Business Management Software | Enterprise Grade | Pure Open Source

This year major OS BI-related vendors as Actuate (BIRT), Jaspersoft, Pentaho are in; SpagoBI, the only pure OS BI product is quoted.

Gartner is generally not a recognized Open Source observer and the report refers to the whole vendors’ BI market, which is mainly proprietary. However, Gartner is a prominent IT research organization, very authoritative in the industrial market to which main BI customers refer to.

Gartner, after a first mention of SpagoBI in the “Who’s Who in Open-Source Business Intelligencereport in 2008, has decided to include SpagoBI in its BI MQ 2012 report, assuming that SpagoBI deserves the mention because it is a mature and reliable alternative to proprietary software.

Gartner says, among other things:

SpagoBI is a 100% open-source BI platform sponsored by Engineering Group, one of Italy’s leading IT consultancies” …” SpagoBI is freely available, with no license fee. Consulting or support charges are separated from free software availability, with no user lock-in and no customer obligation to buy.” …” Clients indicate that they select SpagoBI for performance considerations, followed by license cost and implementation costs/efforts”.

Why are we so excited? Because SpagoWorld initiative works and is well delivering!

First of all, assume that:

  • business intelligence is a very crowded and competitive market
  • the adoption of a pure open source strategy to address this market necessarily gives rise to an industrial comparison of any OS BI suite with other commercial products

This year major OS BI-related vendors are inside the Magic Quadrant.  “OS BI related-vendor” because the report highlights that Actuate, Jaspersoft and Pentaho follow an open-source strategy, with some differences, their fully featured products are commercial (i.e.: proprietary products.) 

This confirms the following statement: “SpagoBI is the only 100% open source, complete and flexible BI suite“.

Even though SpagoBI fulfils Gartner’s main criteria (“a BI platform is a software platform that delivers the 14 capabilities”, according to the Gartner’s definition), the fact that SpagoBI doesn’t sell any software license partially justifies the difficulties encountered by SpagoBI in achieving the second Gartner’s criteria, which would allow the suite to be included into the Magic Quadrant: “vendors must generate at least $15 million in BI-related software license revenue annually”.

Moreover, the understandable comparison between SpagoBI Competency Center of Engineering Group – the editor of SpagoBI suite – and other BI vendors is very challenging. Despite the fact that SpagoBI stands at the same level as major vendors thanks to its functional completeness and its innovation, the suite leads the BI analysts to face some evaluation parameters which are not the usual ones, suggesting different metrics that they probably wouldn’t have otherwise adopted because in contrast with traditional rules which BI customers are particularly fond of.

Some examples follow:

  • no licensing sales, with the consequent separation of the rights to use the software from the sale of supporting services (i.e.: both no software lock-in and no vendor lock-in), without any need to manage the purchasing costs, versus an expected confidence in the vendor’s support granted by the price paid with the licenses and maintenance purchases;
  • a complete software availability fostering wide integration, adaptation and flexibility capabilities, versus a strong control over the product by the vendor;
  • a different brand reputation of the editor based on the type of products it delivers, mainly qualified by the amount of support and professional services it sales, versus the brand reputation of the vendor mainly based on the amount of its software license-related revenues
  • a supporting business ecosystem-based model, driven by a specific working unit (Competency Center) belonging to a large systems integrator sharing its business with various local integrators, versus the traditional channel-based business model involving local OEM/VAR and resellers.

On the other hand, the previous points highlight some peculiar characteristics of SpagoBI approach to the BI market, marking a difference and pointing out many opportunities both for BI customers willing to enter in the open market era in an innovative way and for those who want or must accept – under the pressure of budget scarcity – the challenge of a new economical model, even keeping a traditional approach.

This is the challenge that SpagoBI is facing now through an ever-improving process.


Extract from blog by Gabriele Ruffatti February 17th, 2012


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