Business Intelligence (BI) software refers to programs and technologies for gathering, storing, analyzing, and providing access to data to help enterprise users make better business decisions. Pentaho was founded in 2004 with a mission to become the leader in BI using a "commercial open source" model.
Pentaho's board looks like a who's who of BI veterans from Business Objects, Cognos, Oracle, and others. It's well funded (Series A funding of $5mil) by private investors like Larry Augustin, New Enterprise Associates, and Index Ventures, some of the same names behind JBoss, SugarCRM, Xensource, MySQL, and Zend.
Pentaho's business model is three pronged:
- First, they give away the open source "full BI" suite for free and charge for an optional annual support subscription.
- Second, they sell a commercial license for a "Pro" version (more on that in a moment).
- Finally, they sell consulting services (kind of a SWAT team for quick, small jobs). Larger jobs are often referred to partners.
Pentaho has set out to be a positive yet disruptive force in the BI industry, which has historically been dominated by large proprietary vendors. Recently I spoke to Richard Daley, the CEO of Pentaho about the company and its plans.