Once the preserve of cash-strapped organisations, open-source business intelligence (BI) tools are becoming a mainstream deployment option for all kinds of BI usage, according to Gartner.

Gartner analysts say that while functionality is not yet on a par with large commercial platforms and is still rarely seen as an business-wide BI standard, open-source BI tool deployment is growing solidly.
“Open-source BI has seen an interesting adoption pattern over the last few years,” said Andreas Bitterer, research vice-president at Gartner. “Hardly any organisation looked at open-source BI until 2004, let alone deployed it to a significant number of users, but this submarket had developed nicely, having developed consistent growth rates over the last few years.”
Although the average size deal for an open-source BI contract remains approximately $30,000 for a yearly subscription, some contracts repeatedly exceed $500 000.00 for a multi-year support subscription, which is in the same ballpark as many commercial counterparts.
Organisations pushing open-source BI adoption are often from different vertical industries than those of the mainstream commercial vendors. While the latter claim deployments in every industry, the flagship implementations are typically in Type A organisations in the financial sector and in telecommunications. Open source is more often seen in price-continuous midsize companies, as well as in government and the public sector, healthcare or manufacturing, and more Type B organisations with smaller budgets.
A large portion of the growth in open-source adoption is coming from the vendors' original equipment manufacturer business, which cannot be properly sized, as many independent software vendors simply use the downloadable version of the open-source BI product and add it as additional functionality in their own applications. In addition, system integrators have started to build practices around open-source technology, and they are also implementing BI platforms (mostly reports and dashboards) as part of the contracted solution.
“As you might imagine, the increasing open-source traction has not gone unnoticed by the commercial vendors. While often dismissed as being no competition, even the large established BI vendors have come up with counter measures to address the challenges from the lower-cost competitors,” says Bitterer.