Actuate adopts open-source approach to BI

The Eclipse BIRT project founder is stepping up its presence in the business-intelligence software market with an open-source business model

Actuate, the founder of the Eclipse Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools project, is stepping up its presence in the busy marketplace for business-intelligence software.

The firm is using an open-source business model to make it easier for developers to evaluate its software.

With open-source adoption in business intelligence (BI) accelerating, Eclipse has established a dominant position among Java development platforms. Actuate initiated the Eclipse Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools (BIRT) project in September 2004 to create an open-source reporting system for web applications, especially those based on Java and J2EE.

The company now leads the project-management committee for Eclipse BIRT, which recently surpassed one million downloads.

A survey sponsored by Actuate indicated that 24 percent of enterprises are currently using open-source BI, while 31 percent are likely or very likely to consider using open-source BI.

"Actuate offers an extensive product line based on Eclipse BIRT, along with services, support and training. These product offerings give organisations a way to capitalise on their BIRT development efforts to deploy highly scalable, mission-critical applications," said Vijay Ramakrishnan, senior director of strategic marketing at Actuate.

The open-source BI debate has been around for some time now, with Eclipse members including Cognos and Business Objects both voicing opinions. According to Cognos, there is a place for open-source BI in smaller-scale operations that require reporting tools at a lower level than enterprise systems. Similarly, Business Objects has accommodated Crystal Reports within Eclipse so that developers can build applications at lower costs and improve the flexibility and portability of their applications.