other BI Tools available in the market and our five cents regarding them.

Gilbert on Tuesday, March 07, 2006 2 Comments