What is most valuable?
The breadth of features, compared to the simplicity of implementation and use. The product doesn’t try to do everything, for everybody – but it has a broad range of capability. As an implementer, the ease of installation, plus how quickly you can bring a customer up to speed is important.
How has it helped my organization?
I have been involved with the implementation of many BI products; many products are expensive, require complex and difficult implementations, and once installed it is only the start of a lengthy consulting engagement to get the installation to where the customer wants it to be. Yellowfin is the antithesis of this; it installs easily, the configuration is done quickly, and the user can come up to speed quickly (especially if they have used other BI products). As an implementer, this changes how we operate, because we can focus on providing the customer what they want, not just on technical wizardry to get the product operational.
What needs improvement?
I wrote originally that "the Version 7 “minimalist” interface is new and is in the process of maturing" when I first wrote this review. The first release was a bit buggy, but they seem to have gotten on top of that very quickly. They appear to have fixed the bugs and improved it since. The current release very stable.
For how long have I used the solution?
What was my experience with deployment of the solution?
At one site there were some issues with authentication when Yellowfin had been embedded into a frame in a company portal; Yellowfin released a bug fix within a week to sort it out however.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
If the web server is well configured and not competing with other applications, no, but I’ve seen problems if a customer tries to overload the web server with many applications in addition to Yellowfin. This is NOT a Yellowfin stability problem but an environment consideration – provide the right environment and it will be stable. The same could be said about the database – most issues are the result of a poorly configured database, not Yellowfin itself.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
No, scalability is a where Yellowfin shines.
How are customer service and technical support?
So far so good … they are a small company and rely heavily on their wiki and customer forums. Technical Support
Good experiences when a customer needs something fixed.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
I’ve used a number of different solutions, both as a customer, and as an implementer. I’ve seen many sites where a complicated enterprise system locks the customer into the solution which doesn’t meet their needs (for whatever reason; sometimes complexity, other times aging functionality that would take too much effort to update). Yellowfin doesn’t try to do everything – it is a BI presentation and communication tool, and it does it brilliantly. Most customers switch to Yellowfin because they can’t get what they want out of their monolithic legacy systems. It can reside alongside more complex enterprise systems.
How was the initial setup?
Very straight forward. You can have a basic system operating in half an hour if you have a database already on your system (or even if you don’t!). Since Yellowfin (in the initial installation) is essentially a package, there is very little to cause a problem. The most difficult aspect comes later if the customer has their data in a standard normalized database where nothing has been converted for BI purposes (no data marts, star schemas, etc).
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
I’ve had experience with SAS, Informatica, Pentaho, Microsoft … less experience with others.
What other advice do I have?
If it is used in conjunction with a Data Mart creation tool like BI Ready it will ease the implementation. Note: there are a number of products like this – as an implementer this is the one that we have decided to put into our package of products to solve a problem (I’m with QFire, which produces a data quality product that checks data before it is used in the Data Mart). It is so simple to setup a demo version of this product however – talk to Yellowfin about getting a trial download so that you can play with it. You can set it up with an internal database just for that purpose (it wouldn’t suffice using that for production purposes, but it is perfectly good for a play).
Which version of this solution are you currently using?