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Oracle BI Commentary Tools: Open Source or Enterprise?

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Commentary support in Oracle BI tools has been a commonly requested feature for many years. As with many absent features in our beloved tools, the community has come together to develop methods to implement this functionality themselves. Some of these approaches, such as leveraging Writeback, implement out-of-the-box Oracle BI features.

More commonly you’ll find custom-built software extensions or free “open source” applications that provide commentary extensions.

In this blog post, we’ll look at the difference between custom-built extensions and open-source applications. We’ll also consider two different tools — one open source, another a custom-built extension.

White Paper: How to Add Commentary to OBIEE

Open-Source vs. Software Extensions

With free or “open source” applications, there’s little reason to resort to something as primitive as Writeback. Unfortunately, even though the price is right, these solutions are usually more trouble than they’re worth.

While open source software is wonderful for numerous reasons, it’s also important to be aware of some of the risks when using an open source tool, including…

  • You’re potentially at the mercy of the maintainers for support or assistance, and they have no obligation to help.
  • Without the proper understanding and adherence to the specified license, you could open your business to serious legal violations.
  • The product is only as strong as the community. Without a community of contributors and maintainers, the software will not grow and improve.
  • Dependencies are outside the control of the maintainers. You’re not just relying on one piece of open source code — it’s usually a bevy of other open source applications.

As a result of the above limitations, open source tools suffer from several disadvantages over paid Enterprise extension solutions, such as…

  • A higher cost of implementation
  • An absence of support and maintenance
  • And the all-too-common abandoned code

Open source software also has the allure of “simple customizations.” If you need a custom feature, then you can write it yourself, right? Ignoring the staffing requirements of this approach, the maintenance of custom code is prohibitively expensive, and is often many times the cost of the initial implementation. There’s no need to be responsible for maintaining the code of your tools when you should focus on using the tools instead.

Relying on these tools for your business can trap you in an unfavorable position, stuck using a subpar tool riddled with bugs, with no assistance or response from the maintainers.

Chit Chat vs. CollaborateBI

Take Chit Chat, as the open-source example. It’s a tool that can essentially be used for “free.” But it has yet to reap any benefits of being open source — no new contributions (including both bug fixes and new features), no forks, slow-to-respond support, and only a single developer. Open source software certainly has place in the world of technology, but your enterprise may not be the right place.

If you’re looking for a more robust and reliable solution, consider CollaborateBI — the premium Oracle BI commentary tool. CollaborateBI guarantees benefits you won’t find in an open source tool, such as…

  • Ongoing support
  • Continually delivered features
  • Routine bug fixes
  • And more

In addition to the reliability of a paid offering, you also gain access to premium features you won’t find in the base Chit Chat service, including file attachments, markdown support, and built-in Support Requests.

Furthermore, US-Analytics has qualified software developers ready to implement full CollaborateBI customizations to meet your business requirements. These aren’t open source contributors doing this in their spare time — they’re fully dedicated to serving your business. Trust the professionals to focus on the code and allow your team to focus on the job.

A Feature-by-Feature Comparison

CollaborateBI is always improving, with more features being added and giving your organization the option to customize each implementation. Below is the current feature-by-feature comparison of CollaborateBI vs. Chit Chat.

CollaborateBI Table

Don’t waste time compiling, debugging, and maintaining someone else’s code. CollaborateBI empowers your users to improve the efficiency of your business using the powerful capabilities of commentary without the overhead of the alternatives.

Ready to see CollaborateBI for yourself? Watch the demo!

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