BPM HandBook 2010

Dear Reader,

Thanks to Layna Fisher & her team, I wrote a chapter in the upcoming yearly “Bpm Handbook, 2010 edition”

Bpm Handbook is a visionary document providing the trend & vision in Business Process Management. My chapter deals with 2 hot subjects : Open Source & Business Intelligence, in a Bpm context.

I can’t tell you more than “just buy this book if you want to have a better view of Bpm landscape”. Meantime, you will get valuable information about Open Source BPI (Business Process Intelligence) Platforms, and understand why Vanilla has today no equivalence when talking about true integration of Bi & Bpm components

Have Fun !
Patrick

BiGateWay – Metadata oriented Etl

Dear Reader,

Around a year after its initial launch, our data service component, Vanilla BiGateway, is reaching a new step and getting important recognition from customers, with application in production, taking care of production data

History of BiGateWay is simple : we wanted to add a “data service” component to our Vanilla platform, with features such as the one developers find in any Etl, but also specific functions to leverage Vanilla documents (such as Olap/FreeAnalysis, Kpi/FreeMetrics or Ldap/Vanilla security replication). So, initially, we did not promote our BiGateWay as a specific Etl platform, because we are offering a complete Bi Platfrom (with Etl embed in it)

Initial result went beyond our expectation, and we got dozens of testers in a couple of months, with always same feedback : “great product, easy to use “. It proved us there was a request for an Etl platform for non-java developer  that respect Etl concept & provide an intuitive interface, along with support from the development team. Just look around & correct me if I’m wrong : I don’t see this configuration (Etl for Bi consultant, Metadata and sql data access – support by dev team – Embeded Bi features) in the Open Source  landscape ?

BiGateWay Designer Interface

Future is bright for BiGateWay :

– On one hand, along with BiWorkflow, we started some deployment in France for application that gather information through forms, manipulate & store those information using Etl features and organise report & dashboard distribution using Vanilla core services. All managed by our BiWorkFlow component.

– On the other hand, now supported multithread transformations, we can compete with pure commercial Etl, even with the comunity version of BiGateWay (that provide at no cost team development, checkIn-CheckOut or other usefull function such as data search & browse).

Have Fun !

Patrick

Fresh FreeAnalysis Web Interface

Dear Reader,

We just delivered our third major release for FreeAnalysis Web, our Web Olap interface, rewarded as one of the top 10 French Open Source Project last year by independant journalists.

It’s been a while we wanted to update the interface, as FreeAnalysis Web is a nice example of “keeping the product align with technology” over the last 3 years and half. Just a reminder :

– We release FreeAnalysis Web (based on Dojo) in march 2007 (thanks to Ronan !)

– We stopped Dojo in summer 2007 to move to GWT and delivered a revamp interface in february 2008 (thanks to Gaël !)

– Now, thanks to Marc (and Gaël), still based on GWT, we offer a major update of the Web interface (and I’m not talking about the numerous new features in the Olap Api !).

This means a lot of time & investment to have this Web interface “up to date” with latest technologies & features. I’m always surprised when I see a product “depredicated” (just have a quick look around … even in Open Source Bi …), because it means either nobody was using it, or no respect for current users !

Bellow are some screenshots for FreeAnalysis Web. Don’t be surprised : since the beginning, we separate dimensions & measures in the navigation tree (on the left side !!!!), and users can save their own view on the cube.

Last but not Least : FreeAnalysis Web is available in both versions of Vanilla : Comunity & Enterprise … no need to pay to start using it …

FreeAnalysis Web Grid

Grid contains numerous Web2.0 features, such as Drag & Drop, Undo/Redo, contextual menu, …

Grid interface

Grid interface

FreeAnalysis Web Graph

We provide a wizard to help building comple graphs representation, that leverage the dimension/measures pivot representation

FreeAnalysis Web Chart

FreeAnalysis Web Search

Search interface is a Must. It’s so usefull ! along with embeded calculator, On/Off for dynamic grid or Percent Manager, it’s the kind of feature that you can’t stop to use …

FreeAnalysis Web Search Interface

FreeAnalysis Web Report Builder

Report builder is easy to use, and provide a simple way to build interactive complexe olap reports

FreeAnalysis Web Report Builder

Have Fun !

Patrick

Vanilla selected in Final 100 RedHerring Europe

Dear Reader,

Over the past year, Vanilla got recognition from some the most interesting IT Newspapers, including “L’Information” and “01Informatique”, which is a kind of success for our project, because we did not invest in any co-marketing project with “analysts” (I will come later – but soon – on this subject), in order to be listed in any kind of quadrant/schema.

Today, I’m happy to announce that Vanilla has been selected as a finalist for Red Herring’s Europe 100 award, a prestigious list honoring the year’s most promising private technology ventures from the world European business region.

The Red Herring editorial team selected the most innovative companies from a pool of hundreds from across Europe. The nominees are evaluated on both quantitative and qualitative criteria, such as financial performance, technology innovation, quality of management, execution of strategy, and integration into their respective industries.

This unique assessment of potential is complemented by a review of the actual track record and standing of a company, which allows Red Herring to see past the “buzz” and make the list an invaluable instrument for discovering and advocating the greatest business opportunities in the industry.

The final is in Paris, between may 25 and 27.

Have Fun,

Patrick

Emergence of BPI

Dear Readers,

Over the past years, I heard so many things about Bpi : Business Process Intelligence, a kind of concept about merging “Business Intelligence” and “Business Process” features … but beside the concepts, where are the implementation ?

One of the biggest announcement was the Oem agrement between Intalio and Informatica 2 years ago (ok, Etl is only part of Bi … but it was promising !). Honest, I don’t know the status of this integration … I hope they bundled something interesting and usefull for developer and admin

As often in the Open Source : announcement only, buzz … close to vaporware, with only few implementation that has nothing to do with an “out of the box” offer. And don’t expect to find an “Open implementation” that provides a simple but usefull feature such as IReport & Birt support for report deployment (only Vanilla provides this support for both engine in its BiWorkflow)). What is “open” if developers are tied to a technology ?

What is the interest of a Bi application disconnected from a company Business Process ? Bi is no more monolitic, some editors now target ‘Agile Bi’, which is another way to present Bi as a way to extract data from production database and produce report on fly. Sounds great … but what about security & abstraction layer to prevent problems ?
Anyway, Bi is all about levaraging business data and making it available to users in different easy way (dashboard, report, cube, maps, kpi, alerts) and to achieve this goal, Bi as to rely on company process to ensure data availability & data quality, as long as resources availability (databasse server, ftp server, data file, mail server …).

More than developer, Bpi stands also a solution for administrators : How painfull is it for administrator to manage Bi application, to manage daily production & distribution of Bi documents and to ensure that every process went to its end …

With Vanilla, we are trying to answer those simple but crucial questions, with some interesting success by now. Vanilla BiWorkflow – which is the first Bpmn 2.0 Bi workflow Designer – provides access to Bi resources such as report, etl transformation, forms (for user data input or user validation : within Workflow, we have embed support for 3 forms editors … )

I will come back soon with interesting news about Bpm + Bi in the Open Source landscape, this is a fashion subject those days … it’s a nice element that shows Open Source Bi is now deploying at enterprise level !

Have Fun !

Patrick

Vaporware in the Cloud

Dear Reader,

I had strange discussion last week about “Cloud computing”, and I want to share it with you.

How can we imagine to have a Platform (not talking only about Bi platform) that runs in the cloud if this platform is single thread ? What a confusion between simple hosting & Cloud … and I’m not talking about SaaS/PaaS/IaaS new fashion technologies !
My advice on this subject is so simple : is your platform of choice capable of running multithread services ? Is your platform abble to run in a cluster of servers ? If answer is no, well … don’t expect your platform to run in the cloud … just expect to run multiple instances on different servers, without load balancing between servers. And honest, it’s definitly not the original architecture of “cloud ready” platforms.

Beeing serious about architecture on Internet, I can read so many marketing announcement from platforms that are “single theard”, without any thread allocation package.  It’s so disappointed, and disgracious in front of real “cloud ready” platforms.

A step further : your platform is now abble to run multi thread services (for example : reporting, etl). Just ask yourself where and how you define your architecture of thread/services/clustered servers. Is this in the document itself (for example : report, etl transformation …) ? Well … if it’s the case, good luck to manage your platform on the cloud … it means you have to go through documents to manage, right ?

Final step : is your “Cloud” platform compliant with a cloud framework, that will provide additional services such as resource invoicing, resource allocation, log & usage management … because if it’s not the case, how will you invoice back your customers ?

With Vanilla, we are not yet “Cloud Ready”. No shame to tell this. Vanilla is multi thread & cluster ready … with dynamic allocation of process to dispatched services (for report, metadata & etl services) and an admin package to manage clustered servers & threads resources, and it’s running pretty well ! Again, our position is to make the product before the marketing announcement …

Have Fun,
Patrick