Any company (be it technology, manfucaturing, human resource, ecommerce, SME etc) always has the need for Business Intelligence to some or the other extent. If cost is one of the consideration factor, then the 2 BI tools which are at the forefront are Pentaho and Jaspersoft. But, often the same companies are caught up in an imbrogilo as to which tool to use, what are the technology/and end business user wise differences/ do i actually need to purchase commercial edition, is there any work around etc.
Differences :- In the below mentioned points, I have tried to cover functionality wise the differences
a. Reports :- Jaspersoft is known for its picture pixel perfect reporting. Jasper uses ireport for designing the reports. Hence, for having reports, Jaspersoft is the most ideal candidate. Pentaho uses Pentaho Report Designer.
b. Dashboards :- Pentaho provides much more capabililties, interactivity in terms of dashboards. Dashboards designed in Pentaho are far more superior in functionality, aesthetically as compared to Jaspersoft. Pentaho CE uses CDE/CDF, Pentaho EE uses PDD . Dashboard functionality is present only in the Enterprise edition of Jaspersoft.
c. Pentaho is having an intermediate layer known as Xactions & hence providing much more flexibility in terms of plugin designing, integration with applications, having out of box experience etc. Xactions supports scripting and scheduling of scripts execution. Jaspersoft dosent provide that much of flexibility in terms of intermediate layer, but never-the-less, Jasper server by default comes with some functionalities like scheduling, for plugin desiging they rely on ireport plugins and Jasper server plugins,
e. Mobile BI compatibility :- Jaspersoft scores higher than Pentaho here. They have BI for iOS, Android platforms. Functionality wise and user interface wise Jaspersoft mobile BI is better. They even have an opensouce Apple iphone application. Pentaho users have to often rely on third party tools to enhance mobile BI experience. But, Jasper provides native mobile API hence helping developers to create mobile applications. Pentaho mobile BI is only present in the enterprise edition.
f. Documentation : Jaspersoft invests a lot of time in documentation. Its pretty evident from that fact that they are having different case studies of the different clients on their website, explaining how Jaspersoft has helped them.
g. ETL : Jaspersoft uses Talend and Pentaho uses Pentaho Data Integrator (Kettle) as their default ETL tools. Kettle is developed by Pentaho organization itself unlike the case of Jaspersoft which uses Talend Open Studio version with some functionalities missing.
h. OLAP Analysis : Both Jaspersoft and Pentaho uses Pentaho Mondrian engine in their BI suite, and it goes unsaid which one will be stronger in this case.
i. Community support : Community support is more in Jaspersoft as compared to Pentaho. Also, the community members are more active of Jaspersoft community, hence if you are using CE, the chances of problem resolution is much more.
j. Plugin : Pentaho is having many plugin which are ready to use like CDE, CDF, Saiku etc. Pentaho is having a highly active community for plugin designing. Pentaho server by default comes with marketplace (just like appstore). Jaspersoft is a late entrant in this field and is currently having very limited plugins till now. They have also started Jasperexchange for their plugins.
k. Data Mining : Pentaho is having data mining module named Weka and Jaspesoft uses R. Again Weka is developed by Pentaho itself unlike the case with R. But toolwise, R is more advanced and more capable as compared to Weka
l. Big Data : Both Jaspersoft and Pentaho provides big data integration services.
m. Unlike Jaspesoft, Pentaho provides a much more tightly integrated BI suite since it has itself developed most of the components.
n. Jaspersoft EE has fusionchart integration. The latest version of Jaspesoft 5.0 EE is having Highcharts integration with it. Pentaho has open flashcharts integration. For geographical charting, Jaspersoft is having mapbox pro whereas Pentaho is having google maps.
o. Summarizing Jasper has a heavy focus on reporting and analysis. It has a better web 2.0 user interface than Pentaho and is generally easier to use. It benefits from better marketing, informational web sites, and documentation. Overall, it makes researching and finding what users need easier than Pentaho. Whereas Pentaho focuses on data integration, ETL, and workflow automation. It has a user interface that is more difficult for business users than is Jasper’s. The documentation is also less robust than its competition. On the other hand, it has strong data mining tools, ETL, flexibility via Xactions.
Which BI tools is to be used, whether enterprise edition has to be purchased or is there any other way out (like best of breed solution of different BI suites, plugin development, data visulization charting engines integration etc) – all these things can only be ascertained by a thorough discussion between the company and the solution provider. Its generally ideal to go and have a consultation with a company having exp in different BI technologies which will be able to give a comprehensive picture and can help the client towards business objective, rather than trying to push their software.