Open-source model comes to BPM

Adaptive Planning releases open-source version of reporting and analytics product

Open-source business models continue to permeate the enterprise applications market, with BPM (business performance management) the latest software to get a makeover, courtesy of formerly closed-source vendor Adaptive Planning.

The BPM software vendor, which targets midmarket and departmental users, officially released Adaptive Planning Express Edition, an open-source version of its product, Tuesday at the LinuxWorld conference in San Francisco.

BPM brings together and automates processes including budgeting, forecasting, reporting, and analytics to help companies improve their business performance.

"We're changing the rules of the game within the BPM space," Greg Schneider, vice president of marketing at Adaptive Planning. The company hopes an open-source product will encourage more general adoption of BPM software as well as net the vendor more customers for other, more sophisticated, paid versions of its software.

Open-source alternatives to existing enterprise software are being already offered by vendors like SugarCRM in the CRM (customer relationship management) market, Pentaho and JasperSoft in the BI (business intelligence) arena and Alfresco Software in the ECM (enterprise content management) software market.

Adaptive Planning positions its offerings between the low-level BPM functions customers can carry out using Microsoft's Excel spreadsheet and the high-end enterprise BPM software from Hyperion Solutions, Cognos, and Business Objects.

Founded in 2003, Adaptive Planning initially focused on providing on-demand budgeting and forecasting capabilities but has widened the scope of its software to include reporting and analytics and on-premise versions of its products. The vendor employs around 35 staff and has over 60 customers, predominantly in the Americas, with annual revenue between $50 million and $500 million.

Users can download Adaptive Planning Express Edition free from SourceForge.net. The software is available under the GNU General Public License (GPL) and runs on Linux or Windows.

Adaptive Planning intends to offer a paid-support option for the open-source software, Schneider said.

The company has two other versions of its software -- Corporate Edition and Enterprise Edition -- which provide more functionality and include paid support for a subscription fee starting from $3,500. Customers are able to access the source code of the two versions and modify them, but can't redistribute the software. The Express version includes about 50 percent to 60 percent of the features of the two other versions, Schneider said.

Adaptive Planning also announced Tuesday a multifaceted partnership with open-source BI vendor Pentaho. The relationship, which Schneider expects to deepen over time, will see the two players work on plans to deliver a preintegrated BPM and BI software suite as well as collaborating on joint sales and marketing initiatives. He didn't provide a time frame on when the combined suite may appear.

"Working together, we can both bring down the likes of Hyperion, Cognos and Business Objects," Schneider said.

Adaptive Planning is also keen to widen its appeal outside the Americas, kicking off a worldwide partner program to attract software vendors and resellers.

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