Pentaho puts BI tools in laymen's hands

Pentaho has released the next milestone version of its business intelligence suite of tools, which focuses on putting reporting and analysis tools in the hands of non-technical users, primarily through the addition of a web-based report creation feature.The release also ushers in a redesigned user interface, intended to make business intelligence (BI) more appealing to a range of users, from developers and power users to the non-technical.

Pentaho has released the next milestone version of its business intelligence suite of tools, which focuses on putting reporting and analysis tools in the hands of non-technical users, primarily through the addition of a web-based report creation feature.

The release also ushers in a redesigned user interface, intended to make business intelligence (BI) more appealing to a range of users, from developers and power users to the non-technical.

"We have much easier access to data through the web browser, we have much quicker visualisation using charts or mini-charts and the new reporting capability aimed at the non-technical business user," Ian Fyfe, chief tech evangelist at Pentaho, told ZDNet UK.

"So they can just drag-and-drop and build reports, which in the past meant using more of a rich client tool, it was more of a complex environment you really needed to be more of a power user, now it's so intuitive that really without training you can pick it up and start building reports," he added.

Fyfe also said there had been changes on the back-end to allow data to be merged without needing to be loaded into a data warehouse before being fed into a reporting application.

"With our ETL (execute, transform, code) engine you can now expose this as a web service which will then directly feed our reporting tool, so it cuts out that whole step of having to load the data mart," Fyfe added.

Despite the focus on putting tools in the hands of lower-level users, Fyfe said there is still plenty of functionality geared toward administrators and power users, such as the ability to access data from a number of 'big data' stores including Hadoop and NoSQL and to create customised user interfaces.

On 25 May, rival open-source enterprise software company Jaspersoft released version 4.1 of its suite of BI tools. It too focused on the notion of "self-service" BI for business — not technical — users. It also does this by providing the capability within a web-based user interface that is accessible from a range of devices.

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