Factors to Consider When Evaluating Open Source BI Solutions

Marc Rueter, Director, Sales Consulting - Tableau Software,
Dan Jewett, VP, Product Management - Tableau Software,

In difficult economic times, IT organizations are often looking for ways to save money on enterprise business intelligence (BI) projects. They wonder if it is the right time to take the leap into open source software. Open source is attractive because there are no new software license costs. Companies often think that by abandoning commercial BI platforms in favor of developer-driven open source software, they are ushering in a new era of low cost business intelligence and will see increased use of BI within their organization.

Unfortunately these expectations seldom come to fruition. There are four reasons for this:

  • Hurdles to Business Adoption: will people adopt the application?
  • Total Cost of Ownership: Free licenses do not necessarily equate with low TCO.
  • Time to Production: Waiting to develop, configure and deploy an open source solution often has opportunity costs that are overlooked.
  • On-going Change Requests and Feature Improvements: Endless queue of change requests.
While an open source alternative may initially seem more economical or more likely to deliver rapid BI results, the reality is that deploying these solutions often costs much more than expected. User adoption, TCO factors, time to production and even on-going commitment to report-writing all mean the open source solution will require significantly greater budget and resources than Tableau.

About the authors

Marc Rueter, Director, Sales Consulting - Tableau Software

Dan Jewett, VP, Product Management - Tableau Software