For those of you in the Oracle Business Intelligence space, you have likely heard us or some one else talk about Checkmate in the past. We have several posts on our blog about Checkmate, as well as a YouTube playlist dedicated to it, so I won’t spend too much time in this article evangelizing it. My purpose here is to clarify our new freemium model for Checkmate and talk through why we made this decision.

Free as in Beer

To distinguish the sometimes radically different meanings of the word “free” in the English language generically and open-source software specifically, long-time open-source advocate Richard Stallman coined the phrase “Free as in Beer” to drive the point home. We haven’t open-sourced Checkmate, mostly due to it’s reliance on closed-source software from Oracle, either through Oracle Business Intelligence or Oracle Analytics Cloud. But we are making it completely free to use… free as in beer.

Sweetwater (in Atlanta) paid off a Superbowl bet with Sam Adams (in Boston) by producing “Patriot” for a limited release. Atlantans always pays their debts.

We really mean this. We are actively working with other Oracle BI Partners to assist them with their own implementations, and are developing public material to make it easier to implement. So why did we make this decision?

Checkmate has been a lucrative business for Red Pill Analytics. We have multiple Fortune 500 customers that run their entire development process using our product, and in the past we’ve charged an annual license for this. But we’ve also learned a few things during our tenure selling Checkmate, and we thought it was time to reboot our marketing and sales approach. You know… put everything on the table. Consider all options. #ChallengeEverything.

Here is what we’ve learned:

Long Sales Cycle

It usually took a long time to sell Checkmate. Really long. This involved lots of demos, proofs-of-concept, question-and-answer sessions, etc. It was all very involved. And frankly… the price we were charging for Checkmate often didn’t justify that kind of investment from us. We just needed to get the product in users’ hands, as easily and efficiently as we could, and let it speak for itself.

We Believe this is the Only Way to do OBIEE Development

We wrote Checkmate because the OBIEE development lifecycle is broken. That’s as delicately as I can say it. BI and Analytics development is real development, and the lifecycle needs to represent that fact. Source control is a necessity. Either GitFlow or GitHub Flow is a necessity. Equal support for metadata and the catalog is a necessity. Regression testing is a necessity. Automated deployment is a necessity. Checkmate is the only solution on the market that addresses all of these things, and we want it to be the status quo for OBIEE development. Because it’s the right thing to do.

We Want to Use Checkmate with Our Own Customers

This is the primary reason we made the decision we did. Since the day we hung out our shingle, Red Pill Analytics has offered Capacity Analytics, and this is still the primary way we engage with most of our customers. We have always offered Checkmate Cloud free of charge to our Capacity Analytics customers, but this simply hasn’t moved the meter when those customers are firmly planted on-prem. Of course, we could offer Checkmate for OBI on-prem in those situations as well, but our customers were often too concerned with posterity to pull the trigger. “What happens if the engagement ends? Will we then need to purchase a license for Checkmate separately?” These eventualities made it difficult for us to use Checkmate for our own customer projects, and we lost all the productivity gains that our consultants were used to.

Introducing Checkmate for OBI… Free!

We are all working hard to make the transition to free Checkmate for OBI. First, we’ve structured a subscription model for those organizations that want more stability and support with their OBIEE development process. We are converting our licensed customers to an equivalent subscription, and those customers can then choose whether to renew that subscription at the same interval with which they have renewed their software license. We believe we still have a lot to offer organizations using Checkmate, and our subscriptions can be purchased if and when the time is right.

 

See the Red Pill Analytics website for more information.

When looking at subscription offerings, you’ll notice the breakdown between Studio and Build Framework. Studio is simply the user-facing client that developers use as part of the process of building content in OBIEE. It facilitates the simultaneous development of both metadata and catalog content in a single feature using either the GitFlow or GitHub Flow process. The Build Framework is the Continuous Delivery and DevOps aspect of Checkmate for OBI that enables automated regression testing, automated deployment, and artifact publishing and retrieval. Additionally, we offer the Managed Build subscription, which offers everything from both the Studio and the Build Framework subscriptions, but also includes our Checkmate Analytics framework (look for another post on this in the future), and additional services from us for offloading aspects of the lifecycle.

I’ll be writing more about Checkmate in the coming weeks, so keep your eyes on the blog for more content. And as always… if you have any questions, please email me at stewart@redpillanalytics.com.

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