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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Open Source Business Intelligence: Pentaho

Pentaho Demo? Looks sweet. 
Business Intelligence has been around for a few years, but the underlying foundation of BI has been around forever. Since data has existed, businesses have wanted to summarize that data and extract valuable information from it like blood from a stone. When modern accounting was codified by Luca Pacioli in the 15th century, he demonstrated not only the double-entry book-keeping system but also ways to summarize that data. You could even go back to Mesopotamia to see early reports.

Wait. BI is just reporting?

Why, yes. That's true. In fact. However, BI tends toward the more modern, the more technical, the more visual, the more flashy. Also, BI might lean a little bit more towards the ... intelligent side of things. KPIs and such.

What kind of offerings does Microsoft have out there?

Excel and SharePoint has some really awesome BI tools thanks to Microsoft's recent initiatives. They want to compete with SAP, Tableau Software, and so forth. But guess what? Those tools are massively expensive and SharePoint is ridiculously hard to install and configure. (There's an MCSE for SharePoint if that gives you any clue).

So what's the cure to all software expensive? Open source, of course.

The one that looks most intriguing right now? I just found Pentaho Community. It looks pretty slick. I'm about to try the Pentaho Hosted Demo. Wish me luck! I'll report back -- if I make it back!

UPDATE: Here's a direct link to the Pentaho demo. Username and password are under the link that says "Login as an Evaluator."

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