Pentaho targets new BI suite beyond IT, to business users

Pentaho is one of the oldest, most established names in the open source enterprise applications business, often ranked with the likes of JBoss, SugarCRM and Alfresco.Now the six year old company wants to make its name more recognizable to typical business users – the sales managers and marketing vice presidents who stand to benefit the most from Business Intelligence software.

Pentaho is one of the oldest, most established names in the open source enterprise applications business, often ranked with the likes of JBoss, SugarCRM and Alfresco.

Now the six year old company wants to make its name more recognizable to typical business users – the sales managers and marketing vice presidents who stand to benefit the most from Business Intelligence software.

To that end, Pentaho is releasing today version 4.0 of its enterprise suite with a redesigned visual interface, better tools for discovering data and a new report designer.

Pentaho’s CEO claims this Pentaho BI 4 Enterprise Edition  – with its totally overhauled user interface and web-based data discovery and reporting tools -- makes BI available and usable to non technical users for the first time.

“It’s where open source meets the business user,” CEO Richard Daley said during an interview this week, noting that business users have typically relied on IT pros to provide BI tools. “We’ve redesigned it to be more usable, accessible and appealing to all end users. This release is removing that interdependency on IT.”

Of course, Pentaho has lots of competition from other proprietary companies as well as open source companies and projects including JasperSoft, RapidMiner, SpagoBI and The Eclipse BIRT Project.

Pentaho claims to have 1600 enterprise customers who pay subscriptions as well as a number of OEMs that integrate the BI software with their own on premise or cloud-based applications. The new visual interface, for instance, will ease customization for end users and those OEMs.

The open source company offers a community edition and a free 30-day trial edition of the commercial enterprise edition, whose subscription costs 80 percent less than most proprietary solutions, Daley said.

Pentaho issued a press release detailing its benefits to end users:

1. Dynamically interact with saved reports by applying sorting, filtering, groupings and summary totals on the fly

2. Easily create highly formatted, interactive reports with zero training and no dependence on IT or power users

3. Incorporate interactive reports into Pentaho Dashboards with the ability to tie to common dashboard controls

Pentaho also said power users and business analysts will be able to:

1. Enhance data discovery with new multi-chart visualization capabilities;

2. Take advantage of interactive drillable charts to drill up and down through data hierarchies and link visualizations to related content

3. Improve interactivity with dashboards via addition of dashboard-level filters and ability to link to additional content.

4. Create more informative and appealing charts through extended chart properties