Pentaho Updates BI Tool with Greater Visualization

Pentaho, a provider of business intelligence software, announced a new release of its business intelligence toolset that incorporates interactive reporting and enhanced visualizations for business end users. Pentaho BI 4 Enterprise Edition includes an interactive, web-based report designer that provides more intuitive report-building capabilities for non-technical business users to serve their own reporting requirements without relying on IT. Pentaho BI 4 also includes a new visual interface designed to make BI more appealing and consumable by all users from developers, to power users, to non-technical business users.

To a large extent, Pentaho BI 4 functions as an enterprise data mash-up tool, but with greater front-end capabilities, Ian Fyfe, chief technology evangelist for Pentaho, tells 5 Minute Briefing. "Pentaho BI 4 provides enterprise data mash-up capabilities with an intuitive front-end designed for business-users to interactively report and analyze data, and create dashboards."

As with enterprise mash-up tools, Pentaho BI integrates data from multiple sources on the fly, and then "streamed to the consuming application - either Pentaho or third-party application, via web services," says Fyfe. "In addition, we of course continue to allow customers to also physically load the integrated data into more traditional BI-optimized data marts or warehouses."

Pentaho BI is designed to enable non-technical business users to dynamically interact with saved reports by applying sorting, filtering, groupings and summary totals on the fly, and create highly formatted, interactive reports with zero training and no dependence on IT or power users.

Power users and business analysts also can employ Pentaho BI to enhance data discovery with new multi-chart visualization capabilities, and take advantage of interactive drillable charts to drill up and down through data hierarchies and link visualizations to related content. The new toolset also includes dashboard-level filters and ability to link to additional content. They can also access Pentaho's semantic metadata layer to interactively report and analyze data in a self-service, web-based environment without having to know SQL or MDX.

Pentaho BI is also intended to help developers and administrators access data from a wider range of Big Data stores including Hadoop and NoSQL, and leverage new, tighter integration with high performance data marts and data warehouses including EMC Greenplum and Ingres Vectorwise.

To a large extent, Pentaho could replace many of the traditional OLAP tools now being used on corporate desktops, Fyfe says. "The new interactive reporting capability provides lightweight data analysis capabilities such as sorting, grouping, filtering, and calculations - which could in some cases be an alternative to traditional OLAP tools," he explains. "It also includes the Pentaho Analysis product, which provides full-featured OLAP capabilities for more advanced data analysis requirements." 

Pentaho BI 4 is available under both a commercial or open source license, says Fyfe. "However some features, such as the new interactive reporting and data discovery, are restricted to the commercial version, while others such as the new enhanced and customizable user interface are included in the open source version."

More information is available at the Pentaho website.