Open Source Is Smart Choice For Business Intelligence

Open SourceSoftware

Analyst report points to growing interest in open source alternatives to traditional business intelligence tools

The impact of the financial crisis has been to force companies to cut costs while also increasing competition for fewer customers. Against this backdrop, analyst Gartner has reported that interest in open source alternatives to traditional proprietary business intelligence (BI) tools has been steadily growing.

In a report released this week, “Open-Source Business Intelligence Tools Production Deployments Will Grow Five-Fold through 2012”, the analyst stated that although open source alternatives still lack some of the functionality of the established proprietary applications, interest is growing in the lower-cost open source tools from companies such as Jaspersoft.

“Open source BI has seen an interesting adoption pattern over the last few years,” said Andreas Bitterer, research vice president at Gartner. “Hardly any organisation looked at open source BI until 2004, let alone deployed it to a significant number of users, but this submarket had developed nicely, having developed consistent growth rates over the last few years.”

According to Gartner, the average cost of an open source BI contract is around $30,000 (£18,000) per year but some exceed $500,000 (£300,000), which the analyst says is comparable to proprietary software.

The analyst added that while proprietary companies have traditionally dismissed the idea that their business models could be under threat from open source applications, the analyst said that some are responding to the threat. “As you might imagine, the increasing open source traction has not gone unnoticed by the commercial vendors. While often dismissed as being no competition, even the large established BI vendors have come up with counter measures to address the challenges from the lower-cost competitors,” said Bitterer.

But while some companies appear to be embracing the potential of open source to help them cut costs and avoid punitive charges from some proprietary vendors, others have dismissed the idea of using community developed software as a risk to their infrastructure.

In November, Peter Gyorgy, chief information officer of GE’s Consumer and Industrial division in Europe, said non-proprietary code presents a significant risk to companies. “I think open source is great for own internal playground type of things but if it’s running vital mission critical applications – networks running on open source for example – then that is a huge, huge risk to the organisation,” he told the audience at the Central and Eastern European IT Leaders Summit & Expo, in Budapest.


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