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Business Objects pioneer embraces open source BI

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The founder, former chairman and chief executive of Business Objects has turned to open source for his latest venture in business intelligence.

Bernard Liautaud has joined the board of open source ETL and data integration specialist Talend following a round of $12m funding by Balderton Capital. Liautaud - a pioneer in BI who helped create an industry with his founding of Business Objects nearly 20 years ago - is a general partner of Balderton, which was an early investor in MySQL.

Talend promises to undercut proprietary and expensive data integration tools such as Informatica's PowerCenter, IBM WebSphere DataStage, and tools from Business Objects' owner SAP. The cash will be used to help fund worldwide expansion.

Talend claimed its customer base has grown more than 300 per cent during the last 12 months, adding the recent economic downturn has not dampened enthusiasm. It also said there's been more than 3.3 million downloads of its flagship Talend Open Studio.

It's not clear how many of those downloads point to paying customers, but the company's customer list does include Virgin Mobile, French railway company SNCF, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Liautaud said in a statement that Talend has proven open source is especially suited for operational data integration. "I am proud to be associated with a category leader and to help IT organizations in companies of all sizes unlock their data assets," he said.

Liautaud founded Business Objects in 1990 as databases and enterprise applications moved into the mainstream with PCs and Intel-based servers, and there was a growing demand for tools that could query and slice data. He was chief executive until 2005 and stepped down as chairman and chief strategy officer in 2008, after SAP announced its decision to buy Business Objects for $6.8bn.

As he handed off Business Objects to SAP, Liautaud said the business intelligence industry was at a "tipping point." ®

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