Hands-on immersion training can be tough but when your classroom looks out on to the Pacific Ocean of Southern California and during the breaks you can walk out on to the balcony and watch surfers riding the waves, it’s not so bad.
This year’s InfoSol Business Intelligence Seminar (IBIS) was just packed with high quality and in-depth boot camps and seminars covering Xcelsius, Web Intelligence, Crystal Reports, Data Services, BO XI 3.1 Administration and lots more. It was also located at the beautiful Ritz Carlton, Dana Point on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean which was the perfect remedy after a day of absorbing tons of knowledge.
The Welcome reception on Sunday night, entitled “Seeing Beyond Business Intelligence” was set in the Solutions Showcase area where sponsors demonstrated and discussed some of their latest business intelligence solutions. I delivered the keynote the following morning on the same “Seeing Beyond” theme and highlighted some interesting business intelligence customer case studies. The keynote on the Tuesday from Santiago Becerra, CEO of Mellmo, was quite fascinating as he took the audience through “the Evolution of Think” and cleverly demonstrated how putting fun into regular tasks can change people’s habits as well as their adoption of solutions. Showing Roambi, the latest business intelligence solution for the iPad, really brought the point home well.
The 2010 Best Xcelsius Awards demonstrated how far many companies have come in applying Xcelsius in very complex and powerful applications and inspired many others to go even further so I would watch out for next year’s awards.
I had the opportunity to meet with many people during the event and dive into some great discussions on both existing challenges in various BI implementations as well as future directions. In general, it appeared that most companies lag about 3 to 5 years behind the latest releases of SAP BusinessObjects and other BI solutions. Occasionally there is some critical new functionality that will compel a company to adopt a new release sooner but that tends to be the exception to the rule. Many customers expressed that having reliability, stability and consistent performance are more important than most new functionality. Some of the newer solutions like Xcelsius dashboards and Roambi mobile business intelligence appear to circumnavigate this pattern since they can often be deployed and highly effective outside of the main business intelligence and production applications. A further big factor here is cost as many companies are more hesitant, due in part to the recent global recession, to spend large amounts of time and money on new software until they have conclusively proven a solid return on investment. For this reason incremental software purchases and pilot projects have become very popular in the BI space.
This was evident at IBIS as customers expressed a lot of interest in Xcelsius, XDM, Roambi, XWIS, GMaps, 360View, Version Manager and SAP BO EDGE solutions for very specific business issues and needs.
All in all, IBIS 2010 was a great BI gathering and information exchange and continues to grow in popularity. A couple of lucky attendees won iPads and a couple of not-so-lucky attendees dropped their phones in the ocean, but judging by the feedback everyone can’t wait to do it again.
Here are a few of the comments received back on IBIS 2010 :
“The IBIS conference was terrific this year. I can’t wait to incorporate write-backs into our dashboards, and InfoBurst 2009 with dashboard bursting opens new doors for delivering customer information. I also really enjoyed Aluchemie’s customer demo with all of their challenges they had to overcome!”
Kim Marshall, Waldinger Corporation
“I wanted to commend you and your team on the wonderful seminar. My colleagues are very enthusiastic about their boot camp and the knowledgeable instructors they have met. You and your team have been wonderful throughout the past few days and everyone’s terrific attitudes have made the seminar a great success”
Melinda Dennis, Aluchemie
When asked, “What was the best part of the seminar for you?”, here are some of the responses :
“User Panel – excellent recognition of organizations with creative solutions”
“The class time. The first time I have ever been to a seminar where I was asked right from the beginning to reverse engineer an example”
“ The chance to talk and network with pros, find out what SAP doesn’t tell you about the product and get the best practices from people who have been in the trenches”
“…invaluable talking with other companies and knowledge sharing”
“… the workshops were excellent and very exercise intense so there was no boredom factor”
“Meeting with other users of the tools – It is a great way to get new ideas”
“The tips on real life best practices were extremely valuable – something that you cannot always get from other conferences”
“Size of the event led to good instruction and interaction”
“The training far surpasses any other training in the BI field. InfoSol has created a habitat for intensive training efforts at an economical price”
“The fact that I am learning things that are actually going to help me solve current problems – which also helps me sleep better at night”