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11/5/2009
10:34 AM
Cindi Howson
Cindi Howson
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Visualization and SaaS Shine at TDWI

I'm just back from sunny, warm Florida, venue for TDWI's conference. The brightest spot from this conference is that it was one of the best attended of the year... But here are a few insights from my "Cool BI" course...

I'm just back from sunny, warm Florida, venue for TDWI's conference. The brightest spot from this conference is that it was one of the best attended of the year. I hope it's a sign of recovery, at least in the BI world!

I had the honor of delivering the keynote on Monday, with new findings on secrets to successful BI (details to follow next week), but I first wanted share some insights from my "Cool BI" course.TDWI 'Cool BI' Course Vote

Cool BI is a fun course for me to teach. I compare it to a wine tasting of eight new innovations (but without the hangover!). Mini demos are presented by trail-blazing vendors and some by me. Fun, yes, but stressful, too! People are most excited about advanced visualization and dashboards (in May, search and rich reportlets were higher), with Tableau demonstrating these capabilities. To be fair, some of the results may be slanted by how well either I or the vendor explained the innovation, the benefits and the maturity.

While SaaS got few votes here, the demo by Birst certainly gets my vote for most leading edge. In some respects, the demo went so smoothly that I suspect the complexities of what was being demoed live weren't apparent. Just this week, Birst announced Live Access, a new ability in Birst 4 that lets the SaaS BI layer reach into on-premise data and present it along with hosted data. Birst CEO Brad Peters demoed loading data from a local spreadsheet to the cloud, combining it with Salesforce.com data, and finally in real-time, with data from an on-premise data mart, all in a matter of minutes (he quipped that my timing requirements were rather demanding, but hey, we have a class schedule to keep!). I've seen SaaS BI products do the first part, even the first two parts, but never all three together. This brings a new level of flexibility to SaaS BI, and it takes away one argument against SaaS BI from companies that are fearful of letting go of their data.

Let me know if you, too, think this is pretty leading edge, or if you've seen other products pull data from all three environments with such ease.I'm just back from sunny, warm Florida, venue for TDWI's conference. The brightest spot from this conference is that it was one of the best attended of the year... But here are a few insights from my "Cool BI" course...

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