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Why open source BI disappoints?

JY Pook, Vice President, Asia Pacific, Tableau Software | July 11, 2014
Unfortunately, the assumption that abandoning commercial business intelligence platforms for open source versions will somehow lead to lower costs and increased use of business intelligence is precisely that – an assumption.

3.      Time to value is slow

The time it takes to get any value out of a system or project cannot be overlooked. In today's competitive economy, people need immediate answers. If an open source project requires an average of six months of development time, what is the opportunity cost of not having insights into your business, market or competition available to your users during those six months?

Related to this is the value your users put on a solution they can get to quickly. When an IT department gathers requirements and then goes dark for months while the solution is developed, two things happen. One, business needs have changed and the solution no longer meets users' needs. Two, because IT went dark for so long, business users have lost interest, thinking the solution is no longer relevant and therefore less likely to use it.

4.      Dreaded task of ongoing report writing and feature improvements

The initial application development of an open source solution is interesting for the development team. But after the deployment of version one, reality soon sets in: hard-to-use applications built for traditional IT buyers forces them into years of custom report-writing, change requests and ongoing feature improvements.

Most developers hate writing reports. They feel their skills are better used elsewhere - and they are right. Even users dislike having to specify reports and then make change requests when the report is not exactly what they thought it would be. Enabling business users to easily produce their own reports and dashboards will result in a more flexible and lower cost solution.

Open source solutions may initially seem more economical or more likely to deliver rapid business intelligence results, but deploying these solutions will often require significantly greater budget and resources than expected.

Ultimately, the open source system must be evaluated based on how well it can meet users' needs. While reports, charts and dashboards are useful, what is missing in most open source business intelligence applications is the freedom to ask your own questions. In open source business intelligence platforms, business users cannot use a report or chart to ask questions and think further. The thinking has taken place already and the resulting reports are little more than a show.

Business users need to be able to ask a question, get an answer, and ask follow-up questions - all using easy visual interfaces. In other words, rapid-fire business intelligence is one that takes up a fraction of the TCO and deployment time of open source solutions as well as allows users to go in any direction - and speed - with their thoughts. Now that is the revolutionary answer for business intelligence.


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