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Open Source Business Intelligence - That didn’t impress me much!

I have always had a liking for the quote – “All that glitters is not gold.” Though it is not exactly what I mean to exemplify about Open source Business Intelligence Tools in this article, but would want to put forward certain shortcomings about these offerings. Clearly, Open source BI has been at a tipping point in the recent years and has created news of being the next big thing in the Business Intelligence business.

It’s major plus was enabling users gain freedom to leverage and customize high-quality code as a jumpstart to custom development. But a Forrester report suggests that these open source offerings are not free from drawbacks. This in spite of their abilities to endow business enterprises with tools that offer ways to mine database and spreadsheet centric data, and produce graphical, table-based and other types of analytics regarding business operations.

It is evident that the open-source BI comprises of benefits that are generic and similar to those provided by other open source software segments, that being – low cost, flexible support and integration options. Apart from this, it is also noted that corporates find it difficult to disengage from the open source software tools that they have been using, as they are able to probe into and extend the source code with much more freedom than with any other software tools.

Most of us are aware of the fact that open-source firms offer community editions free of cost, and that premium packages are sold at a price lesser than those sold by traditional proprietary products. It becomes noteworthy that the premium versions sold by open-source organizations lag behind in terms of extra features.

Tools like OLAP (Online Analytical Processing) also fall into the offerings of Open source Business Intelligence firms like Jaspersoft, Pentaho and SpagoBI, but are found to lack in features when compared to commercial products. A common hindrance that both open source and licensed Business Intelligence firms face is the inability to integrate the multiple technologies and software applications that they possess, hence failing to offer a more comprehensive solution to business users.

In addition, most open source software applications are blamed for being unreliable with no existence of support for the applications. While there are many forums available on the internet to help you run and install these softwares, there is no authorized support available. There is also the scare of not enjoying guaranteed updates making your method of analyzing business data old and obsolete with the passing of time. There is also the mention of few more drawbacks but this could just be exaggerating the issue.

We await open source vendors to take note of these deficiencies and offer a more comprehensive integration of the Business Intelligence tools.

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