StoneGate Senior Living experiences 2800% ROI with Pentaho (Success Case)

Article from

by Rosanne Saccone , Pentaho Chief Marketing Officer


In health and senior care, where the top priority is patient well-being, every penny of IT investment has to count.  Therefore, we are excited to announce that our customer, StoneGate Senior Living, has been named a Nucleus Research 2012 Technology ROI award winner.  Nucleus Research granted StoneGate this prestigious award for its integration of social collaboration, mobile access and analytics resulting in a 2800% return on investment!

Nucleus Research’s Technology ROI Award is granted to the top ten organizations each year that have maximized the value per dollar of their IT deployments.  Considering that this year’s award winners have achieved the highest cumulative ROI to date, we are especially proud to celebrate StoneGate’s success.

StoneGate Senior Living, which provides a range of support services to senior living and care properties, had been struggling to track and manage its overtime pay and expenses.  To resolve this, StoneGate established the Pentaho Business Analytics platform as the foundation for a new expense management system.

By aligning IT strategy and business goals using Pentaho Business Analytics, StoneGate has automated expense data collection and analysis across all 30 StoneGate facilities, resulting in an average annual benefit totalling $2,088,677.  StoneGate has achieved many other benefits including reducing overtime costs, accelerating accounts payable and automating other processes. The estimated payback occurred only two weeks into the Pentaho deployment.

Now that Pentaho Business Analytics has been successfully integrated, the sky’s the limit for StoneGate.  We are delighted to have been able to help StoneGate achieve its business goals and we extend our warmest congratulations to their team on this outstanding achievement!

Interested in learning more? Click here to read the case study about StoneGate’s Pentaho implementation, which includes the details of how the ROI for the Nucleus Award was assessed.

via StoneGate Senior Living experiences 2800% ROI with Pentaho.


Pentaho BI Plugins (Fusion Charts + Ruby Steps + BI iPhone + BIRT + Data Cleaner + GeoKettle + Weka Data Mining

Additional Software

There are lots of plugins that enrich the pentaho BI suite. There is a plugin page for the BI Server PUC and for the PDI). I still haven’t tried them all but here are some interesting ones anyway:

BI Open Flash Charts

You can now add the Open Flash graphs in your dashborads in addition to the Open Flash Chart and JFreeChart. This plugin was started from the Pentaho framework so building with it should be familiar. But the stunning graphs come with a v3 which is not OS.

Here are links to the FusionCharts Blog, the Open source version, and the Pentaho plugin.

You can download the 0.02 version and its samples.

To install

  1. Extract the zip file into the /Pentaho/biserver-ce/pentaho-solutions/system.
  2. Extract the samples zip file into the /Pentaho/biserver-ce/pentaho-solutions/bi-developers.
  3. Change the file system/pentaho.xml to include xfusion on the acl-files list:
  4. Open the Pentaho User Console (PUC) and refresh the solution repository.

Here you can see installation, demo and usage in a Youtube video.

Ruby Step for PDI

Slawomir Chodnicki released on march 2011 the Ruby plugin step for Kettle 4 here.

There are examples included in the file you should download in the github page. Click on downloads and the select You already know thay it should be unziped on the plugins folder.

In a forum post some caracteristics are mentioned.

Excel Writer Output PDI Plugin

It is no longer a plugin as it is included in the 4.2 Kettle release, but post about its usage are still labeled as that :)

It let’s you set more options on formating and range.

Release notes and usability post.

BI iPhone plugin

Edit: The infomation below is no longer acurate:

  • Since 3.8 the BI server includes the iPad code, as stated by richad3 on the BI forum. But for 4.0 improvements were made on a week of fun.
    It seems the Enterprise plugin works great with the iPad, check the video. On the CE Edition the PAT/jPivot should work too, I’ll let you know what I find.
  • An alternate option for mobile devices is made on this OS project: PentaGoMo
  • The new site redesign has made the original code (the one that needed fixing) unavailable redirecting everything here.
    That’s bad if you still want to play with your Blackberry, Android or iPhone devices. I’ll let you know what I find.

The original information will remain here until new links and information is found:

The original article about a plugin for the iPhone is as old as this device, it was made available by the now vicepresident of engineering in Pentaho.

The BI PUC detects the browser and present a special menu. When you select an action (for report, dashboard, etc) a special program makes the parameter selection easier and presents one by one. Then the report is shown, you can see this video.

Unfortunatelly some corrections have to be made to the code to work with the new Pentaho BI version. Here are the download and correction instructions from Will Gorman on 2008 and additional ones on 2011 by Herwin Rayen. And a tech-tip so you can modify it further in the BI version 3.0.

There is also an Android app in the marketplace, here is the forum post that mentions it and the link to the 3.5 version.

In the Pentaho Blog an anouncement was made on summer 2011 about a iPad prototype. If you can’t wait “expand the plug in to cover iPad, just modify the Java source code, recompiled its class, then updated the JAR accordingly. This method can be used to expand the plug in to cover Windows Mobile, BlackBerry, and Android” – Paul Pambudi.

If you dont have all these devices you can check the emulators in Firefox’: User Agent Switcher add-on or web-based iPhone browser emulator.

BI BIRT Report ‘Plugin’

You can use the BIRT report view engine in the BI Pentaho User Console (PUC) which is newer and different than the plugin that is used in pentaho.

You have to download an eclipse runtime and extract a directory to your pentaho tomcat/webapss/pentaho folder and also download the samples to your pentaho-sulutions folder. Check the description, instructions and samples here.

Or you can use the plugin for PDI/Kettle to just run and burst your BIRT specifications. Check this link.

Data Cleaning [future] Plugin for PDI

Data validation needs coding in the actual PDI, but a nice open source utility for doing validation and correction exist and it seems it will become part of the PDI soon.

Data Cleaner can analyze, profile, transform and clean data on its own. But Matt Casters is working on a plugin so Kettle can use it. Here is the link that briefly shows its functionality and mentions the plugin here.

GeoSpatial Analisys on Kettle

On July 2011 version 2.0 of GeoKettle was announced by here. It is a step add in for Kettle 4.0 that allows “spatial analysis functions such as buffer calculations, overlays, metric operators, etc” from and to different file formats. It even reads sensors. Sounds like fun.

Weka Plugin (Data Mining )

There are two plugin steps available for PDI ARF Output and Weka Scoring very useful combined with Weka

You can use the Knowledge Flow Plugin, that lets you use a weka predictive model as a step in a PDI transformation. Install an usage here.



Pentaho Joins Dell Partner Program for Big Data

Pentaho Joins Dell Partner Program for Big Data.


GREAT NEWS Pentaho Fans!

Pentaho Joins Dell Partner Program for Big Data

The opportunity that big data analytics provides for organizations to innovate quickly, predict events and improve customer relationships is endless. Our own customers including Shareable Ink, Travian Games and TravelTainment are using big data analytics today to analyze clinical data, innovate computer games and design targeted promotional campaigns – just to name a few.

Two key themes in of our vision for the future of analytics are to integrate with the leading technology partners in the big data analytics ecosystem and to enable cloud-ready applications.  In light of this, I am incredibly pleased to announce that today Pentaho is part of Dell’s Emerging Solutions Ecosystem, a new partnership program announced last April with the aim of focusing on cloud and big data enablement.

Pentaho’s big data analytics software will be offered with the Dell Apache Hadoop Solution, which brings together Cloudera’s distribution of Apache Hadoop, Dell’s hardware reference architecture and Dell’s Crowbar software, which automates and accelerates the deployment, configuration and ongoing operation of your cloud or cluster environment. The combined solution will also be offered with joint services and support.

What does this mean? I’ve had many conversations this year with customers who’ve told us they need to ‘operationalize’ Hadoop and that’s exactly what this partnership is about.  In a nutshell, this partnership makes it faster and easier for organizations to gain total insight from all their data through a single appliance that combines Hadoop integration, data integration and out-of-the-box analytics.

Why did Dell select Pentaho to be part of the Dell Apache Hadoop Solution? A major factor is that we were one of the first movers in the space announcing support for Big Data in May 2010 and we have many customers doing real work with big data.  We’ve also been working with Cloudera since October 2010 and have a longstanding strategic relationship with them, which includes technology integration.

The partnership means that Dell’s dedicated, big data sales team will now be reselling Pentaho directly into existing and new Dell accounts, initially in North America and other parts of the world very soon.  The Dell partnership also further commercializes Pentaho’s relationship with Cloudera by providing a vehicle to bring a big data offering to the market.

We look forward to helping you achieve your business goals through this important new partnership. For more information about Pentaho and Dell’s Emerging Solutions Ecosystem please visit


Slowly changing dimensions

Slowly Changing Dimensions

January 25, 2012

The “Slowly Changing Dimension” problem is a common and persistent issue in data warehousing. Simply this applies to records where attributes change over time. Here is an example;  Sue is a customer with a major retailer. She first lived in Potter Heigham, Norfolk. So, the original entry in the customer lookup table has the following record:

lngCustomerURN strName Town County
1001 Sue Potter Heigham Norfolk

Later she moved to Cambridge, Cambridgeshire in March, 2009. How should we modify its customer table to reflect the change? This is the “Slowly Changing Dimension” problem.

There are in general three ways to solve this type of problem, and they are categorized as follows:

Type 1: Replace the old record with a new one, the only problem is that no trace of the old record exists and any historical information is lost.  If for example, we had sales for one region associated with her, when the replacement is done, the sale will move with her.

Type 2: We add a new record to the customer table. We retain the existing history of old transactions against the customer and new transactions are linked to the new customer record.

Type 3: The original record is modified to reflect the change, this generally involves having an additional column (or columns).  This is a simplified Customer record to show how a type 3 record could look.

lngCustomerURN strName strPreviousTown strPreviousCounty strCurrentTown strCurrentCounty
1001 Sue Potter Heigham Norfolk Cambridge Cambridgeshire

It is important to recognise that even with a type 2 change additional fields need to exist in the table in order to ensure that the data retain their integrity.

lngCustomerURN strName strTown strCounty blnActive blnDateActive
1001 Sue Potter Heigham Norfolk False 22/11/2003
1001 Sue Cambridge Cambridgeshire True 12/03/2009

There is a type 6 change which basically incorporates all the combined functionality of types 1, 2 and 3 combined.  Type 6 was first described by Ralph Kimball who called it a ‘hybrid approach’ combining the three basic techniques.

  • Type 2, creating new rows to capture change
  • Type 3, adding attributes to reflect an alternative view
  • Type 1, which are overwritten for all earlier dimension rows.

Saiku running Mondrian 4

Recently interest in the upcoming Mondrian 4 has increased and as it reaches a more useable state, and Pentaho have started publishing builds to their Artifactory repo, I decided to put together a Saiku & Mondrian 4 build.

This can be found here.

Feel free to download it, especially check out the new style Foodmart schema as schema design is the big new change in Mondrian 4.

Play with it and find out what works and doesn’t. Mondrian 4 requires people to test it, so what better way than whilst taking Saiku for a spin.

Remember it is not for production use, it is not meant for that, its purely a way to get people using a Mondrian 4 pre-release.