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OpenI Differentiators

We received some decent feedback in our discussion thread on OpenI’s future roadmap. Here’s one from “noblomov” that describes how OpenI is different from other open source BI tools and where we should focus next (we couldn’t have said it any better – so thanks!)

Hi Sandeep,
thanks for sharing with us what should be the future of Openi and giving us the opportunity to tell you and the Openi dev team what we like about Openi compared to other open source products out there, and what featuers we’d like to see in future versions.
For me there are various very interesting points about Openi compared to Pentaho :
  • Openi is pretty easy to install, where Pentaho isn’t as straightforward to my mind
  • Openi is very simple and “basic” : create reports and see them through Dashboards, where Pentaho is trying to do more things and as a result isn’t as easy to use for the end users
  • Openi offers a real BI SaaS platform, allowing several clients (different departments of the same enterprise, but also different companies) to connect to the same infrastructure, where Pentaho is a dedicated solution. This is for me the main advantage of Openi over other Open Source BI Solutions, and this is a big one.
The features I’d like to see on Openi 3.0 would mainly be :
  • allow finer control of users rights on a project. Today there are 3 users type : application admin, project admin, project user. It would be great to have optionnal settings on project admin for example, giving this profil the rights to create a limited number of accounts for its project. So an optional “accounts quota” setting would be nice.
  • As I see Openi as a great SaaS BI solution, it would be great to allow complete separation of different projects databases. Today to my knowledge the Projects in OpenI use different tables, but in the same database (same MySQL database for example). I would like to be able to define separate database for different projects, and then permit a total separation of projects datas (each project could have its own MySQL database). That would be a real plus in terms of scalability and security.
That’s my 2 cents for OpenI, which is a great BI tool.
By the way, is there any plan for a General Availability version for OpenI 2.0 ?

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