Skip navigation


6 Posts authored by: Caitlin Croft Employee

We are excited to highlight our active customer experts and their learnings in these Customer Spotlight interviews. In this Customer Spotlight interview, we are excited to feature Jude Vanniasinghe, Development Manager at Bell Canada. 




I started my career with Bell Canada through a recent grad program as a Tools and Productivity Manager. In this role, I primarily focused on automation.  A year later, I took on another role to manage block of telephone numbers within Ontario and Quebec. With the team of seven, I closely worked with Canadian Numbering Association and CRTC to successfully deliver two new area codes in Ontario (London and Ottawa).


Later I moved on to become a Business Intelligence (BI) Manager, as part of the transport-network provisioning team to manage BI reporting developers using web applications and various other BI platforms. In 2008, I progressed onto the Business Intelligence Specialist position, and this is where I got introduced to Pentaho.


In 2011, I got promoted to a Senior Business Intelligence Specialist.  Some of the most interesting responsibilities in this current role are managing the development team, maintaining the architecture of the multi-tier system, training resources on Hitachi Vantara produces, etc.




We mainly using Hitachi Vantara products for Data Integration and Reporting for Professional Services Team within Bell Business Market (BBM) under Bell Canada. Using Hitachi Vantara's Pentaho Data Integration capabilities, we solve most complex data manipulations within a short period of time. This helps us to produce CUBEs, Analyzer-reports, and dashboards way beyond stakeholders' expectations. Quick turnaround time is one the main reasons why Pentaho is the winning tool for our day-to-day activities.





Prior to 2008, I had used Data Transform Services (DTS) from MSSQL-Sever and Web-Focus (Information Builder) for data manipulations. Since 2008, the Pentaho has changed the way the data integration techniques and data-visualization work. Pentaho has made it simpler and easier than ever before. The prebuilt ETL (extract, transform, load) objects and GUI based ETL builder have helped transforming many complex data sets into meaningful data for reporting. Also, the modest nature of the Pentaho products architecture keeps in the Business Intelligence field and supports me growing in this area.





Now we are expanding BI reporting to other services such as Managed Service, Connectivity, etc. within BBM. Expecting to double in size by 2021.





Basically, have a plan from the beginning. First, identify the top business needs and develop a set of business requirements and goals. Identify necessary data sources. Identify the KPIs and metrics and choose the right visualization for each metric. Once these are in practice then final product will be developed smoothly.


Click here to discover more Pentaho Best Practices.





It was really a great experience. We were surprised with the numbers of users from vast variety of companies participated.  It shows that the word is out there and more companies are starting to leverage the usefulness of Hitachi Vantara products as we do. We are looking forward to having another one this summer.


Click here to learn more about the Pentaho Toronto User Group. 


Click here If you're interested in other Pentaho User Groups. 


Do you have a story you want to share? Please reach out to Caitlin Croft to learn how you can be featured. Email Caitlin at:

Our Customer Success & Support teams are always working on providing our customers with tips and tricks that will help our customers with the Pentaho platform.


DevOps is a set of practices centered around communication, collaboration and integration between software development and IT operations teams and automating the processes between them. The main objective is to provide guidance on creating an automated environment where iteratively building, testing, and releasing a software solution can be faster and more reliable.


Our continuous integration (CI) and DevOps series was started to fill a need for increasingly complex information as you learn more. The main objective with this series is to provide guidance on creating this automated environment in which building, testing, and releasing a Pentaho Data Integration (PDI) solution can be faster, more reliable, and result in a high-quality solution that meets customer expectations at a functional and operational level. The Introduction to PDI and DevOps webinar will serve as the “prequel” to more complex concepts.


Our intended audience is Pentaho administrators and developers, as well as IT professionals who help plan software development.


Join us on May 7 2019 - 9am Pacific for our first webinar of our PDI + DevOps webinar series. Click here to register now! If you miss the webinar, you can always watch it on demand afterwards.

Our Customer Success & Support teams are always working on providing our customers with tips and tricks that will help our customers with the Pentaho platform.


PDI Development and Lifecycle Management


A successful data integration (DI) project incorporates design elements for your DI solution to integrate and transform your data in a controlled manner. Planning out the project before starting the actual development work can help your developers work in the most efficient way.


While the data transformation and mapping rules will fulfill your project’s functional requirements, there are other nonfunctional requirements to keep in mind as well. Consider the following common project setup and governance challenges that many projects face:


  • Multiple developers will be collaborating, and such collaboration requires development standards and a shared repository of artifacts.
  • Projects can contain many solutions and there will be the need to share artifacts across projects and solutions.
  • The solution needs to integrate with your Version Control System (VCS).
  • The solution needs to be environment-agnostic, requiring the separation of content and configuration.
  • Deployment of artifacts across environments needs to be automated.
  • Failed jobs should require a simple restart, so restartability must be part of job design.
  • The finished result will be supported by a different team, so logging and monitoring should be put in place to support the solution.


We have produced a best practices document – PDI Development and Lifecycle Management- that focuses on the essential and general project setup and lifecycle management requirements for a successful DI Solution. It includes a DI framework that illustrates how to implement these concepts and separate them from your actual DI solution and is available for download from Pentaho Data Integration Best Practices.


Guidelines for Pentaho Server and SAML


SAML is a specification that provides a means to exchange an authentication assertion of the principal (user) between an identity provider (IdP) and a service provider (SP). Once the plugin is built and installed, your Pentaho Server will become a SAML service provider, relying on the assertion from the IdP to provide authentication.


Security and server administrators, or anyone with a background in authentication or authorization with SAML, will be most interested in the Pentaho Server SAML Authentication with Hybrid Authorization document available for download from Advanced Security.

Sandra Wagner is part of our Customer Success & Support team dedicated to Pentaho and Analytics. You might also know her as The Goddess of Best Practices from the Support Portal. We want to make sure all customers who are using Pentaho know where to find helpful resources including Support, Best Practices and so much more.



Confused about how to upgrade Pentaho?


Upgrading to Pentaho 8.1 can seem like a complicated process, but it does not have to be difficult. We have published guidelines and best practices that answer some common questions about upgrading Pentaho. We’ve included a checklist of steps to take, such as what the upgrade path to use to get to Pentaho 8.1, what to back up and restore, when to update the design tools, and more:




You should have all necessary information and software available to you, and then it will be a simple matter of following your upgrade path from its beginning to its end. There is a comprehensive and downloadable version of this checklist to help you record and keep track of the information you’ll need to upgrade.



If you have custom configurations, contact your CSM, then Support and let them know before upgrade.



There is also a pdf version available for download at the bottom of  Guidelines for Successfully Upgrading to Pentaho 8.1. Here are a few more links that you might find helpful:



Click here to download a full guide on Upgrading to Pentaho 8.1

I'm excited to spotlight one of our amazing employees, Sandra Wagner . She is part of our Customer Success & Support team dedicated to Pentaho and Analytics. You might also know her as The Goddess of Best Practices from the Support Portal. We want to make sure all customers who are using Pentaho know where to find helpful resources including Support, Best Practices and so much more.




I’ve been with Pentaho (now part of Hitachi Vantara) for nearly six years. Coming to Pentaho at that early stage was very exciting, and I feel lucky that I’ve been able to learn a variety of things. When I first arrived here as a senior technical writer, the team was quite small and, out of necessity, we all wore many hats to deliver our product documentation. Over the years, my role has morphed from technical writer to project lead to team lead to process owner to editor, often all at once! I am currently leading a small group to craft and maintain the Best Practices suite of documentation for the Customer Care group, Support, and wearing all the previously mentioned hats.


Since most people have never heard of technical writing or technical writers, here is what we do: we explain hard technical stuff using simplified language. We need to be curious enough about technology to want to play with it, be able to use it if possible, and then we need to be able to show others how to use it as well.


Once we figure those things out, our goal is to explain, and arrange the information so that it is as easy to absorb and use as possible. If the material is too dense, full of jargon and unnecessary information, then no one will want to wade through all of that to find what they need! That is why we try to keep things as simple as possible.


How do I Get to the Pentaho Documentation?

Hitachi Vantara has several types of documentation to help you learn about and use Pentaho software. This can include knowledge base articles, best practices, Pentaho documentation, webinars, and videos, among others.


It helps a bit to think of the content called Pentaho Documentation as a virtual set of “product manuals” that typically come with any new product, while the content on the Pentaho Customer Portal can best be described as a collection of knowledge base articles, best practices, guidelines, and webinars that cover methods on the best ways to do things while using the Pentaho suite “out in the wild”.

We’ll be talking chiefly about the articles found on the Customer Portal here, explaining a bit about the different types of content and showing you how to find the information you need.


About the Hitachi Vantara – Pentaho Customer Portal


Screen Shot 2018-06-29 at 1.27.14 PM.png

The idea behind the original Pentaho Customer Portal was to give customers a single point of entry to access everything to do with Pentaho, and to ask for help if they need it. For example, you can quickly find Pentaho evaluation materials, best practices, knowledge base articles, Pentaho training, Pentaho documentation, and software / service-pack downloads from the front page of the portal. You can subscribe to any of the articles available in the Pentaho Customer Portal after you sign in to the portal.


To access the Pentaho product support portal, click here.


Where Do We Get Our Ideas?

We gather ideas about topics from customers asking questions, from support tickets, from Solution Architects, from Services; if it is being asked frequently, we'll figure out a way to produce some content about it. If you have an idea or request, please comment below.


Knowledge Base Articles

Hitachi Vantara’s Technical Support Engineers for Pentaho create and update our Knowledge Base articles daily. You can access the Knowledge Base after you log into the Customer Portal and select the Knowledge Base widget from the front page. The knowledge base primarily consists of troubleshooting tips and how-to articles. If you would like to subscribe to any article hosted through the Portal, just click the Subscribe button next to the page title.


When you click on the Best Practices button from the Portal, you will find this:


Screen Shot 2018-06-29 at 1.25.36 PM.png


Hitachi Vantara’s Webinar Series on Pentaho

Our webinars are created and conducted by Solutions Architects and members of the Services team to engage with and educate our customers, giving them an opportunity to learn from experts and ask questions. The webinars are conducted live on the last Tuesday of the month. After the webinar is over, all the associated materials – video presentations, supplemental documentation and videos, FAQs, related links – are published together in the Customer Portal.


To find all upcoming webinars, click here.


Best Practices and Guidelines for Pentaho

The Best Practices and Guidelines are developed over time by our Solution Architects and Services teams during customer implementations. These spring out of the internal notes that each architect would create on site; we wanted to capture that information to share with everyone. We produce content that explains things the best ways to configure environments, to supplement the product documentation with details from the field, and to give guidance on optimal integration of Pentaho with 3rd party tools. Eventually, we had so many field-tested best practices, guidelines, and how-to articles, all published on individual pages, that we ended up restructuring everything so that information would be easier to find.


For all Best Practices available through the Pentaho Customer Portal, click here.

Pentaho 8.1 Webinar | May 24 8:30am PST/ 4:30 BST

Get an update from the Pentaho product team


We will be discussing Pentaho 8.1 features to help modernize your analytic data pipeline:

  • Deploy in hybrid and multi-cloud environments
  • Connect, process and visualize streaming data
  • Get better platform performance and increase user productivity.


Register Today


Customer Spotlight

Learn how Hitachi customers are transforming their businesses


ResEvo (ResearchEvolution) Enters the Big Data World

  • Learn how ResEvo is leveraging the Pentaho platform to provide a differentiated analytics offering to their customers in the European market which include being in the forefront of the country-wide smart city initiatives in Slovenia.

CPFL Energia's Success Powers Positive Brand Exposure

  • Learn how CPFL initiated a digital transformation program and converted their operations to an intelligent power distribution network with the Hitachi smart grid universe.


Share your story! Email  to be featured in the next Customer Spotlight.


Pre-Recorded Webinars

Find recordings of recent webinars


Pentaho Product Training

Get the most out of Pentaho through instructor-led training


Best Practices

Ensure you're utilizing Pentaho