In a new study on open-source adoption in the business intelligence (BI) market, it's becoming clear that both the benefits and shortcomings of open source software are nearly universal across all technology segments.
According to the study by Third Nature (sponsored by Jaspersoft and Infobright), "the top reason for adopting is still cost savings, although reduced vendor dependence and ease of integration were close to the same level. The limiting of vendor technology lock-in and freedom from deployment restrictions were key elements of reducing vendor dependence. Some companies used open source deployments as a means of keeping their incumbent vendors honest."
The statement above is hardly unique to BI, but is perhaps germane if only because BI solutions have for so long been hugely expensive and proprietary. In past discussions with Jaspersoft CEO Brian Gentile, he has stated that BI is the least agile piece of the enterprise puzzle. Open source BI solutions mean that customers can take matters into their own hands.
The study also makes some recommendations on evaluating BI and data warehousing tools, that again are relevant for any open source product.
* Don't focus solely on cost savings.
* Make open source the default option
* Plan to augment, not replace, existing software with open source.
* Consider developing open source policies.
* Evaluate open source like any other software.
In the end, software needs to solve business problems. The adoption of open source gives users more alternatives to address their issues, be it cost reduction, increased business agility or just a new way to manage their data.
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