Software // Information Management
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11/12/2008
11:57 AM
Cindi Howson
Cindi Howson
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Cool BI from TDWI in New Orleans

TDWI hosted its first conference in New Orleans (post Hurricane Katrina) last week... I taught a new course at the event, the theme of which is highlighted in this week's In-Depth article, "Cool BI: Rating the Innovations."... Here's what course attendees chose as their top-three innovation investment priorities for next year.

TDWI hosted its first conference in New Orleans, post Hurricane Katrina, last week. I admit, I was both worried and curious about the location, still reading regularly about how certain parts of the city have never recovered. And yet, after walking along Bourbon Street, with its diversity, old French buildings, and intricate beads galore, I can see why people are passionate about rebuilding and why TDWI picked it as a conference location.

Back to BI, I taught a new course at the event, the theme of which is highlighted in this week's Intelligent Enterprise In-Depth feature article, "Cool BI: Rating the Innovations." Those who know me know that I am anything but cool. Conservative, yes. Serious, yes. Cool, no. So I was catching some flack about the course title from colleagues, and well, my very cool kids. Trying to get into the spirit of things, I kicked the course off donning a cool '70s dress with Cold Play blasting in the background (guess who picked that music!).New courses are anxiety inducing. You never know if anyone will be that interested and if the weeks of research will have been wasted. Add to the mix that my fellow instructors thought I was crazy for trying to do eight mini demos - some myself and some by vendors. Fortunately, the demo gods were with us and the course was full, fun and educational.

Most enlightening to me was attendee reaction to some of what was demoed, one loudly declaring "now that's cool!" after seeing Tableau's Show Me feature, which automatically chooses the most effective visual representation based on the data set being analyzed.

After reviewing eight innovations, some of which are discussed in depth in my article, I asked IT and business people to pair up to pick their top-three investment priorities for next year. The interplay between the two perspectives is always interesting. While there were varying priorities, dashboards and advanced visualization generally bubbled up to the top, although users would like to see dashboards, advanced visualization, rich reportlets and in-memory analytics converge.

The surprises to me were social networking and mashups. A younger attendee, an active Facebook user, made a strong case as to why the social networking aspect of Web 2.0 is so integral to the way information is accessed and decisions are made. She managed to convince her group that social networking should make the top-three list.

I think of mashups mainly as a way of speeding application development, and yet in using the MVP (maturity, value, pervasiveness) approach explained in my article, people ranked mashups as having high value for facilitating insights and making BI more engaging for new segments of users.

Of course, these rankings depended very much on the attendees' existing BI environments and what they took away and understood in a 20-minute discussion. I'd like to know your opinion: Which innovations would your company most like to evaluate or invest in. Choose your top choice in this poll.

Regards, Cindi Howson Founder, BIScorecardTDWI hosted its first conference in New Orleans (post Hurricane Katrina) last week... I taught a new course at the event, the theme of which is highlighted in this week's In-Depth article, "Cool BI: Rating the Innovations."... Here's what course attendees chose as their top-three innovation investment priorities for next year.

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