by August 1, 2010 0 comments

Business intelligence (BI) which is also referred to as a decision support
system aims to support better business decision making. The role of BI is to
analyze internal, structured data and business processes using technologies,
processes and applications. The common functions of business intelligence
comprise of reporting, data mining, text mining, online analytical processing (OLAP),
predictive analysis, etc.  The BI applications can be driven by user demand,
centrally initiated or mission-critical, enterprise-wide or restricted to one
division, project or department. However, with a slew of  Open source BI tools
available in the market today, choosing the right one is not an easy job. Here
we discuss the installation, configuration and capabilities  of Pentaho Open
Source BI tool.

Pentaho BI platform offers reporting, data integration, data mining, analysis
and dashboard capabilities. The Pentaho BI platform which is designed around
these BI services provides the architecture and infrastructure which in turn is
required to build complete solutions to business problems. The foundation of
Pentaho’s BI platform is provided by Authentication, rules engines, workflow,
logging, auditing and a solution engine. Whereas the higher-level, business user
functionality is provided by the service-oriented components such as Pentaho
reporting, Pentaho dashboard and analysis. The Pentaho BI platform is basically
the infrastructure and core services necessary to build , deploy, execute
applications that integrate BI components to complete the suite.

This is the Pentaho user console which can be opened by
typing http://localhost:8080. It allows you to create new reports,
dashboards, etc

There are different ways in which the BI suite enterprise edition can be
deployed. For instance it can be deployed as an on-premise application or as an
On-demand application with infrastructure. It can also be deployed as an
on-demand application hosting and management services provided by Pentaho. The
Pentaho BI enterprise edition suite also provides additional capabilities that
includes software maintenance, technical support program, certified software,
product expertise and a software assurance program. We would now lets look at
the Pentaho’s BI suite capabilities one by one and the installation and
configuration part.

These images represent the installation wizards screenshots
that include Pentaho BI applications to install, password for BI server,


this image represents enterprise console which is accessible
by typing http://localhost:8088. it contains modules like
admin,configuration, etc.


This image represents the step to create a new report
wherein it prompts to select data source followed by report settings.

Installation and configuration
Pentaho Enterprise Edn can be installed on both Windows & Linux. The website
gives you the option to take a test drive of the suite. We downloaded the entire
Enterprise Edn of approx 800 MB  and took the demo drive of the suite. The very
first configuration wizard gives you the option to check and install different
modules according to your choice. You can select the modules like BI Server,
Analyzer, Data Integration, Dashboard Designer, etc to be installed. Then it
prompts you to enter the password for repository that stores the contents such
as reports, dashboards, etc. It also installs MySQL that in turn contains the BI
server’s solution repository. After this, it again prompts you to enter password
details for the administrator account. This account would be responsible for
logging into the Enterprise Console. Now, to access the enterprise console, just
type in http://localhost:8088/ in your browser. The Pentaho User console can
also be accessed locally by typing in http://localhost:8080/ and then it prompts
to enter the login credentials. From the user console, you can start making new
reports, new analyzer reports and new dashboards. The enterprise console
contains modules like administration, status, configuration, utilities, support,
etc. In the administration module, you can add users, configure database
connections, etc. In the configuration section, you can do web settings, manage
repositories, etc.

Pentaho Reporting
For any organization, reporting is considered as an important aspect which
is  a core business intelligence need. Being used in different forms in
organizations, it is also frequently the first BI application deployed. The
Pentaho reporting capabilities includes web-based ad hoc query and reporting for
business users, data source support including relational, OLAP,  based data
sources. With Pentaho report designer, it makes easy for the report authors to
design reports, to connect to data. It also provides a rich set of features that
are delivered via Open Source model. Thus the Pentaho reporting makes it easy
for an organization to easily access, distribute information across customers,
partners and employees.  In just few simple steps, reports can be quickly
designed using the streamlined report wizard. You start by selecting the ‘New
Reports’ menu on the console. Then choose the data source, thumbnails, templates
from the options available. Once the configuration part is done, you just need
to click on the View Report button and you are ready to go.

This shows the dashboard’s capabilities wherein it allows
you to drill down to specific information you want.


This shows the different labels that we chose from the list
of given options along with its preview. The structure, data, style and its
attributes are shown on the right hand side.

Pentaho Analyzer
This particular feature lets non-technical business users understand and
take important decisions based on the analytical reports. The Pentaho analyzer
provides an interactive way through which reports can be generated easily. This
web-based intuitive platform allows to do sorting, filtering, drag and drop
based report creation, chart visualizations and much more. To begin, from the
dashboard, select the New Analyzer report followed by the schema and cube. To
build reports, you simply need to drag the fields and it also gives you the
choice of viewing your reports in table, bars, pie, stack forms, etc.

Pentaho Dashboard
Talking about dashboard, it is basically a user interface that organizes and
presents information in a very readable manner. Dashboards is also a management
tool that uses combination of graphs, scorecards & report components. By the use
of these different combinations, it helps in delivering current, specific &
relevant information to employees.

Thus because of dashboards being highly visual, they are easy to read and
interpret and helps in answering critical questions about the performance of the
employees specific departments. It also enables employees to know that the plan
they are implementing is effective, how it compares to the competition & any
metrics defined by us.

The Pentaho Dashboard helps business users in providing the critical
information they need in order to improve the organizational performance. It
also provides a detailed insight into the enterprise, individual or departmental
performance. To create a new dashboard, from the user console select the New
dashboard and after that select the template followed by theme and its
properties. The content that you want to display, created in a dashboard can
include reports, charts and also Pentaho analyzer reports.The Dashboard module
contains different files such as Google maps, KPI dashboards, Revenue analysis,
sales analysis, etc. It also allows you to display different content types in
the dashboard such as charts, data table, file, URL, etc. So, for instance, by
the collaboration of google maps in Pentaho, a sales manager is able to see
different sales & other information regional wise. Also it would help them to
drill down into the sales details.

Pentaho Report Designer
The Pentaho Report Designer as a part of the enterprise edition is included
in the design tools. This application  provides a visual design environment to
create report definitions. There are two ways in which the report definitions
can be saved after executing, locally via Pentaho report designer or publishing
it through BI Server. Thus it allows many people to access and schedule report

To begin after selecting the PRD, it prompts to select the report wizard or
create new report. We selected the report wizard. First it ask to select the
template from different categories, like fall, spring, Pentaho, etc. Then it
prompts to select the data source followed by layout steps, in which there is a
list of available items that you can select. To preview the data, there are
different options to choose from; HTML, PDF, XLS, etc. And to edit any of the
fields, you just need to double click on that label and it shows the structure
along with data on the right hand side.

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