Thursday, January 27, 2011

Business Intelligence 2011: Toward the New IT World

The connected world of the Internet has given rise to a new software development paradigm – built on open, web standards and calling for access to resources and services that weren’t previously - or formally - integrated. Geoffrey Moore projects this trend into the modern organization by simply stating that,

“Tectonic shifts are occurring in today’s enterprise IT environment, which are giving rise to a network-centric stack of software.”

I absolutely agree.

Based on these shifts, the 3rd generation of business intelligence is born, built on new and open technology standards and vastly new user and business requirements. Traditional BI platforms and technologies are poorly suited for this new world because of their complex and inflexible architectures. The customers and uses for which these aged, proprietary BI platforms were designed are already sated.

Enter a new breed of BI platform that is built specifically for this new IT world and you have the context and underpinnings for a new class of truly pervasive BI that holds the promise of reaching the 85% of knowledge workers who have been forsaken by traditional BI tools and approaches. I see significant and continued advancement toward this vision during 2011.

In early January, Jaspersoft launched a new version of its BI platform specifically architected for a networked world and the important, emerging class of users we call the “BI Builders.” The world needs a next-generation BI platform to be used as an integrated reporting and analysis service. We simply call it: Jaspersoft 4.

That’s business intelligence in 2011. You’re going to want to learn more about this BI future by attending JasperWorld 2011 (San Francisco, February 7 – 9). As always, your feedback is requested.

Brian Gentile

Chief Executive Officer


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A BI Platform to Tame Big Data

Big data is a popular topic these days. Though often misunderstood and commonly misrepresented, few deny that the volume and variety of data types now available to an enterprise is skyrocketing. In a separate article on the TDWI web site, I’ve tried to describe the likely sources of value to be derived from this deluge of data. In short, I see the harnessing of big data as an enormous opportunity.

Which is why Jaspersoft today announces the most comprehensive collection of Big Data connectors available from any Business Intelligence provider. In fact, we broadly consider three distinct categories of Big Data sources – all of which can now be natively accessed from Jaspersoft’s BI suite and very affordably deliver new value for an organization. These three categories are:

  • Hadoop – Jaspersoft supports Hadoop via the Hive SQL interface, reading files via HDFS including the Avro file format, as well as via HBase.

  • NoSQL – Jaspersoft offers NoSQL support for the following, broadly recognized major categories of data stores: Key Value Stores, Document Databases, BigTable Clones, Graph Databases, and Data Grid Caching among others. Jaspersoft’s open source projects for reporting against NoSQL technologies include: Cassandra, MongoDB, Riak, HBase, CouchDB, Neo4J, Infinispan, VoltDB and Redis. A non-open source connector is in beta for VMware GemFire.

  • MPP Analytic Database – Jaspersoft supports IBM’s Netezza MPP analytic database data warehouse and soon will add commercial analysis support. Vertica and EMC Greenplum are also supported.

We are passionate about making most of these connectors available through an open source license (A/GPL), true to the origins of many Big Data projects. We also expect to commercialize some of these connectors over time, expecting that many enterprises will want fully-supported and tested products complete with a commercial contract from Jaspersoft.

By supporting this breadth and depth of Big Data file types and data stores, Jaspersoft is extending its leadership as the most modern and flexible business intelligence platform available today. At once, our customers can install and use the Jaspersoft BI suite in a traditional, on-premises server – or deploy our tools as a platform-as-a-service reporting and analytics layer in the cloud. Now this architectural flexibility includes the most complete support for Big Data types in the industry.

I encourage you to learn more about our Big Data announcement, all the partners that have supported us through the development process, and the wide variety of connectors by going here. And, join us at the Strata Conference to see a demonstration of Jaspersoft 4 and its support for Big Data. Lastly, I also encourage you to participate in our Big Data community project, now live on JasperForge.

Of course, to see all-things Jaspersoft in action, I invite you to attend JasperWorld 2011, where the future of BI is now.

Brian Gentile

Chief Executive Officer


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Jaspersoft 4: The New Foundation

Today Jaspersoft makes available the fourth major generation of its business intelligence platform and I couldn’t be more proud. I’m proud because we’ve taken the time, with this major new release, to make significant architectural improvements that a software company rarely (if ever) takes the time to do. In fact, we’ve re-written the upper third of the overall platform architecture, creating a new and remarkably powerful, consistent, extensible layer that adheres purely to web standards. We refer to this new layer as the Jaspersoft UI Framework and the flexibility and sophistication it will provide to BI Builders is unparalleled.

We’re big fans of the BI Builder as the key new hero in the BI solution equation. I’ve written about this important role separately. This technical professional goes by many titles (software engineer, product manager, report developer, DW/BI Manager, Data Architect, and so on) and is responsible for developing, integrating and / or customizing a BI solution for an end-user audience. The BI Builder applies critical domain knowledge and BI expertise to turn data into information and insight, enabling a broader (and arguably less-skilled) group of users to benefit from business intelligence – making BI genuinely more pervasive along the way.

So, what does Jaspersoft 4’s UI Framework provide for the BI Builder? Lots. Here’s the summary:
  • Consumer Web Application-Style UI – the new UI Framework within Jaspersoft 4 delivers improved interactivity and usability typically found in consumer web applications. Its modern look and feel enhances web applications and gives end users access to intuitive, self-service BI.
  • 100% Web Application Architecture – Jaspersoft 4 is the only BI environment that is 100% web application ready. The new UI Framework completes Jaspersoft’s architecture as a web application stack, from the back-end server to the front-end UI. Built on flexible, open web standards, Jaspersoft 4 can be deployed out-of-the-box on-premises, in a multi-tenant SaaS environment, or in the cloud.
  • Easy BI Web Application Customization and Integration – the Jaspersoft UI architecture separates the content and presentation layers allowing quick and easy UI customization through simple markup changes in cascading style sheets (CSS), without impacting the underlying functionality. Customizations are automatically carried forward as new Jaspersoft versions are deployed. The UI framework enables fast creation of alternative UI themes for different users, different SaaS tenants and different devices. This capability also facilitates the integration of the Jaspersoft BI server within existing web applications.
All by itself, I expect the concept of UI themes will set the new standard in customized BI applications, similar to what WordPress has done for the blogging platform market. Here are two screen shots of two Jaspersoft 4 themes.

The first screen (above) shows the out-of-the-box look-n-feel we’re delivering with Jaspersoft 4 and the second (below) provides a visual sample of some of the many elements that can be easily and radically changed. Previously, such substantial changes would need to be performed by expert personnel with technical familiarity with the complete platform. Now, these customizations can be done by any web designer or a savvy IT person. Customizing the UI of a BI application has traditionally been out-of-reach for most organizations – but now, with Jaspersoft 4, it won’t be.

Now that we’ve taken the time to create an even more flexible and sophisticated architecture, you can expect an impressive array of innovation coming on top of this. That’s because Jaspersoft 4 provides our customers and community with the foundation for the future. Stay tuned.

Jaspersoft 4 is available now and there is much more information available here. Take a look - I’ll be thrilled to get your feedback and comments.

P.S. I invite you to a complete and behind-the-scenes review of Jaspersoft 4 during JasperWorld 2011 (February 7-9 in San Francisco).

Brian Gentile
Chief Executive Officer