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Europe Trip 2010: Day 3 Paris – Fine Cuisine Fails to Sustain the Body Whole

A second day in Paris and another day full of meetings. The second meeting is over lunch at a classic French restaurant situated next to the famous Opera with elaborately painted ceilings and a platoon of waiting staff for every table.  Each of the menu choices requires a paragraph of description and I end up selecting a poached egg, smoked salmon and caviar dish as the appetizer and a very exotic and grand sounding scallop and pasta entrée. There is great fanfare as the food arrives and large plates are placed in front of each of us but my smile of anticipation subsides as the actual food on the dish in front of me requires a magnifying glass to see it! I am not sure what kind of egg it was but it did not come from a chicken.  Judging by its size, I would hazard to guess it was more like a hummingbird! This was wrapped in the tiniest of slivers of smoked salmon and maybe four specs of caviar. Three dainty bites and it was gone.

I was hopeful (and hungry) for the main course – at least there would be pasta. The plate itself was larger than the one for the appetizer but this was a deception since there was a small indentation in the middle of the plate that actually housed the entirety of my meal. It was honestly the size of a golf ball consisting of two small scallops and something that was more like couscous than pasta!  It tasted great but it did not satisfy my hunger.

Needless to say there was plenty of time for conversation since the eating took just seconds! The discussion with a French customer in the insurance business centered on expectations of the results of a proof-of-concept. The customer was looking at a large project to migrate their main application to an open system environment. While they felt that the proof-of-concept fully demonstrated that the application itself could be migrated successfully, they wanted to see how the operational environment would be handled also.

When migrating software, we often overlook the environment on which it runs. Of course, if the environment does not change, it is understandable that it is not always considered. However, many businesses today change their hardware and operational environments more frequently than they change their software. With constant new features in hardware and underlying operating systems, as well as new ways to schedule and distribute information, there is plenty to take into consideration.

It turned out that this customer was most concerned about the printing of insurance cards since this has the biggest impact on their business. By migrating their application to new hardware and operating system, they would be changing their whole mechanism of scheduling, distributing and printing.

To me, this is not an unusual situation. In the world of Business Intelligence, I see it all the time since scheduling and distribution of reports is equally , if not more, important than ad-hoc query and analysis to many businesses. It is about delivering the right information in the right format to the right people at the right time.

It was quite appropriate that my next meeting with a partner was all about Business Intelligence report and dashboard scheduling, bursting and publishing. They have many clients throughout Europe with many needs to deliver pertinent information in Xcelsius dashboards and Microsoft Reporting Services Reports. I showed and explained how with InfoBurst 2009 you can now deliver bursted Xcelsius dashboards as standalone SWF files so each recipient sees the same dashboard but only with data relevant to them in it. In addition, InfoBurst 2009 supports the scheduling, bursting and publishing of Microsoft Reports .

After my last meeting, I was completely drained with my energy reserves running on life support. I suppose my lesson for the day was that it is important to meet all the needs of a customer’s application environment. Migrating the applications without taking care of the operational environment is like eating fine French cuisine without satisfying your body’s energy needs.

I ate a big meal tonight!

About Paul

Paul Grill started his career in Information Technology in the U.K. in 1978, as an Executive Data Processing Trainee for Honeywell. More than thirty years later, he still has a voracious appetite for learning as Information Technology continues to advance at an ever accelerating pace. He was first introduced to the world of Business Intelligence in 1991, in France, when he saw a demonstration of an early version of BusinessObjects on Windows 2.1. He returned to the U.S. to rave about this phenomenal product, but it was many years before BusinessObjects made it into the mainstream. Paul founded InfoSol in 1997, and made Business Intelligence one of the key solutions offered by the company. Today, InfoSol is a leading SAP BusinessObjects solutions partner, known for its expert consulting, education and innovative add-on solutions. Paul is well known within the SAP BusinessObjects community for his extensive knowledge of Business Intelligence, and he has lectured and written many articles on the subject. Paul enjoys writing, running and coaching kids soccer, and is passionate about Ancient Egyptology.

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