Closing Roadmaps

Dear Readers,

Well, I’m trying to close roadmaps for our 3 platforms, in cooperation with Alain, our CTO. What a challenge to try to design products and their features taking in consideration that platforms can be used separatly or bundled. We have also to design each time Open Source and commercial features, and make this choice consistent across platforms and easy to understand (for user) / easy to develop (for developer). Last subject to think about : deployment with bundled products, such as Liferay (finally, we decided to put the integration with Liferay in the commercial offer for all platforms).

After some interesting discussions internally and with other editors, it appears that target is to keep 100% of product code ‘Open Source’, and to provide additional administrative components to facilitate scalable deployment and platform administration in large enterprise. This is an interesting position, because it reduces the test period (we have only one product to validate) and developers won’t have to manage different branchs of code. And we have still numerous features to put in administrative components.

Once big pictures will be available (which is not yet the case), and everyone agree with the content of Roadmaps (other funny subject), we will have to put resources and delay in front of features and development subjects.

… now you know why I’m late on roadmap delivery …

Have Fun !

Patrick

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Next Level : FreeDashboard Embeded into LifeRay

Dear Readers,

We did it ! We have embeded a FreeDashboard document (both static and dynamic) into Liferay ! And its running well.

We are now in position to offer a Dashboard service that put together Pentaho xaction (basically reports and charts), FreeMetrics Alerts, FreeMetrics KPIs, FreeAnalysis Olap reports and any kind of label / picture / text into a consistent FreeDashboard document, with dynamic filter on top of it. This document can then be managed using Liferay document management services (PDF management, workflow of publication …)

All in one, you can now take benefit of the top features of each platform and provide any kind of layout to publish your results, then design high quality content to be published against your Liferay portail. Just think of this : for those of you who know Liferay ease of use and powerfull features, having a BI system embeded into Liferay, especially a Dashboard Management System, is the best things that could have happen to both world : BI and portails.

FreeDashboard document embeded into Liferay

Stay connected, this is just the beginning …

Have Fun !

Patrick

Going beyond Analysts position

Dear Readers,

It is said that software analysts are like market study : this is a mandatory step, but you can’t expect to do something with their result. Well, other the past few weeks, I tried to get in contact with “established” and “recognized” market study companies to have our platforms referenced in their “list of products’.

That said, let me tell you some return we get from discussion with those people (I will keep the name of those companies for myself, but I’m certain you know most of them) :

“It will cost you 26 K USD to be listed in our product review. This amount represent the time we have to invest to study your product” (note from your writer : we have 3 products … we’d rather invest this amount in development and promotion !)

“We are willing to collaborate with you, but we have to inform you that we have marketing cost to share with you to promote your product (note from your writer : the more we are participating to the analyst’s marketing budget, the better we should be listed in their analysis)

“In order to study your product, we ask you to train our consultant for free” (note from your writer : we are selling training session …)

“we are happy with the information you gave us and we thank you a lot for this. Now, if you want to have access to the result of the study, and see how your product is ranke, we have to inform you that the analysis will cost you 12 K USD” (note from your writer : we answer the analyst’s survey, and now we have to pay to see our answers)

… and much more. Unbelievable !

Let me summarize the situation : those analysts are asking money or free services in order to study and reference our products. In other words, they are looking for blind people to pay to get a nice comment in their analysis ? And at the end, they are selling their analysis to decision makers. We never talked about the product’s feature and I’m certain most of those companies have never made any effort to even download our products. So, how to considere the value of those analysis if referenced companies have to pay to be listed in it ? Can we always talk of ‘independant analysis’ ?

Did those “analysts” forecast the recent buying of Cognos and Business Objects ? No !

How to be seen ‘independant’ and ‘reliable’ in those conditions ? : there are plenty of market study companies, we have to believe the market itself will select the best one.

On the other side, how to be listed in those analysis if we refuse to pay to get listed ? Answer can only comes from the communit : the more people will use our platform, the more some analysts will have some pressure to look at the market reality. In addition, with the recent merger, some products and/or companies won’t renew their subscribtion to the ‘independant analysis’, which will force those people to review their business model

During that time, we are still looking to see our platform listed in one study … knowing that most of IT decision are using those studies to secure their own choice … funny world !

Have Fun,

Patrick

Some News of FreeMetrics

Dear Readers,

It’s been a while since I didn’t gave you some news of the FreeMetrics platform ! Well, we didn’t advertise this platform a lot, as Balanced & Business ScoreCarding is not a common request when addressing BI Subjects, but it remains a “must to have”, and sometimes a mandatory piece of software when addressing migration projects, especially projects that manage KPI or any Alert system. But this is true : we have focused our resources on FreeAnalysis and FreeDashboard, with significant success over the last past weeks.

FreeMetrics continue to gain recognition from the community and customers, and we have added many new features in the platform, including a new “loader” package, dimensional-aware KPI, many new properties for each objects to allow statistical classifications, and better integration with our FreeMetadataServices platform (which manage dimension, measures, data suppliers and data consumer, dataprovider and metadata definition outside of specific platform).

In parallel, we have also started to rewrite the Web user interface using GWT Toolkit, with also some interesting success in terms of development cycle, stability, performance and Look & Feel forthe interface (see bellow).

FreeMetrics Web GWT interface

We are now targetting FreeMetrics 1.1 platform to be available by the end of january. This is also a challenge for us, and this 1.1 release will be an important step before the integration of the platform on top of our new repository component (I’ll write later on this subject)

Have Fun !

Patrick

FreeAnalysis : Going ‘GA’

Dear Readers,

We finally released FreeAnalysis 1.0 GA, providing a reliable Designer, user friendly java and Web client, and tight integration with the Pentaho platform. All is not perfect, and we have to improve documentation process, to move away from Dojo (we have started to rewrite the Web 2.0 interface using GWT), and to clean some internal process.

New 1.1 branch of development has already started, including many key features, such as palo connectivity for client, more function in the java client, such as spreadsheet functions, integration with a scheduler to process molap cube refresh, repository compliance (JSR170), tight integration with FreeDashboard, …

Using FreeAnalysis platform, you can think to migrate from both molap or rolap products into an Open Source Platform based on the best of bread technology (Pentaho, Liferay, Mondrian). Just think about the current cost of your olap installation and the money you can save moving to FreeAnalysis … now for the same functional features !

Have Fun,

Patrick

Migration Year

Dear Readers,

I have received last week a marketing mail from Microstrategy that contains information to enter into migration process for customers who have Cognos or Business Objects licences. Great marketing idea from Microstrategy, because nobody can forecast what will happen in terms of product’s strategy for Cognos & BO. Microstrategy offers migration licences at low cost (we all know that software delivery cost is now free), in order to reenforce its new positon of “first independant BI vendor”.

In the Open Source area, we had the same position 6 months ago, in offering both : software at low cost and migration toolkit utilities to help Cognos & BO users to save some of their development investment, and we had some interesting success, especially with the migration toolkit. Open Source BI vendors have consistent and reliable pieces of software that can compete against commercial offers. Talend has also the same kind of offer for the ETL market, and I’m certain they have some nice success.

Recent buying of BI vendors has definitly changed the BI market : if a customer has to launch a BI project today, will he be in position to choose Cognos, BO or Hyperion/Brio ? I don’t think so, and in a short period of time, new BI leaders will emerge. It will have collateral impacts in many areas : training, exposition, resources, OEM agreement …

I will be at LinuxExpo in Paris in january and talk about our migration strategy. LinuxExpo is an important moment of the year, it will give some input and trend to the Open Source market.

’08’ is definitly the year to think about your BI strategy, and to address a migration strategy with a reliable partner. We all know that processes and decisions take time … I’m not certain there will be thousant of migration projects in ’08’, but rather in ’09.

Have Fun,

Patrick

Happy New Year

Dear Readers,

Wishing all the best to all the surfers of this blog ! Hoping all of you will have good health and lots of success in your professinal and private projects.

Personally, this year will be special : we have worked hard for many years and I think this is now time for something else : taking back the power on my own life is my favorite personal wish. When you have limited time, all is a question of delegation and organisation …

8 is a magic number in Asia : let’s hope to have successfull business and lot’s of fun in this part of the world, and provide customer with the strongest Open Source BI platforms they have looked for so long,

Have Fun !

Patrick