Welcome Doug Johnson

August 26, 2010

If you have followed my blogs about Pentaho, you can easily detect that our momentum is full-speed-ahead. Another notch to add to our success is adding Doug Johnson to the Pentaho management roster as our CFO. Doug has a unique background that combines a passion for business intelligence, experience, bringing three companies through IPO, and extensive experience in open source and subscription-based services. I asked Doug to share with you, “What brought you to Pentaho?” Welcome on board Doug.

Guest Blogger Doug Johnson

There are a number of things about Pentaho that interested me when I began to talk to Richard about joining the company. The product area – business intelligence, the development approach – open source, the stage of the company – going through rapid growth and market dominance, and the people all struck a chord and raised my level of interest. As I got to know the management team and the board of directors during the evaluation stage, my interest continued to grow.

As a CFO, business intelligence has always been a passion for me. The role of CFO requires a deep understanding of the data in the company and using tools like Pentaho’s BI suite allows me to organize the data, combine data from different systems and then analyze that data. It used to take my staff hours and hours to pull the data from its various sources and then combine the data in such a way as to make it understandable and actionable. It is always preferable to be the CFO of a company whose product you can relate to and appreciate.

The open source movement makes sense to me. As a CFO in mid-size companies most of my career, making a decision to acquire business intelligence software was always a difficult one due to the price of the leading products. Frequently, I had to either decide not to go forward with a project or to select a lesser alternative simply based on the price tag of the product I really wanted. The commoditization of software through the use of open source is a movement that I have supported and been in favor of for some time. To see it being used in an area that has simply been out of the reach of mid-size companies in the past is heartening. To be able to afford a leading software product for 10% to 25% of the commercial price is an exciting prospect for a data hound like me.

Pentaho, for several years concentrated on building out its product suite and improving its ease of use. It has reached the point where it is equal or better than anyone else on the block. The company is now growing its sales infrastructure to dominate the market. Growth in the business is strong and the changes going on in the organization are dramatic. The most exciting time in a company’s life cycle for a CFO who runs all the administrative areas also is when it is going through its early growth phase and is crossing the chasm from the early adopters to the main market. Pentaho is the fastest growing open source business intelligence company with a full product line. It is an exciting stage for a company and an exciting stage for a CFO.

Last but far from least, the people I met during the evaluation stage and have met since joining recently are some of the smartest, hardest working people I have had the honor of working with. Everyone at Pentaho is here because they genuinely care that it is and continues to be the best in class. I consider it a real honor to be part of this team.

Doug Johnson
Pentaho Corporation

Exploring deep into the code

August 20, 2010

I often joke with my colleagues that Pentaho is the world’s largest “BI Operating System.” When you think about the number of core services that are required for any application platform – from authentication/authorization to content persistence to presentation across multiple user interfaces – it’s easy to see how architecture can become an obsession.

I’ve always felt that Pentaho has the best architectural implementation of any BI suite on the market and that the decisions and investments we made in the early years (ca. 2005-2007) would serve our customers and the community well. This has clearly been the case, and the proof is in the velocity and number of enhancements that have been delivered in the last 12 months. In particular the tremendous improvements in reporting and analysis have provided tangible benefits and made us much more competitive vis-à-vis proprietary BI products.  The platform team is now hard at work adding Java Content Repository (JCR) support (just as they did with PDI 4.0) and this will pay huge dividends in 2011 and beyond.

There’s a quiet – you might even say invisible – side to Pentaho’s business which has emerged over the last two years. Pentaho is being embedded into mission-critical web applications by name-brand enterprises and ISV’s. From the very moment they contact Pentaho Services, these companies challenge us with  interesting technical scenarios.  “Yes, we know, Pentaho was designed from the very beginning to be integrated into other applications, but how?” To answer their questions we’ve organized a team of senior Pentaho software engineers and architects who engage directly with their peers. We’ve developed best practices, created code samples and documented many of the useful software interfaces that embedders need to understand in order to deploy Pentaho within their apps. This body of work is now available to the general public in the form of a new public training course.

Developed by Pentaho’s own Gretchen Moran, the Pentaho Architect’s Bootcamp is designed to teach developers how to explore, customize and extend Pentaho solutions and the Pentaho BI Server to meet the needs of customers and community members who are looking for functionality that goes beyond Pentaho’s “out of the box” capabilities. It represents a 5-day immersion into the inner workings of Pentaho action sequences and API extension points. Do you have detailed questions about CDF, CDA and controlling user interaction with your content? Need to call or consume web services, integrate with a single sign-on server or deploy Mondrian in a multi-tenanted environment? If so, this is your class.

For more information and to register for an Architect’s Bootcamp class in Orlando, London or San Francisco, visit www.pentaho.com/training.

Dave Henry
Vice President, Services
Pentaho Corporation

p.s. If you already understand these topics, check out our new job openings for Enterprise Architects in North America

Not so quiet summer at Pentaho in Europe

August 20, 2010

Summer is usually a quiet period in Europe – but not at Pentaho.  The EMEA sales and marketing team got together for a couple of days in San Francisco for a sales bootcamp, which combined hard work with a celebration of another record sales quarter in Q2. It was great to meet everybody, as we are distributed across 7 countries and typically ‘meet’ via Skype.

The organisation has been executing at an incredible pace. In fact, we achieved some significant milestones in the quarter:

  • We announced great customers such as TV2 and Aspiro, both potential global leaders in the world of online entertainment.
  • We announced a win over Business Objects at one of Europe’s top cancer treatment facilities, the London Oncology Clinic.
  • We lured our new EMEA Marketing Director, Jean-Jérôme Schmidt, from MySQL via Sage Technologies to Pentaho. With Jean-Jérôme’s sales background and organisational expertise, we will be talking to and announcing more outstanding BI customers soon.
  • As part of our commitment to the EMEA region, we launched a new website for the German speaking market, where some of our largest European customers are, in recognition of its importance to our business. A website for the French speaking market will follow soon!

Thanks to all this activity, we attracted great press coverage in Europe, with articles in Information Age, ComputerWorld, ZDNet Germany and Computer Weekly.

The Pentaho story continues to grow in EMEA, so I want you to stay up to speed. As offices are quieter during the summer break, it may be the time to watch the webinar series Pentaho has produced in seven languages in conjunction with its partners and which are now available on-demand for watching in English, German, Spanish, French, Norwegian, Italian and Portugese.

Why not join us as we launch our new Agile BI Tour – Data to Dashboards in Minutes with a webcast on Wednesday, September 1st 2010 or on October 12th for the Hadoop UK User Group event in London? In the mean time, enjoy the break and do look out for more news from Pentaho in EMEA soon

Vinay Joosery
VP Sales, EMEA
Pentaho Corporation

Top 3 questions asked to Pentaho Pre-Sales

August 16, 2010

Can you…? How does…? Where do…? What is…?

Sound familiar?

Pre-Sales Engineers are the stage performers of the IT world; immensely capable, adaptable, confident, excellent communicators who are  equally cool in front of large crowds and intimate groups.   If you are in a Pre-Sales role, you have the absolute pleasure of showcasing what your product / service / solution can offer to help prospects make an informed decision.  Pentaho Pre-Sales Engineers, have numerous discussions everyday with qualified prospects that want to evaluate Pentaho and prove that the software can satisfy their goals.  Most prospects are looking for a solution that will help them reduce costs, increase profits and make their businesses function efficiently. Part of my job is to identify a “fit” for these objectives and recommend an approach to take when evaluating. During these discussions I am asked many questions that have definitive answers and some questions that have more than one answer. I thought it would be helpful to share the 3 most common questions asked to my team and I and our responses.

Question 1: What is the most common reason an evaluation or implementation will not be successful?

That answer is quite simple. So simple in fact I wrote a blog entry about it in March 2009. You can view it here. However I will summarize it for you in one word.

Answer: People

People involved in the evaluation process of anything, are the lead cause for its success or failure. There are those who are self sufficient, “read” the provided materials, have the knowledge and expertise to get the job done with little assistance….then there are those that expect everything to be done for them. I elaborate more about this in the fore mentioned blog entry. However, for those who need a lot of hand holding, please be prepared to present clearly identified evaluation criteria to those you will be working with.

Question 2: What skill sets are required to use the Pentaho software?

Answer: I will first state that having Java Engineering skills are not necessary. You do not have to be a Java developer to use Pentaho. This stigma can attach itself to not just Pentaho, but to other “Java” developed platforms. Someone sees the word “Java” somewhere in the Wiki or on the Web and they automatically assume they need to know Java. This is not true. Pentaho is built on modern open standards that are written in Java. All this should mean to you, is that Pentaho provides a cost effective alternative that can run almost anywhere that supports Java.

Primarily, Pentaho training is the #1 skill set needed to really exploit all of the power that the software provides from the GUI design suite. Just like learning anything new, you should attempt to pick up the manual. I certainly wouldn’t start driving a car without learning how to operate it first. Other skills that can help are a general understanding of BI technologies and terminology. Relating to terms such as KPI (Key Performance Indicator), RDBMS (Relational Database Management System) metrics, dimensions, operational reporting, analyitcs, dashboards, and even a little acronym known as ETL (Extract Transform and Load). Furthermore, if you want to dive deeper and start embedding, integrating and enhancing the applications…having a Java background or even a simple web development skill set is always a plus.

Question 3: How scalable / performant is your solution?

Answer: I love this one. What answer do you think I am going to give? – Simply stated, your mileage is going to vary and greatly depends on what products you are using. Are you using the software for data integration or content delivery or perhaps both? I don’t care if you have the beefiest machine on the block or are paying for the largest cloud, your scalability and performance are going to be dependent on numerous factors. Prospects are usually looking for exact sizing statistics. They want to have some predetermined knowledge of application performance as well as what hardware and software infrastructure they may need to provision. Fortunately, Pentaho has produced the Pentaho Linear Scalability White Paper for the BI platform, and an independent consultancy has created the PDI Scaleout White Paper for Pentaho Data Integration. These documents can give additional insight in setting those expectations. Pentaho Services can also conduct capacity planning sessions with prospects to give an estimate of what can be expected. In addition to the white papers please note that there are a number of real-world scalability customer success stories you can read about on our website.

Thanks for your time, I look forward to answering your questions in person.

Michael Tarallo
Pre-Sales Director

Getting in shape at the Pentaho Sales Bootcamp

August 11, 2010

Looking around the room at our annual Pentaho Sales Bootcamp last week, it was impressive to see the number of new faces that have joined the team since last year’s event.  We must be doing something right, as over the past few months, Pentaho has been a magnet for top players from all corners of the BI space.  Last week was an excellent opportunity for our international Sales, Marketing, and Product teams to collaborate and work together to understand our customers’ current needs, how Pentaho’s solution can address them, and have a great time.

This year’s Bootcamp consisted of three packed days of case studies, interactive discussions, presentations, happy hours, and even a boat ride around the beautiful (albeit windy) San Francisco Bay. Click here for an inside look at the Pentaho Sales Boot Camp.

Bootcamp may be over, but our team is not done growing yet!  After officially outgrowing our current space, Pentaho San Francisco will be expanding into a brand new office this week, and we are actively hiring top-notch talent to join our Sales and Marketing teams in the Bay Area.

Aside from that, I am currently in Sweden preparing to open our new European headquarters in Stockholm, for which we are actively hiring as well.  If you are interested in joining the Pentaho team at any of our locations worldwide, I encourage you to take a look at our current Career Opportunities.

With the momentum of three record quarters in a row, the most innovative product on the market, and the tremendous talent and enthusiasm of this team, I have no doubt that the second half of 2010 will be a rock solid milestone in Pentaho company history.

SVP Worldwide Sales
Pentaho Corporation

Click here for more photos

Pentaho’s BIG, Fast, and Agile August

August 4, 2010

Pentaho is hitting the road this month to show you the world’s first BI integration for Hadoop with our three-city roadshow, ‘Harnessing Hadoop for Big Data’.  Next, prepare to see blazing fast business intelligence when we pair Ingres Vectorwise with Pentaho’s Agile BI initative.

BIG – We’re rolling into town to show you how Pentaho, as the face of Hadoop, can leverage the power of business intelligence and data integration for your Big Data analysis needs.  These live seminars are free but space is limited, so be sure to register now.

  • Harnessing Hadoop for Big Data – Live Seminar Series

FAST & AGILE – See what is possible when you combine the power of Agile BI with Ingres Vectorwise, the next generation of analytic database technology during this live webcast.

  • Blazing Fast, Agile BI with Ingres VectorWise and Pentaho
    • Webcast:  Thursday, August 12th 2010

Want to learn more about Pentaho and meet the team?  This month we will be holding Classroom Training classes in Buenos Aires, Argentina and here on the home front in Orlando, Florida.

Where else can you find Pentaho?  This month and every month, we invite you to join the conversation with us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Visit our Events page for more details and updated events.  Here’s to a BIG, Fast, and Agile August!


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