April 9, 2010 – A report on the use of open source business intelligence software published by  market research provider Aberdeen Group shows that top performing companies are significantly more effective at deploying open source BI solutions. The report, “Open Source Business Intelligence: The Cost, Utilization and Innovation Factors that Matter,” found that in best-in-class companies, 77 percent of all BI users operate in a self-service manner, with no dependence on the IT organization to help them generate reports. Within these companies, 67 percent of all BI projects were delivered on time in the last 12 months and 71 percent of all BI projects were delivered on-budget in the last 12 months.

Over 300 organizations currently using BI took part in the study, which examined how they prioritize their use of BI resources. Of those, 71 indicated they are actively using open source software as one (or more) of the primary components of their BI implementation. Thirteen of those 71 were using open source products exclusively to provide BI to their business community. The remainder used some combination of open source and traditionally licensed software or subscription based software (software as a service).

Aberdeen points out that the business pressures driving organizations to open source vary strongly by maturity class. Of the best-in-class organizations, 36 percent point to reduced or inadequate staff to deliver BI projects versus just 18 percent for all other organizations. Twenty-nine percent of respondents from best-in-class organizations said that BI software license costs were too high and 32 percent of respondents from other organizations said the same. Only 7 percent of best in class respondents noted the need to leverage data integration efforts, while 25 percent of other respondents noted that integration drove them to open source software.

Company size also factored in the findings. "Forty-eight percent of the open source BI users in Aberdeen's survey have annual revenues of $50 million or less, whereas only 37 percent of the users of traditionally licensed BI products are that small," said David White, senior research analyst for Aberdeen Group in an announcement tied to the research. "It's clear that for some, the options were open source BI, or no BI at all.”

White believes that in organizations with small BI budgets, open source may be the only viable option. “In that sense, for smaller organizations, open source BI may be truly a game-changer, providing insights that would otherwise elude them," he said.

Information Management’s April Focus edition is dedicated to open source and will include more research, an introduction to MIKE2.0, an open methodology for the management of information and a discussion about how software as a service and open source are related. The issue will be live at info-mgmt.com/imfocus on April 22.

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