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Actuate revs its business with version 10

Actuate is a small-but-growing open-source BI vendor, with some key metrics now moving in its favor.

In a week that saw open-source ERP vendor Openbravo pull in its millionth download and SugarCRM taking it to Salesforce at its DreamForce Conference, it seems that momentum is growing for open-source applications.

Highlighting this apparent trend, Actuate, an open-source Business Intelligence vendor, has announced version 10 of its product, as well as significant momentum to go with it, as the Actuate team discussed with me by phone:

  • Over five million downloads in the past three years;
  • $8 million in revenue last year and $10.5 million in the first nine months of 2008. Despite the slowing economy, Actuate has maintained its forecast that it will double its open source-related revenue to $16 million in 2008;
  • Actuate is doing particularly well with OEMs, with S1 and Cisco;
  • Actuate's BIRT Exchange community site now averages roughly 30,000 visits per month, with just under 10,000 registered users in just under a year.
  • Actuate closes deals with roughly one percent of its overall developer community. But its success rate with opportunities coming from the BIRT Exchange process is 50 percent, with these commercial downloads/trials increasing roughly 50 percent per quarter.

It's this last data point that perhaps points to the most important trend for Actuate. is the open-source site for the Eclipse BIRT project, but Actuate is already seeing its more enterprise-focused BIRT site (BIRT Exchange) surpass the Eclipse side, indicating strong commercial interest in Actuate's open-source BIRT product.

Actuate 10 makes BIRT ready for any type of deployment, in terms of security, scale, etc. This means that Actuate is ready to go head-to-head against the big proprietary offerings like Crystal. Now that it has a model for reaching developers and prospective commercial buyers, Actuate appears to be well-positioned to accelerate monetization of its products through an economic downturn.

Disclosure: I am an advisor to JasperSoft, an open-source competitor to Actuate. I am also an advisor to Openbravo and SugarCRM.