Consider first the surge in demand for information as a service. There seems to be growing demand for easily accessible and reliably consolidated business information to support decision-making.
The more pressure there is on core staff time, and the more dispersed the source data, the harder it is to measure performance, spot good or bad trends, or take positive, decisive action. Any direct-selling software developer or third-party solution provider can tap into this need, by adding an information consolidation and reporting facility into their existing portfolio of products or services.
I have read that there will be strong growth in offerings that consolidate and serve up filtered, decision-supporting information in near real time at the point of need. There is also a desire to extend on-demand information services to mobile users. Information sources will also diversify even more as time goes on.
In my view, ISVs, SaaS providers and system integrators have the clearest line of sight to customer needs, which might be determined by size or market focus, for example.
The challenge for the channel, in my opinion, is to corner the opportunity without over-extending capabilities and resources, upsetting commercial models, or creating new risk.
And I believe this is where open source comes in. The relevance of open source to many pressing business problems is propelling it to the top of many companies’ IT agendas.
By decoupling pure functionality and potential from a particular vendor, an open-source approach offers an unprecedented opportunity to serve up flexible, affordable business intelligence capabilities.
You can form new partnerships easily and at low risk, supplementing your own skills with already-existing functionality and features, instead of having to develop data interrogation and reporting capabilities from scratch.
BIRT, an open-source business intelligence reporting environment, recently passed the 10-million download mark. Such volume reflects increasing numbers of SaaS providers and ISVs embedding BIRT in their own applications – a customisable, visually rich data analysis and reporting environment.
And it is not only small independent solution providers that do this. Some of the biggest names in IT, from CA to Cisco and Siemens, are turning to third-party business intelligence for the reporting functionality they need, without the risk of distraction from their core skills and experience.
You can also partner with an open-source business intelligence specialist offering access to rich, customisable and easy-to-integrate functionality.
David Armstrong is vice president of OEM business at Actuate
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