Many companies use business intelligence software from big-name vendors like Microsoft, Oracle, IBM and SAS and/or applications from smaller BI specialists like Qlik and Tableau Software. But it's worth considering open source BI applications, which can offer low cost, ease of customization and other benefits. We've highlighted several open source business intelligence solutions - both free and commercial versions - which can be used as provided, or as base code which can be customized to suit your organization.
Jaspersoft was a top commercial open source software vendor focused on business intelligence, including data visualization, reporting and analytics - until it was purchased by Tibco Software in April.
Its BI software suite, now called Tibco Jaspersoft, is still available in a free community edition, which includes a report designer, a reporting engine, a server repository, report scheduling and mobile BI, along with community forums and a wiki for support.
Available in commercially licensed versions are a cloud-based offering (with pricing starting at less than $1 per hour), as well as more comprehensive Express, Professional and Enterprise editions that include features like interactive visualization and drag-and-drop report designing.
Pentaho offers a free community edition of its business analytics suite, which includes business analytics as well as data integration, a report designer and a marketplace of plugins developed by the community to extend the capabilities of the Pentaho platform.
The company promotes this as an entry-level tool that can be used for testing and evaluation before upgrading to the full commercial product, which includes visual analysis, predictive modeling, dashboards and a mobile element. Download Pentaho Community Edition
BIRT is an open source software project that provides the BIRT technology platform to create data visualizations and reports that can be embedded into rich client and Web applications, especially those based on Java and Java EE.
BIRT is a top-level software project within the Eclipse Foundation, an independent not-for-profit consortium of software industry vendors and an open source community.
RapidMiner is a code-free analytics platform for data mining, machine learning and predictive analytics. This means you can design your data analysis routines visually and speed up delivery by eliminating the need to write code.
It works with a range of data formats including Hadoop, CSV, Excel, Oracle and MySQL. It can be extended with additional plugins created by open source developers in the community, and available in an extensions marketplace.
The Starter Edition is free and allows access to Excel and CSV data. Personal, Professional and Enterprise Editions are also available from $999.
SpagoBI styles itself as the only 100 percent open source, complete business intelligence suite. Its modular architecture, based on open standards, allows easy customization and integration into legacy environments .
Supporting professional services are provided by Engineering Group, the company managing the project on an ad-hoc basis. A one year maintenance subscription, including support, is available from Euros 5000 ($6,250 U.S.) per year.
Other open source BI tools include:
TACTIC is an open source asset management platform that can connect to most corporate systems, offering workflow and project management and business process management, as well as business intelligence. Download TACTIC