OpenI’s Future as a BI Platform vs a BI Application


A great question came up on OpenI forum from Andre, which I feel is important to share with all of you:

What new features that are planned for the Open? There is a forecast for the next version? What is the main advantage of the Openi on the Pentaho?

What new features that are planned for the Open? There is a forecast for the next version? What is the main advantage of the Openi on the Pentaho?



To which, my response is:

Hi Andre

Your message comes at an interesting and exciting time for us. You saw that most of 2009, we focused on tightening up the 2.0 release, which now is stable and we’ve gotten good feedback on. Now in 2010, we will continue with point releases on 2.0 with bug fixes and enhancements, and we’re also in midst of planning the road map for OpenI 3.0 and beyond.

Basically the big question for us is — is OpenI a BI platform, or more of a BI application? OpenI started back in 2005, right around the same time Pentaho and JasperSoft launched. While Pentaho, Jaspersoft, et al have done a great job in building out a robust BI platform, OpenI’s differentiator is that it strives to be BI application that a user can use right “out of the box” as opposed to an “SDK” on top of which a BI developer will build their BI application. Hence a lot of our work has gone towards making the installation increasingly easier, being able to just point to an OLAP data source and start publishing anlayses/dashboards without having to write code, supporting Microsoft Analysis services, etc.

However, all this requires a BI platform underneath, and to date, OpenI has built its own platform using the same “usual suspect” components (JPivot, Mondrian, etc.) that most other open source BI projects use. And now we’re asking ourselves if that isn’t re-inventing the wheel. Why take upon the development and maintenance of a BI platform (although using a lot of open source components) — when you can probably use an existing open source BI platform and focus more on your differentiators.

So the most likely outcome for 3.0 road map will be that we’ll use a comparable open source BI platform where we can not only migrate all of our key features of OpenI 2.0 and start focusing more on usability-related features. Sorry to be vague/high-level, but we will have a more elaborate design/roadmap published on our website soon that’ll describe these features and solicit your feedback.

Which means — a big part of all this is where our community will like to see OpenI go. So, your feedback, feature requests, or just general design guidelines are very important to us as we plan the road map for 2010

Thanks for the nudge on this very important issue, now we’ll have to work harder to publish our road map and clear up things for everyone 🙂


Project Lead, OpenI.Org

3 thoughts on “OpenI’s Future as a BI Platform vs a BI Application”

  1. Hi,

    I am interested in doing analytic using Hive, Hadoop and MR. I was looking at your architecture. Wondering if it’s possible to create a connector for Hive and Hadoop. If possible at all, I could contribute towards it.


    1. We can’t see why not, thanks for the offer. The best way to go about it will be to take the code off subversion and submit your build that integrates Hive and Hadoop as a patch. We can definitely work with you to refine it, etc. but it will be a great feature to add

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