Monthly Archives: June 2010

SaaS or On Site? Who cares with Pentaho On Demand

Pentaho launched their On Demand initiative today: Press Release.

While the launch is new, I know that Pentaho has already onboarded some customers in a quiet soft launch and the response has been very positive.  Why wouldn’t it be?  This offering is the best of both worlds, and makes purchasing a business department driven BI project easy.

SaaS BI’s key selling point (there are many small, nice to haves, but the thing that gets people to reach for their wallet) is the ability to get a solution with an almost total lack of IT involvement.  Throw in non cap-ex expenditures for the solution (4k USD / mo instead of a 30k license) and it’s a huge win.

Business users have their data (feeds, dumps, extracts, or connections to DBs), have the budget but then need the tools/expertise to get their BI system “up and running.”  SaaS and On Demand BI is a perfect fit for these customers – up and running quickly.  Where it breaks down, is that with a SaaS offering, once you go SaaS you can’t EVER go back.  You’re stuck with a solution built entirely upon a proprietary, vendor controlled software and infrastructure.


Biggest draw of SaaS is quick easy startup without IT, and smaller monthly pay as you go
Biggest drawback of SaaS is lock in like you’ve never seen before.  Not just software, but operations as well.

That’s why I find the Pentaho On Demand BI initiative to hit the middle of the sweet (suite?) spot.  It is absolutely the best of both worlds.

Their On Demand offering allows

  • Business sponsors to get a complete BI suite up and running quickly (72 hr challenge is wicked cool) without IT involvement (or minimal).
  • Incremental, pay as you go billing.  This is huge – not sure your BI project will generate a return?  Spin up Pentaho On Demand, do the 72 hr challenge, and shop it around the demo to the users for a month or two.
  • This is what knocks it out of the park though; Once you’re done with your eval/build out you have so many options whereas with pure SaaS you don’t.  Not what the users wanted? No problem: throw it away.  Is what they want?  Keep going On Demand?  On Demand not something your IT likes -> bring it On Site.  That’s right, Pentaho and their hosting partners have designed their On Demand offering to permit shutdown and transport of the machine VMWare images in house.  Even without that, just getting your Pentaho Solution you can install Pentaho locally and run it in house with your reports/cubes/dashboards.

On Demand BI won’t be for everyone – it’s still geared towards people wanting a complete suite of BI tools, and are willing to pay for a private, secure Pentaho instance in the cloud.  SaaS BI will still be better for people who actually prefer ZERO infrastructure and for those that don’t have the budget for a private infrastructure (if you have $100 / mo for BI, this isn’t right for you).

Great news for “frustrated with IT but still wanting to build out a real, long term BI solution” analysts everywhere.  🙂