Evaluating the Total Business Value of Pentaho

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1 Evaluating the Total Business Value of Pentaho Published: April 2015 Analyst(s): James Haight, Research Analyst; Hyoun Park, Chief Research Officer Report Number: A0131 Share This Report What You Need To Know When considering the potential value associated with a successful investment in analytics technologies, decision-makers must recognize the varying areas in which value can emerge. In the quest to transform companies into data-driven organizations, business leaders must understand the varying forms that the data-driven ideal can take. To this end, Blue Hill held in-depth qualitative and quantitative interviews with seven organizations that have deployed Pentaho s data integration and analytics software. Blue Hill offers the findings from our research so that business decisions makers can build their own analytics investment framework with guidance from the experience of these peer organizations. Ultimately, this report highlights the spectrum of value propositions that analytics investments in general, and Pentaho specifically, can provide. About the Subjects Blue Hill interviewed seven organizations that have invested in and deployed Pentaho s data integration and analytics software. The studied organizations ranged in size from small startups to publicly traded industry leaders. Among the studied organizations were a publicly traded Internet services company, an upstart mobile phone service provider, and a major Canadian telecommunications provider that was spinning out a new managed security business unit. Blue Hill also interviewed an industrial machinery monitoring and analytics company, a customer loyalty platform provider for the restaurant industry, a trade marketing research organization, and a targeted advertising provider that uses insights from consumer s financial transactions. AT A GLANCE About this Report Blue Hill held deep qualitative and quantitative interviews with seven organizations to understand how they derived positive ROI from their analytics investments Solution Focus Pentaho s data integration and analytics software Areas of Business Transformation Enhanced business visibility leading to better and faster decision making Efficiency gains through self-service analytics Building new business models and revenue streams Transforming business through Big Data Analytics Blue Hill observed research participants utilizing Pentaho to address a variety of business challenges. From a high level, Blue Hill observed four general areas where participants derived value from their use of Pentaho, including: enhancing visibility into business operations, implementing self-service analytics Copyright 2015 Blue Hill Research Page 1

2 portals, building new business models, and leveraging Big Data analytics as an engine for business transformation. Blue Hill s observations are summarized below. Figure 1: Research Participant Overview Company Business Challenge Value Catalyst Internet Services Provider Mobile Phone Service Provider Major North American Telecom Industrial Monitoring and Analytics Provider Customer Loyalty Program Provider Trade Marketing Research Organization Targeted Consumer Advertising Provider Overwhelmed by customer inquiries and lack of visibility into operations Enormous amounts of customer data & competition against industry giants Limited visibility after acquiring nine companies to launch new business unit Required analysis of 30+ million hours of machine sensor data Wanted to productize data as a value-added service to customers Complexity of tracking retail environment metrics Had to scale to meet new demand to analyze millions of rows of transactions on a daily basis Self-service, new business model, enhanced operational visibility Big data, new business model, enhanced operational and customer visibility Enhanced operational visibility Big data Self-service, new business model Enhanced operational visibility, big data Big data Enhancing Business Visibility Central to the value proposition of analytics is the ability to provide visibility into business operations. Business leaders understand that they cannot improve what they do not measure, and analytics solutions play an instrumental part in creating an environment where outcomes and operations are measureable. Whether reporting on financial performance, marketing campaigns, or sales conversions, the potential value of improved business visibility is enormous. Ultimately, insight into operations leads to faster and better-informed decisions, which can translate into meaningful revenue generating and cost-saving impacts. Copyright 2015 Blue Hill Research Page 2

3 Blue Hill observed several instances where Pentaho demonstrated value in this area. Most notably, in the case of the large Canadian telecommunications provider, Pentaho was instrumental to their success in providing better business visibility. The company had decided to launch a new business unit delivering managed security services and did so by acquiring nine smaller companies. Because each acquired company had its own standards for reporting When you have a lot of manual processes, there is a hidden cost that is worth a lot of money, not to mention it isn t as reliable. Automating analysis has an important strategic advantage. Head of IT Trade Marketing Research operations, it was initially impossible for leaders to have a clear picture of their business in any sort of timely manner. According to the firm s lead technical architect on the project, they could originally analyze performance only on an annual basis during year-end rollups. One consequence was that projects were being sold and delivered on, even if they were not profitable to do so. There was no mechanism in place to flag high-risk opportunities, nor to identify actions for course correction before it was too late. After receiving a mandate from the leadership team, the technical architect engaged with Pentaho to put together a unifying reporting view of all nine companies as they rolled up into the larger business unit. In addition to creating an environment more conducive to faster and more-informed decision making, this had a direct impact on the business unit s bottom-line performance, as it helped them to eliminate unprofitable projects and focus on activities with the highest worth to the company. Enabling Self-Service Analytics The traditional centralized reporting framework of many legacy BI and analytics solutions has fallen out of favor with organizations that want a more nimble and efficient means to distribute insights to those who need them. Recent years have seen the rise of self-service analytics, where individuals have on-demand access to query and drill into data. The value proposition of self-service analytics can have profound effects both on line-of-business and IT productivity. On the one hand, individuals with access to perform their own analysis no longer need to wait for a centralized team to process their request. This not only means faster insights, but also that those closest to the business context at hand are the ones performing the analysis. Copyright 2015 Blue Hill Research Page 3

4 In traditional analytics environments, IT can often find itself inundated by requests for analysis. This can lead to an overburdened data team that spends most of its time struggling to meet the volume of requests rather than pursuing other value-adding initiatives. Here again, Blue Hill observed several research participants that were able to leverage Pentaho to deliver self-service analytics and realize significant gains. As profiled later in this report, the internet services provider was able to shift the nature of its analytics team from reactive to proactive. Prior to implementing Pentaho, the company was weighed down by constantly answering inbound Tools like this allow startup companies to compete on an equal footing with the established companies. We are a growth company and we are massively scalable. Not many additional things have to happen in the Pentaho framework to reach the scale we need. Chief Operating Officer Mobile Phone Services customer requests. In fact, the team was spending virtually all of its time answering requests, and was unable to provide analysis beyond the most basic levels of reporting on the business itself. With Pentaho, the company built a self-service portal for customers to access and dig into data to answer their own questions. By doing so, the data analyst team was almost immediately freed of this responsibility, and could begin working on value-added projects analyzing different sectors of the business, such as advertising campaigns or product pricing. Blue Hill observed that implementing the self-service portal was the equivalent of saving the resources of 3.5 full time employees. In a similar vein, the customer loyalty program provider also presented a compelling use case for self-service analytics. They too built a self-service portal meant to be accessed by their clients, and they did so by providing a client-branded portal. Pentaho enabled the firm to build a multi-tenant environment that allowed clients to access their individual data sets without privacy issues. The level of insight that this portal provided proved extremely valuable to clients, and has become the cornerstone of an additional product offering to their client base. As a result, the subject was able to repackage, productize, and sell data that it was already collecting without increasing internal demand on their data analyst team. Building New Business Models Making more comprehensive use of the data available to organizations has the opportunity also to unlock new business models. This can come in a variety of forms, whether it be productizing existing Copyright 2015 Blue Hill Research Page 4

5 data, or supporting a product launch with newly discovered trends. Each research participant was able to use the insights they garnered through using Pentaho to bolster a competitive advantage or support a new venture. However, the potential of comprehensive data analysis was magnified in the case of the upstart mobile phone service provider. Launched in 2012, the company is bringing to market a radically different approach to wireless contracts. They offer their customers free mobile services, wireless Internet, and home broadband over existing networks from other infrastructure providers such as Sprint s LTE network. The company was founded by web entrepreneurs, and understood that data analysis was critical to successfully disrupting incumbent industry giants. Moreover, they had an understanding of the immense volume of data that they would need to process. As such, the leadership team made a point to deploy Pentaho throughout the company even before it publicly launched. Because they are a provider of a freemium service, the executive team understood that maximizing customer conversions from the initial free offering to a value-added paid offering was the crux of their business. Through using Pentaho, the analytics team is able to analyze massive amounts of customer data to understand trends, target promotions, and optimize conversion rates. The subject disclosed that through continued use of analytics, they were able to take conversion rates from 5% in an unmanaged environment to 50% in their current environment. This is orders of magnitude higher than typical conversion rates for freemium offerings, and is critical to the success of the organization. Enabling Big Data Analysis & Catalyzing Business Transformation A key finding throughout the course of the research was the robustness of the Pentaho platform to handle data at extremely large scales. Research participants cited Pentaho s superior ETL capabilities via Kettle, ability to connect and extract value from Hadoop ecosystems, and general ease of handling millions of rows of data as marked differentiators. Social streams, machine sensors, and transaction logs are three of the most common sources of Big Data feeds. Whether companies proactively embrace Big Data analysis or are pulled into it to through business necessity, doing so can have a transformative impact on the organization. Blue Hill observed several of the studied organizations that were performing analysis at the scale of millions of rows. Copyright 2015 Blue Hill Research Page 5

6 The industrial monitoring and analytics provider is a prime example of leveraging Pentaho for Big Data use cases as it needed a way to process the 30+ million hours of machine sensor data they were collecting. Originally, the firm got its start monitoring individual assets, such as engines or equipment on a production line. However, they realized there was an opportunity to scale up their operations from individual assets to fleets of assets, and provide richer analytical context to their clients. In doing so, they were able to substantially grow their business. In order to undergo this transition, they needed to chose an analytics solution that could handle the massive influx of data processing that their new operations would demand, and that was natively adept at industrial-related analytics, rather than one built primarily for sales and marketing and retrofitted to their use case. We did a formal scan of the market. A lot of solutions hung their hat around sales and marketing analytics, but those can t really handle what we needed them to do. We needed something that could process data on a much larger scale, something that could handle machine sensors. General Manager Industrial Analytics Provider The targeted consumer-advertising provider allows merchants to create personalized offers, and make them immediately available through credit cards and mobile devices. Through this process, the company analyzes a vast number of financial transactions for its clients. As the company continued to grow, it began receiving requests to analyze millions of rows of data from individual clients. It soon became clear to the management team that they were at a crossroads, where they needed to invest in massively scaling their analytics capabilities to continue to deliver on customer demands. Pentaho was a key component to this, as it allowed for a relatively easy transition to building out a Hadoop environment by keeping the front-end interface consistent. The resulting transition to a joint Pentaho-Hadoop environment has allowed the firm to evolve to meet the growing data analytics needs of its core offering and to be better-positioned for the analytics challenges of the future. Copyright 2015 Blue Hill Research Page 6

7 ROI Spotlight Achieving 588% ROI: Case in Point In addition to the qualitative interviews, Blue Hill conducted a deep quantitative study of the specific financial impacts that the Canadian based Internet services provider experienced from their investment in Pentaho. Using our structured financial methodology, Blue Hill formally calculated the three- and five-year return on investment that the company experienced. The primary value from their investment came from the use of Pentaho to create a self-service portal for customer s analytics inquiries. Prior to investing in Pentaho, the internal data analyst team was spending inordinate amounts of time hand-scripting PHP codes to build queries and answer inbound requests from customers. The team was made up of the equivalent of 3.5 full-time employees and they were spending virtually all their time reacting to client requests. The VP of Engineering who oversees analytics investments and orchestrated the deployment of Pentaho noted that this disappeared almost immediately as soon as the self-service portal was built. Because Pentaho removed a huge burden on the data team, they could, for the first ROI Spotlight The Company Publicly Traded Internet and Services Provider The Challenge Scaling reporting environment to meet growing needs of the business The Solution Pentaho s data integration and analytics software The Impact 3 year ROI: 542% 5 year ROI: 588% Cumulative Net Value: $1,432,248 Learn More Read Blue Hill s dedicated ROI case study Achieving 588% ROI Through Customer Self-Service Analytics & Enhanced Decision-Making to learn more time, focus on actually analyzing and improving business operations. Blue Hill observed a number of high-impact projects that were a direct result of the Pentaho investment. For instance, the team was able to construct a dynamic pricing model for their newest and fastest-growing product offering that led to higher rates of customer acquisition, and ultimately, higher revenue. The team also uses Pentaho to analyze the effectiveness of advertising spending. Through their analysis, they were able to optimize their advertising spend on audio promotion spots, and achieve the same results while spending 50% less every year. Blue Hill evaluated the costs of the Pentaho investment by accounting for licensing costs, service agreements, physical infrastructure, and implementation consulting fees. To quantify the expenditures associated with the person-hours of training and deploying Pentaho, as well as the value gained by IT staff productivity, Blue Hill used a blended approximation of market rates for employee compensation. Ultimately, Blue Hill calculates that the Internet services company saw a 3-year ROI of 542% and a 5-year ROI of 588%. Business decision makers should note that the pricing of Pentaho is based on utilization and Copyright 2015 Blue Hill Research Page 7

8 core usage rates rather than per-seat licenses, meaning that costs and thus expected ROI will vary depending on specific use cases. Blue Hill s calculations are summarized below: Figure 2: Value Summary Initial Gains TCO Reduction Productivity/Savings - $307,143 $307,143 $307,143 $357,143 $357,143 Revenue $20,000 $20,000 Asset/Tax Total Benefit $- $307,143 $307,143 $307,143 $377,143 $377,143 Source: Blue Hill Research, April 2015 Figure 3: Calculated Return Initial Gains Cumulative Value $(43,467) $238,676 $520,819 $777,962 $1,105,105 $1,432,248 Cumulative ROI 0% 349% 557% 542% 571% 588% Source: Blue Hill Research, April 2015 Copyright 2015 Blue Hill Research Page 8

9 Key Takeaways and Recommendations The experience of the studied organizations exhibits the array of avenues through which businesses can derive value from their analytics investments. Pentaho itself presents a compelling value proposition given its versatility to address a variety of data-related business challenges across a range of organizations, from disruptive startups to well-established industry leaders. Blue Hill has documented Pentaho s value in both advanced Big Data use cases as well as core BI functionality, and offers business decision-makers the following recommendations in defining the business value of analytics: Understand the Potential Value of Core Analytic Use Cases: While the documented use cases around embracing big data analysis are compelling, the transformative power of providing self-service analytics and better visibility should not be overlooked. Business leaders should assess the particular data challenges and understand the genesis of the pain points that they are experiencing. If there is a lack of visibility into business operations, is it because existing analytics investments can t provide the needed view, or is because the analyst does not have time to build out these capabilities? Decision makers should ask themselves the question of what their internal analytics team could accomplish if they were no longer overburdened by requests. The value of operations reporting and self-service access often manifest themselves in the form of efficiency and productivity gains, which can make them inherently difficult to quantify. However, as shown in the case of the internet services company, the financial implications of such gains have the opportunity to be significant and persistent. Understanding which processes are time-intensive yet replicable is the first step in capitalizing on these opportunities. This is especially important for fast-growing organizations that are trying to scale without overextending headcount. Opportunities for Building New Revenue: With enhanced ability to analyze data also comes innovative ways to build new business models or otherwise productize newfound insights from data or capacity to process data. Business leaders should consider opportunities where insights can be repackaged as a value-added offering to either a new or their existing customer base. This can be delivered in the form of self-service portals, additional analytical services provided, or in a consultative engagement. Bringing novel approaches to data analysis has the potential to create competitive advantage from the standpoint of quicker and better decision making alone, however, savvy organizations will also see it as an opportunity to broaden their products and services portfolio. Big Data Analytics as an Engine for Business Growth: Blue Hill repeatedly observed Pentaho s core strength in analyzing data at immense scales. This led to research participants using Pentaho as a critical component to their business transformation. The industrial machinery-monitoring provider was an early adopter of Big Data analytics because the company realized the demand for their services at a larger scale. In this case, Pentaho was the stepping-stone to move from monitoring individual engines and pieces of Copyright 2015 Blue Hill Research Page 9

10 machinery to entire fleets, and providing enhanced analysis on the data they collected. Other research participants recognized that Big Data analysis was becoming a competitive necessity, as the amount of the data they were processing was quickly growing beyond the capacity of their existing systems. To maximize the value of analytics, companies need to be aware of the full array of analytic value propositions, ranging from operational optimization to transformative business processes. By accurately identifying all of these opportunities and diversifying the business value associated with analytic and Big Data usage, business leaders can better position their organizations for analytic excellence. Copyright 2015 Blue Hill Research Page 10

11 ABOUT THE AUTHOR James Haight Analyst James Haight is a research analyst at Blue Hill Research focusing on analytics and emerging enterprise technologies. His primary research includes exploring the business case development and solution assessment for data warehousing, data integration, advanced analytics and business intelligence applications. He also hosts Blue Hill's Emerging Tech Roundup Podcast, which features interviews with industry leaders and CEOs on the forefront of a variety of emerging technologies. Prior to Blue Hill Research, James worked in Radford Consulting's Executive and Board of Director Compensation practice, specializing in the high tech and life sciences industries. Currently he serves on the strategic advisory board of the Bentley Microfinance Group, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to community development through funding and consulting entrepreneurs in the Greater Boston area. CONNECT ON SOCIAL bluehillresearch.com/author/james-haight/ For further information or questions, please contact us: Phone: +1 (617) Fax : +1 (617) LinkedIn: Contact Research: Blue Hill Research is the only industry analyst firm with a success-based methodology. Based on the Path to Success, Blue Hill Research provides unique and differentiated guidance to translate corporate technology investments into success for the three key stakeholders: the technologist, the financial buyer, and the line of business executive. Unless otherwise noted, the contents of this publication are copyrighted by Blue Hill Research and may not be hosted, archived, transmitted or reproduced, in any form or by any means without prior permission from Blue Hill Research. Copyright 2015 Blue Hill Research

12 ABOUT THE AUTHOR Hyoun Park Chief Research Officer Hyoun Park is the Chief Research Officer of Blue Hill Research where he oversees day-to-day research operations, delivery and methodology focused on vendor and technology selection. In addition, Park covers analytics and enterprise mobility technologies as a noted advisor, social influencer, and practitioner. Park has been named as a top 10 Big Data, analytics, and mobility influencer including quotes in USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, and a wide variety of industry media sources. Over the past 20 years, Park has been on the cutting edge of web, social, cloud, and mobile technologies in both startup and enterprise roles. Park holds a Masters of Business Administration from Boston University and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Women's and Gender Studies from Amherst College. CONNECT ON SOCIAL bluehillresearch.com/author/hyoun-park/ For further information or questions, please contact us: Phone: +1 (617) Fax : +1 (617) LinkedIn: Contact Research: Blue Hill Research is the only industry analyst firm with a success-based methodology. Based on the Path to Success, Blue Hill Research provides unique and differentiated guidance to translate corporate technology investments into success for the three key stakeholders: the technologist, the financial buyer, and the line of business executive. Unless otherwise noted, the contents of this publication are copyrighted by Blue Hill Research and may not be hosted, archived, transmitted or reproduced, in any form or by any means without prior permission from Blue Hill Research. Copyright 2015 Blue Hill Research

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