Q&A With Donna Prlich, SVP of Product Marketing and Solutions

1. Tell us what you do at Pentaho.

That’s always a great question to answer. For the last 5 years at Pentaho, I have positioned, worked with, written about and collaborated across departments to help transform the Pentaho platform into what it is today. This past year, I led the Product Management team through one of the most exciting and innovative times for Pentaho while continuing to lead the Product Marketing team, as well as a newly created Solutions team. While it might appear that leading a number of separate teams requires multiple hats, the truth is it allows for better synergy and collaboration between Pentaho Product Design, Engineering and Customer Care. We can better incorporate customer feedback and align with market direction to build a truly market-driven platform.

2. What’s exciting about the recent launch of Pentaho 7.0?

What’s exciting about Pentaho 7.0 is that we are tackling some serious, emerging market challenges. Data volumes continue to grow and the time needed to prepare data for analytics is increasing proportionally. At the same time, the requirement for data governance and security is becoming non-negotiable for businesses. With Pentaho 7.0, we both simplified and removed inefficiencies in the data preparation and delivery process while not compromising on the demand for secure and well-governed data. We’re enabling IT, the business and all the players along the analytics data pipeline, such as data engineers, data scientists and data analysts, to better collaborate on the Pentaho platform for more complete, accurate and faster insights. While Pentaho’s message has always been “BI and DI is better together”, it has never resonated more strongly with the market and our customers than with the recent release of Pentaho 7.0.

3. Can you drill down on some of the specific features?

In keeping with the “better together” message, we have enabled users to visualize data in-flight, from anywhere within the data pipeline, not just after the data has been prepared and exported for analytics. By doing so, we’ve eliminated the need to switch between tools for data preparation and visualizations, removing the barriers between data prep and analytics. In an age where more and more point tools are being introduced into a crowded market to allow individual users to prepare data, we’ve reduced the actual cycles from data prep to analytics for a more collaborative approach. Of course, a foundational and unique piece that enabled this collaboration was the merging of our own analytics and data integration servers into a single server in Pentaho 7.0. In addition, were continuing to deliver foundational big data support and drive ahead of the curve with big data integration. We’ve made Spark accessible and operational with Spark on SQL and extended Spark orchestration. We’ve expanded Hadoop security, enhanced Metadata Injection adding over 30 steps for data onboarding at scale\and simplified the administration of Pentaho. It’s exciting to look ahead to the next big data technologies to help our customers realize value from these tools.

4. How has Pentaho 7.0 changed the way customers collaborate within an organization?

The coolest or one of the coolest things about 7.0 is that it streamlines the dynamic for the entire organization as opposed to just a single user. The reality is there is no one size fits all tool and no single set of “users” of data. Many vendors are bolting on partnering with data prep tools for their analytics or data integration offerings We turned that concept on its head and said “what if we brought the analytics to the data preparation process throughout the process. From raw data to prep to insight. The approach enables a number of players in every organization that are involved along an analytic data pipeline: IT developers, data engineers, data scientists and business analysts. Since we started the journey to 7.0, our goal was to better the collaboration for all players. We brought analytics into the data prep process, and in doing so, reduced the amount of time and individual tools it takes to prepare data with a visual checkpoint built into the process. In our initial stages of building 7.0, we vetted the concepts with a number of customers. One of our global financial services customers helped to pilot the Visual Data Experience and was able to increase the delivery of data to the business from months to minutes by visualizing data earlier on in the process! If we can help all of our customers be that successful, we know we’re continuing on the right track.

5. What can we expect to see next?

Over the next several releases, we will continue to simplify and minimize the iterations between preparing and analyzing data, as well as build in security and governance for the blended world of both traditional and unstructured data –housed on-premise and in the cloud– while innovating to deliver expanded capabilities in the big data ecosystem, such as Spark. We are on a journey, and our roadmap reflects that.

6. What are the best ways for customers to provide product feedback?

We love customer feedback. There are a number of ways for you to provide feedback. You can email myself, Matt Howard, Director of Product Management, or your Customer Success Manager.

Jonathan Shafer

Senior Product Customer Marketing Manager