Last week I attended salesforce.com’s Dreamforce user conference in San Francisco (Twitter #DF10). As a user of salesforce applications for the last four years in my previous positions, I was familiar with its analytic capabilities, or lack thereof. Certainly you can accomplish simple reporting and produce dashboards displaying salesforce data, which is adequate for narrowly focused reporting and analysis. However, as a user I was underwhelmed. For example, there are no built-in capabilities for pixel-perfect reporting, drill-and-pivot navigation of data, advanced visualization or predictive analytics. But if you need to perform serious what-if analysis or predictive analytics against your sales and marketing data, you’ll have to do some custom programming at least to make it work in salesforce. Given the overall importance of business intelligence, I was expecting to hear more at Dreamforce about new analytics capabilities for specific lines of business.
Talend, a vendor of open source data integration tools, recently announced its acquisition of Sopera, an open source application integration company whose products are based on a service-oriented architecture (SOA). It simultaneously announced an additional $34 million of funding. As I pondered what the announcements mean, I couldn’t help but think of the bigger picture. Is this entrepreneurial action typical of an open source vendor?