Business intelligence (BI) is frequently among the top prioroties for CIOs and finding the right software to do the job is always a challenge.
Cloud-based software may be all the rage, but CIOs must still manage in-house information and make better use of it through analytics and reporting tools.
The big four software companies have all made strategic investments in the BI space over recent years and the options have dimnished, but there are alternative tools popping up and snatching a lot of customers in the process.
This installment of '5 open source things to watch' is all about BI that doesn't scar the annual report.
1. Eclipse BIRT
Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools, or BIRT, began as an open source project by Actuate Corporation before joining the Eclipse Foundation in 2004.
BIRT is designed for Java Web applications and has a report designer based on Eclipse, and a runtime component that can be added to an app server.
Features include lists, crosstabs, letters and documents, and a charting engine that can add charts to your own application.
BIRT also does “compound reports” where many reports combine information into a single document.
The latest update, BIRT 2.6.1, was released in September.
Licence: Eclipse Public License
JasperReports is an open source reporting engine and BI tool developed in Java by Jaspersoft.
The main fucntions include dashboards, tables, crosstabs, charts and gauges.
Data sources can be a relational database, flat files or XML and reports can be generated in HTML, PDF, or office suite formats. And there can be multiple data sources of multiple kinds in one report.
JasperReports 3.7.6 was released in October.
JasperReports is part of a wider suite of tools that make up Jasersoft's business intelligence suite “community edition”. There are tools available for OLAP, ETL and SOA Web services.
Pentaho is a suite of BI tools including apps for data integration, reporting, analysis, dashboards and data mining.
Like the other enterprise-class BI tools, Pentaho's reporting module supports multiple data sources and can report to the Web, PDF and office document formats.
Pentaho release builds are available from the SourceForge.net open source site or the source code is available direct from the Subversion repository.
The enterprise edition of Pentaho has additional functionality and support. Pentaho now integrates with the Hadoop open source cloud platform.
SpagoBI is part of the SpagoWorld open source initiative founded by Italian IT services company Engineering Group.
Its developers proclaim SpagoBI to be the only “entirely open source” business intelligence suite. The BI suite consists of some 15 components – from reporting, OLAP and data mining to charting, dashboards and ETL.
Version 2.7 of the SpagoBI server was released last month and includes an interactive dashboard and integration with other reporting tools.
Data can be accessed from the Oracle, MySQL, Ingres or PostgreSQL databases.
In addition to the BI product, SpagoWorld includes apps for enterprise Java and SOA development, quality measurement and middleware.
Palo is a business intelligence suite designed for performance management functions, including planning, analytics, reporting and ETL.
The suite, develped by German software company Jedox, includes an in-memory OLAP Server, an Ajax-enabled online spreadsheet and a web-based ETL tool.
Add-ons are available for Excel and OpenOffice to make better use of data housed in spreadsheets.
Integration with SAP is also a feature of Palo and Jedox is working with researchers from the University of Freiburg and the University of Western Australia on Palo GPU, a technology that uses Nvidia GPU hardware to speed up large data processing jobs.
Earlier this year Australian hardware chain, Mitre 10, inplemented Palo for its BI needs.
For more articles in this series, be sure to check out:
5 open source ERP projects to watch
5 open source groupware suites to watch
5 open source CRM systems to watch
5 open source VoIP softphones to watch
5 open source billing systems to watch
5 open source office suites to watch
5 open source IP telephony projects to watch
5 open source help desk apps to watch
5 enterprise open source wiki apps to watch
5 open source project management apps to watch
5 free project management applications you must try
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