Open Source BI - free? Free as in...

I am at the Higher Ed Data Warehouse conference (HEDW) sitting in a session describing the procees of selecting a BI platform where cost was one of the primary considerations and amazed at the continued myth that open source is free.

Free as in "free puppies," not "free beer."

This is one of the best analogies I ever heard and I attribute to Linda Hilton from the Vermont State Colleges.

Apparently the institution presenting this session was surprised at the actual cost to pay for support, maintenance, and training. If you are in the process of selecting a BI technology, be sure you research the full cost picture as well as the functionality requirements.

Open Source may be a good option, but there are many commercial options such as Micro Strategy which give their full functionality for a given number of licences before having to pay license fees. SAP Business Objects online has a very low per user per month pricing where you don't have worry about the hardware infrastructure. There are many possibilities to consider.