Who’s next ?

Oracle bought Hyperion in March, SAP bought Business Objects in October, and this week IBM bought Cognos (who just bought Applix some weeks ago)! There will be many articles and blogs about those buying – monopoly games – but let’s move forward and try to estimate the consequence on product roadmap, support and integration. Who’s the next pure player BI company to be sold : Information Builders ? Microstrategy ? Informatica ? … what will be the consequences for end users ? Will it serve the emerging Open Source BI market ?

My thinking is that Hyperion, BO and Cognos have good products and analysts, and they already knew they will loose against Open Source BI. Then, it was just time for those companies to make money, before selling. This is even not a contest. This is why they did increase their prices over the last months, just to generate more revenue without even thinking to their users. Now, their products will became “services” in larger set of applications. Being a pure player is hard : you have to exist by yourself, without any collateral support from other packages. But being a pure player is a key for having recognition and success.

What is the situation in the Open Source market ? just have a look at Kettle , now part of Pentaho BI suits. Being part of this platform has help Kettle getting recognation from the market, while taking advantages of Pentaho’s important marketing investment. But compare to Talend , pure player of the Open Source ETL, Kettle is “lost” as an ETL services in the Pentaho platform. People always tell that Open Source product can’t be bought, and that if it was the case, a new product – still Open Source – will emerge. Well, I’m not really certain this is the situation : Redhat bought JBoss … do you see any “new” JBoss branch … ok, RedHat is an Open Source product … but JBoss is now only a RedHat service …

Let’s come back to the most important : users ! What is the situation for those companies (Cognos is claiming to have 25 000 customer worldwide) ? Who cares ? Crazy world of business software, managed by financial operations. Don’t forget that ETL and reporting are the most widely used part of a BI suits … and that PDF report generation is free (using Birt, Penatho Reporting or JasperReport).

One day will come where IT Manager will dedicate an important part of their budget to support, training and integration, and another important part of this budget to support their internal users … far away from paying expensive BI Licences. This day is today : the Open Source market is now ready to undertake large migration projects, platforms have strong performance, and there are more and more resources available in the market. Everyone should keep in mind that the customer has still the choice, and Open Source alternatives are available in all areas.

Have Fun !

Patrick

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4 Responses

  1. Kettle hasn’t lost a thing Patrick. Keeping Talend as a separate player is a well considered strategy from their part. However, it’s my personal believe that ETL tools don’t live on an island. They are there to facilitate BI for example. As such, it makes sense to keep an integration strategy in mind over the long haul. (I agree with the analysts for a change here ;-))

    It’s also completely beside the point to compare open and closed source software. The market dynamics and business models are too different for that.

    Patrick, please kindly consider that given the fact that you pulled the source code of FreeAnalysis from the market, it might not be the appropriate time for you to criticize the open source markets and movements. You of all people should have a good feel for the complexities involved here.

    All the best,

    Matt

  2. Hi Matt,

    We all agree that Kettle has gain more visibility being part of the Pentaho platform. And much more than visibility : recognation, large adoption and promoters. And we all agree that ETL/Reporting is a common request on the market, there’s no doubt about this.

    Open Source, like ETL, is not leaving on its own island : every day we have to compete against commercial products, free software, open source package … this is a mixte of culture and strategy that makes the world like this. Everyday, we have to compare each model, just to see what are the tendancy. And there is no doubt Open Source is growing, in a still growing BI Market

    And I’m not complaining about Open Source Strategy, just trying to write an external opinion on this buying subjects and the position of “pure player”. I know that the business is complex, I’m leaving in it, and I’m surprised also that you are confused about our departure of sourceforge, because you know the situation on this forge (you where on javaforge ?).

    Matt, having a dual licence mode is something requested by the market, just have a look at Talend’s strategy and even Jaspersoft or Pentaho’s licencing mode. This is something that give stability and visibility to a company.

    Having our own svn and our own Web support server is also much more manageable for us at that time. Pentaho – the company you belong to – has the same strategy before us.

    Regards,
    Patrick

  3. Hi Patrick,

    I guess I’m always a bit sad when a fine open source project like FreeAnalysis closes its source code. To me it’s simple: when you don’t release the source code, it’s not open source software anymore. I’m sure it will all turn out all right in the end, but since I can’t download or see the source code of FreeAnalysis at the moment, I’m anything but confused about that part. 🙂 Perhaps I just can’t find it. It’s true that I’m time constraint all the time.

    As far as licensing is concerned: Pentaho sells subscriptions, not licenses. Everything you want to accomplish with Pentaho software can be done using open source software. That is absolutely NOT the case for the other open source BI players you mentioned. If you want to compare us with another professional open source company, compare us to RedHat for example.

    I don’t know about the “dual licensing” market you mention. I do know that a lot of people stay with Pentaho Data Integration and the Pentaho platform because of the license. The LGPL and MPL licenses are much more relaxed again compared to the software from the other companies you mentioned. I’m also very sure that Pentaho is doing very well. How much the difference in software licensing is responsible for that success is impossible to say.

    All the best,

    Matt

  4. Hi Matt,

    Correct me if I’m wrong : I talked about “dual licencing”, but it could be called also “pro / Open Source”, “subscription / Open Source”, “commercial / Open source” … I mean, licencing or subscription has the same objective : those who paid for licence/support/subscription get more than those who take Open Source version. This is completly normal, because Open Source in not “Everything is Free” : Training, Support, additional components …

    Talking about Redhat : they have also an Open Source version (Fedora) and a supported version (RH). And what about JBoss with its JBossOn package : it is even not an Open Source product, available only for supported users.

    All those companies have to make their own experience of Open Source, and build their own business model. Most of those companies reached a kind of “dual packaging”, to secure some revenues. Some potentials customers still do not understand this fact and confuse this with a kind of commercial strategy. We can talk during hours on those strategies : nothing is 100% bad, nothing is 100% nice.

    Regards,
    Patrick

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