Interview with Javier Gimenez, director of Litebi


Javier Giménez is the director of Litebi, a newly created company that has developed a Business Intelligence tool based on the SaaS model. It is also the author of the blog todoOnDemand. In this interview he tells us more about your product, your vision for the BI On Demand and expectations for the future.


In LiteBI offer Business Intelligence as a service, something quite novel, especially in our country. You can explain what your product, and why SaaS is defined as?

Litebi offers a different approach to Business Intelligence. We intend to eliminate the cost and complexity associated with this type of model solutions through a Software as a Service (SaaS), is accessible via the internet and pay per use. In summary we eliminate the need for establishing and maintaining the BI solution on the client, with the savings in initial investment in hardware and software, and maintenance. Furthermore Litebi not stop there but greatly simplifies the process of creating the analytical solutions.

Litebi works in three steps:

1 Define the information being analyzed through a web interface. This generates all the data structures and metadata (data warehouse and analytical models (cubes)) necessary to satisfy the information needs of the client. It is a process that is done in minutes. We speak of a datawarehouse and abstracted simplificadísima management. We call liteSpace.

2 Load information from the client systems (ERP, CRM, Excel, Web Services, etc. ..) to the models defined in liteSpace. To do we rely on such a powerful open source ETL layer and a web service that allows to easily build data integration processes very powerful. In this set, which allows us to integrate the information you want to analyze what we call liteIntegrator.

3 Analyze the data once residing in liteSpace, our advanced reporting tools (OLAP) with the end user can, in a very simple and powerful look from any point of view information and generate their own reports that can be shared throughout the organization. It's the end of the reports made to measure or semi-managed chaos based excelsa.

This will eliminate the complexity of deploying a new system in the enterprise, but host your data and indicators of business outside of your company, and organized for analysis and exploitation seems a rather delicate issue. How you ganáis your customers confidence in this regard? 

On this topic, I like to put the example of banks, where is the money? We are accustomed to the idea that the bank saves money and protects our surprise nobody, the information is something like that. Increasing numbers of clients seen as something normal that data is stored on a secure and private, of course, the famous "cloud." The data remain the property of the client, simply outsourced the hosting and processing of information.

It is a cultural change: the Internet is the center of information processing and that means many advantages. How many changes will take time. In United States it is something very normal and most businesses use multiple applications under the On Demand model (see the case of Salesforce with its 50,000 customers) in Spain started to become routine and will be more. Many companies understand well the advantages of not worrying about maintenance and focus on building on the software.

We have built our products with safety in mind at all times. In Litebi, each client has a private insurance, which only he has access (not even us, unless we are permitted), any communication with Litebi be made through secure channels of 128 bits. In addition, the Business Intelligence has the advantage that, so we keep account information from other systems (ERPs, CRMs, etc. ..) so the scenario of "losing" information, it is not possible.

However, I recommend to any client that plants use a software product, On Demand or On Demand, ask for safety and to ensure the guarantees offered by your provider, be assessed case by case basis. 

I liked the comparison of data with the money issue will start saving .. 
Turning to the more technical part, the system of reporting and analysis via the web is efficient? I've seen that BI systems have problems and respond well without leaving a network. If we talk about working on "cloud", and further ensuring safety, not lose some agility to access the information?

Good question, the answer is that agility is not lost but in many cases can be won about traditional deployments. For example, the analysis tool with advanced reporting, all necessary data processing is done on our servers and all that comes to the customer is the answer ready, and that level of communication is no problem, transferred data are few and have a secure channel does not affect performance. Regarding the process of responding in any BI system, working with large amounts of data (millions of records) is very important that these data reside in optimal structures to accelerate the response. Many times in deployments as not all homework is done optimization possible, through ignorance or lack of time. We have automated the optimization (since rates until aggregate precalculate) and is done for all customers already have a large or small amount of data. In general, response times are very fast, except for large data structures, problem solve in a transparent manner suitable for the client hardware. 

As for the daily load process, the customer has to send you information or collect your system? How these processes are designed? What are the main differences in the part of your ETL system with BI as a service over a traditional system of Business Intelligence?

Well, unlike some of our most direct competition, we are of the opinion that in a system of BI ETL processes will still be needed. We can simplify a lot, but there will always occasions when a good job in designing and implementing the processes of data integration will be critical to the success of the BI solution. Litebi has a powerful ETL tool to call liteIntegrator, which consists of a part that runs on the client side, supported by the fantastic open source tool Kettle, and a layer of web services on the side of Litebi. The operation is very simple, implemented ETL processes are executed with a certain frequency, incremental costs, etc ... on the client side, as in any DW system. The difference is that we incorporate the possibility of these processes with the private client services through a web link that allows the information gathered by ETL processes with structures (cubes and dimensions) liteSpace defined in a simple way, and also simplify the incremental costs and other usual problems of ETL processes. There is a very simple editor to do this. Our goal is to develop BI solutions is easier than it has been until now, no denying the inherent complexity of a BI system. 

It must be difficult to develop a complete suite of BI. For the part of ETL comments that you have based Kettle, the Pentaho for ETL. You have done the same with everything else? What parts of your platform is Open Source, and what (if any) are licensed differently?

Well, it is certainly a challenge and something which, to our knowledge, never been done here. We are the first product with an integrated business intelligence and autonomous developed in Spain we have the news. The product is not Open Source, and has been built from scratch with the SaaS model in mind. However, like all software developed today, we have supported in some free software products (under appropriate licenses, MPL, LGPL, etc. ..) especially for the ETL tool, although there are more components such as for AXIS2 layer of web services or some other Java libraries. In fact, the product is built on the framework GWT (Google Web Toolkit), which is also Open Source and a fantastic platform that has greatly facilitated the development. 

See diagram summary of your platform, you can see that you are working on extending it with new features, some as interesting as a tool for semantic analysis. Could you explain what, and when you are expected to be able to start using?

You see, we could summarize the vision we have in the Business Intelligence Litebi on two objectives. First, "democratization" through the SaaS model, to simplify its processes, and a payment model adaptable. Ie make it easy and affordable without sacrificing performance and quality. The second objective would be "extended" and is where modules come liteEureka and liteConcepts.

Without going into details of the first objective is to apply techniques of Artificial Intelligence, Data Mining and Expert Systems, can fulfill the promise of "automatic discovery of information without having to call an expert for this. LiteEureka act as a "sugeridor" or an "expert" to detect patterns of information that may be relevant, interesting clients identify anomalies in accounting, and a long etc. ...

The aim of liteConcepts is even more ambitious idea is to integrate in making business decisions not only information from structured databases to use, but also unstructured information, especially the origin Internet. When ready, liteConcepts should be able to perform tasks such as competitive surveillance, monitor the presence of a mark, find yourself that might be interesting news for the company, discover new competition and potential customers to link structured information (eg . my list of products) with external information (eg news-related products), etc ... live in a world in which they have leaked this information and updated according to the scope of my business can be key to making decisions and not remain competitive.

To develop these modules, we have the Neotec initiative that has recently been approved.

Platform Litebi

What we can count on your clients? Have a specific profile? There are many companies that have already opted to use your platform?

Well, our customer profile, and are current customers, SMEs are often rather large in size, ambitious and eager to do good things. We hope to eventually gain access to larger customers, we believe that easy to change a corporate Data Warehouse offers Litebi is a very important added value for companies of a certain size. At the moment the host Litebi is very good for the times, and especially for the little time we have with commercial actions, since early 2009.

Although customers have not run into tens, understand the advantages of the model and the SaaS model the return on investment before the investment, something to highlight. Our goal is to build in 2009 a good base of satisfied customers and a strong network of partners. 

Speaking of goals for 2009, we are in a time of great uncertainty, and your bet is quite risky, given that currently the Business Intelligence is not the first thing we think when we talk about SaaS. 
What plans you have for the future? Where you see a year away, and within five years, when some say that the BI as a service is something most

In my view 2009 will be a very bad years, and there are certainly a lot of uncertainty, but without claiming to be a highlight both positive expert. First, there are only 10 months of 2009, and although cost a bit more, something probably just end up straightening things, is the law of life. Patience, we must have perspective. This is not 29, and you say I suggest you look at Wikipedia Hooversville. Second, the current cycle is one in which many people realize that wealth is not spontaneous but a history that demands to be created. Unfortunately, mankind does not have the cornucopia, and enjoy the wealth that must be won with talent and effort.

In good times anything goes, businesses can support many inefficiencies and loss account many hidden defects which are now in the light. I personally believe that technology and training are the most intelligent way to overcome these shortcomings and be more competitive. We Litebi designed to be the tool to solve specific business problem, decision making, the more intelligently (powerful, easy, affordable) that we have been able to conceive. We believe that a tool such as ours is necessary and can help many companies without any wastage.

Within a year we have demonstrated this with a lot of satisfied customers in Spain and starting to have a presence in other countries. Within five years it is hard to say, because technology is a very long time. We are convinced that when a technology is when you can contribute something of value, and when we begin to take BI SaaS is now, but obviously, in some organizations, the adoption will be much later because they have invested in BI On Premise-strong.

The Internet is the center of information processing (SaaS Call, Web X.0, Cloud Computing or whatever) is something inherent in the nature of the network and we simply taking steps in that direction. I think the vast majority of information, private and public, will reside on the Internet. Individuals and companies establish relationships on platforms on the Internet, the network will be ubiquitous and flat, while at the same time be safe or to have private areas. We want to contribute our bit to this trend that we believe natural and healthy.

To see how we are given ... :)

And here ends the interview. We thank Javier time he spent and we want the entire team the best of luck in this ambitious project that is sure going to follow very closely from Dataprix.

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