Talend: Open Source Ecosystem Critical to Its Success
What does it take to build a successful business in the open source channel? That’s a question with no easy answer, but it’s also one the staff at Talend, one of the open source world’s largest commercial organizations, knows something about. I recently spoke with them about the importance of open source to their work. Here’s what they had to say.
First, a little background: Founded in 2005, Talend focuses on delivering data-integration solutions based on an “open core model,” in which the core technology is open source but value-added components, provided by both Talend and partners, may be proprietary.
Talend isn’t the very biggest open source business in existence, but with 400 employees and offices in 13 countries, it represents a powerful force within the open source channel. It also counts 2,500 paying commercial customers for its data-integration products and about 750,000 users of its free tools, making it one of the most important software vendors in its niche.
The Significance of Open Source
As a relatively young company, Talend has expanded at an impressive pace by building solutions from the ground up for a market in which no real open source solution existed previously. Eager to know how important open source development has been to the business, I spoke recently with VP of Marketing Yves de Montcheuil and VP of Indirect Channels Keith Goldstein. They emphasized Talend’s commitment to the open source channel from its beginnings. As Montcheuil put it, “Talend was founded as an open vendor … it’s in our DNA.”
He also noted, however, that “we are not a charity; we are here to run a business. … We have to strike a balance between what we give to the community and what we sell.” Hence the open core business model, delivering some features for free and others for cost.
Talend staff also underlined the key importance of engagement with other sections of the open source community to the company’s growth. From the partners who play a central role in packaging Talend’s technologies and delivering them to customers to upstream developers who contribute code, the organization is deeply engaged within the broader open source channel.
Talend sends code upstream to projects such as Apache to ensure their compatibility with Talend’s products. At the same time, it receives vital contributions from users and third-party developers, who offer services such as community-based support forums and translations of user interfaces into different languages.
Finally, Montcheuil stressed the open source nature of Talend’s products as vital to their adoption by customers. “One of the greatest benefits we are getting from open source is adoption,” he said. “We give our clients the freedom to adopt whenever they want,” without the bureaucratic overhead of proprietary products. Talend staff view this difference as a key advantage over competitors.
Talend continues to expand its presence in the open source channel and beyond, announcing most recently an expanded OEM partner program. The initiative was conceived to increase the number of OEMs actively working with Talend and to help the company engage the OEM market more aggressively.
Montcheuil and Goldstein also pointed to a major new product release in the near future. They didn’t offer details, but we’ll stay tuned for upcoming announcements.