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Inspiring Business Intelligence

A few weeks ago I was participating in a career event at a State University where undergraduate students from both Business and I.T. schools were looking for internships with local businesses.  As they stopped by the InfoSol table, the number one question was “What do we do?”  This gave me the opportunity to talk about one of my favorite topics – Business Intelligence.  While most of them had heard of, or even studied, Business Intelligence as part of their courses, few appeared to understand its significance.

The table next to us was a major airline company and I used them as an example, citing that in the recent economic downturn, airlines had to make some tough choices in terms of reducing costs.  They needed to know which aircraft cost the most to maintain and which routes were the least profitable.   That information allowed them to make informed decisions about reducing aircraft and routes with minimal impact to their business and their customers.

I could see the lights go on in their young faces which encouraged me to tell my current favorite Business Intelligence story.

At last year’s InfoSol Business Intelligence Seminar (IBIS 2010), one of the winners of the prestigious Xcelsius Dashboard Awards was a manufacturing company from the Netherlands.  They explained that they were deploying a new manufacturing execution system and wanted to provide some engaging and compelling business intelligence from this system to both encourage usage and provide useful information that was previously unavailable across the company.  They decided to create a business intelligence user interface using Xcelsius.  It would provide in excess of 120 different metrics, deployed graphically and dynamically, about the different production line processes broken down to individual shift level.  The dashboard was dynamically refreshed through the unique intelligent caching mechanism from InfoSol and the impact of this application exceeded the expectations of this company.  For the first time, production, and issues encountered on the production line, was viewed by the entire company and the results were quite revealing.  The dashboard showed that one particular shift was measurably behind all the other shifts.  Since this was visible throughout the company, the workers on this particular shift felt they needed to do something about this and took it upon themselves to correct the issues and improve productivity so that they were on pace to do better than the other shifts. 

What a totally amazing side effect, but one that truly exemplifies not just the power, but the inspiration that can be derived from Business Intelligence.  It was with this example in mind that the theme of this year’s IBIS event “Inspiring Business Intelligence” was born.  There are so many fascinating and inspiring business intelligence stories like this and IBIS 2011 will be based on sharing some of these stories as well as offering an incredible line up of immersion boot camps, executive seminars, training workshops and specialized certification programs. 

IBIS is unique in so many ways as it goes beyond the regular SAP BusinessObjects training to teach best practices that go beyond the conventional ways of designing, developing and applying business intelligence.  The individuals leading these boot camps, seminars and workshops are not just teachers; they are highly experienced consultants, mentors and gurus in their field.

The knowledge transfer that occurs at IBIS is intense and the opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences unparalleled.

IBIS 2011 features hands-on immersion boot camps in Xcelsius, Web Intelligence, Crystal Reports and Xcelsius Data Caching.  The executive seminars cover best practices for success in business Intelligence projects, what’s new on BusinessObjects XI 4.0, and emerging business intelligence tools and technologies.  The main seminar is three full days and the registration is fully inclusive of four nights accommodations at the jaw dropping Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel on the southern California coast (inspirational in itself!).

New to IBIS this year are some very special certified boot camps which will be held on the Thursday and Friday directly after the main event.  These include the renowned FleXcelsius course from Centigon Solutions, teaching you how to create your own Flex components for Xcelsius.  The Roambi Black Belt certification and the InfoBurst Certified Expert (ICE) boot camps will also be offered. 

Most importantly, there will be the coveted Best Xcelsius Dashboard Awards, which are quickly becoming legendary.  The awards are open to everyone and the deadline for submitting your inspirational dashboard entry is April 15th.  You can enter your dashboard in one of the following four categories:

–          Best Business Dashboard

–          Most Innovative Dashboard

–          Most Valuable Dashboard

–          Most Xcellent Dashboard

To submit your dashboard entry, click here.

I know that some of the students who stopped by our table left inspired by what they heard about business intelligence just based on the slew of follow-up enquiries.  In fact we have invited two interns to join us starting today. 

I also know that anyone attending IBIS 2011 will undoubtedly leave more inspired about business intelligence than before they came – don’t miss out!

Register todayEarly registration discount expires March 31st.

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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