Every Quarter we feature a special community member who has gone above and beyond with their contributions. For the second quarter of 2016, the award goes to a very deserving member, Mr. Hitoshi Ozawa, who has been a member for many years and a fantastic contributor to other open source communities like Apache, Liferay and Mulesoft. Mr. Ozawa is employed by the ERP vendor, Works Applications Co., Ltd. headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. Works Applications embeds Jaspersoft into it's innovative ERP application, HUE. We conducted a short interview with Mr. Ozawa below where he reveals his history with the product and introducing open source products to the Japanese market.
Interview with Hitoshi Ozawa
When and how was your first exposure Jaspersoft’s products?
I first came into contact with Jaspersoft when Jaspersoft held a talk in Redhat Japan's seminar. I was involved with several different open source projects before and this talk got me more interested in JasperReports because I was able meet actual people from Jaspersoft.
The company I was with then became a Jaspersoft partner but we really weren't able to make too much progress because of many localization problems with the Japanese language. Localization means not only translating messages but adding/modifying features to make them more user friendly to Japanese users. We were waiting for Jaspersoft to localize the products to Japanese but it seemed like Jaspersoft was waiting for us to create a market here in Japan first. It was kind of a chicken and egg problem, unfortunately resulting in not having a chicken nor an egg.
I later moved to a different company who had a Jaspersoft OEM license. The OEM license allowed me to localize JasperReports and allowed me to get more involved in the community and in the market. I fully localized Jaspersoft Studio and JasperReports Server, wrote Japanese documentations/tutorials, and began offering support services.JasperReports, furthermore, has extensive functions but I've found that most developers/users did not know how to use them because most documents seems to be written for high end technical developers.
Through the community, I've found that other users often have similar problems with JasperReports. The community helps me detect defects and features clients may want. This enables me to fix the defects and add new features before clients ask for them in spirit of traditional Japanese "omotenashi" service.
We had full support from Jaspersoft, but I became more involved in Jaspersoft community to help me improve my knowledge of Jaspersoft products and to keep my knowledge up to date. Jaspersoft employees correct me when my understanding is wrong and this keeps me from passing wrong information to my customers.
Tell us a little about your company and if possible its use of the Jaspersoft products
I'm currently with Works Applications Co., Ltd.
We are using JasperReports in our new ERP package, HUE
. HUE Magic Layout allows users to upload report formats in pdf or in Office file formats from their web browsers. The uploaded file is converted to jrxml format. Field names are automatically mapped to datasource field using HUE's AI engine. HUE InstaReports allow users to edit report layouts from their web browsers in case layout need to be edited. With HUE Magic Layout and HUE InstaReports, users will be able to upload their existing reports and start viewing filled reports on web browsers.
Have you achieved your original goals with the software? Any unexpected benefits?
Most companies in Japan were very skeptical about using open source from other countries because of quality of software and service. Users often had to wait days to get a reply to a question. Bugs were not promptly fixed.
I was able to show and convince many that open source such as JasperReports are actually much better than properietary software if we can fix bugs ourselves and add features - shorter development time and lower cost.
My goal of introducing JasperReports to Japanese market is far from over, but I'm satisfied with the progress so far.
Do you have any tips for anyone getting started with the applications?
JasperReports has many features but not all are supported by Jaspersoft Studio nor by JasperReports Server. Also, JasperReports is very well designed and it's very easy to add or customize JasperReports.
My recommendation is not to just use a check list of current features but to consult people who know JasperReports. This is because most features can actually be implemented using JasperReports without too much effort. As an example, one client wanted barcodes for a particular envelope folder and inserter machine. After checking the barcode specification, I've found that I'll be easy to add this barcode type in just few days.
What do you see as the next big thing in reporting?
I think more users are beginning to move from paper base report to web based. This means not just viewing reports on a web browser but more of an interactive report.
Interactively here does not only mean being able to input data parameters and select data to view. End-users should be able to see data in the preferred context of the current end-user's situatione yet be able to customize it easily without programming. Users should also be able to manipulate big data instantly without waiting - waiting breaks user's attention span and reduces productivity.
Is there anything else we should know?
Works Applications is currrently expanding very rapidly and is seeking qualified people to join us. If you are interested, please contact us!