Friday, October 10


Thanks to Darren Cunningham for putting the word out on Wordle. It's a cute Java app that with the right words could give you something fun to play with.

Here's a link to the Wordle based on the BI for Business People blog.

Tuesday, October 7

BI in the year 2020

A theme heard throughout the Microsoft conference was "thinking bigger about BI". I'm not sure the people from companies who are struggling to get BI started were interested in thinking bigger but I can appreciate their visionary approach.

A panel discussion was setup with a group of senior Microsoft partners to discuss and debate where BI will be in the future, in the year 2020. Moderated by Bob Lokken, Senior Director of Business Intelligence for Microsoft, the panel included:
  • Greg Todd, Senior Executive, Accenture's Information Management Services practice
  • Andrew Horgett, Sr. Manager, Microsoft Alliance Team at Dell
  • Mike Fahey, Director, HP's Product Development
  • Todd Price, VP, Hitachi's National BI Practice
  • Terje Rugland, CTO, Profitbase

There were a couple comments about collaboration, social networking, and instant messaging but I would say that is a year or two away from mainstream. Not exactly 2020. They talked about data mining, optimization of the DW, and being proactive. Sigh. These are current topics being worked out by innovative companies today.

However here are the top 10 predictions/recommendations I gathered from the discussion. I'll let you comment on whether you feel these are in line with what you see.
  1. 90% of BI will be delivered on mobile devices.
  2. Much larger volumes of data, beyond terabytes, will need to be handled changing the hardware and software paradigm.
  3. Information will be managed by business professionals and not technology professionals.
  4. Do not listen to BI best practices that say "18 months to deliver" and "high costs for licenses/services". We need to think out of the box.
  5. Envision a new role within an organization called the Information Architect (based from a Data Architect). This person understands the entire life cycle of information from where it comes from to where it ends up.
  6. Better adoption of BI will happen when BI is integrated within productivity suites, like Office. BI will be an extension of business productivity.
  7. BI should not be packaged with ERPs because the role for BI should be to integrate disparate systems. However Performance Management should be packaged with ERPs.
  8. BI should be considered a service for business people.  Business is used to leveraging services already.  However IT is not yet matured to the point of understanding this role.
  9. SaaS BI's success will be based on two serious roadblocks: Data Quality and Data Security.
  10. Organizations will have 2 application footprints:  ERP systems for capturing information and IRP (information resource planning) systems for massaging and delivering information.

Did this help with your future BI plans and 5-year implementation roadmap?

[Other MS BI Conference posts:
ETL World Record and 150 TB Fact Tables and
Ben Stein talks about BI]

Ben Stein talks about BI

How many funny, engaging stories can someone tell in their first 10 minutes of getting on stage? Well Ben Stein surely approached the limit. Ben Stein has done many things on tv and off, been a lawyer, is a well established economist, writer, and columnist.

However for the MS BI Conference crowd of several hundred, his clarity on the financial crisis drew feelings of frustration over the financial community and government mismanagement. He referred to how the financial community could have used a little Business Intelligence -- and could definitely use some now. His clear chronological overview of how the financial community got into this mess (and brought us along with them) was responded to with claps and a few hoots of support.

Briefly Ben lays out the crisis with this:
  1. "It started with the liberals wanting equal housing opportunities for every American."
  2. "Greenspan pushed interest rates down and then banks couldn't make much money from normal mortgages, so they had to be creative."
  3. "Banks came up with Side Bets. Basically banks bet on whether or not mortgage bonds would be paid or failed to be paid." -- Yes banks bet on whether you will pay off your mortgage.
  4. "When house prices fell, costs of price swaps (the side bets) went up. This created such a huge loss that it dwarfed the financial impact from defaulted loans."
  5. "Side bets are the Weapons of Mass Financial Destruction allowed by the Bush administration."
He summarized with "Wall Street has taken trillions out of the economy from everyday people over the years". Needless to say he doesn't agree with the people taking on the risk by giving billions in a bailout package.

Ben Stein also had good things to say but it was clear he was there for his entertainment and inspirational value... a BI tech talk he was not about to do. If you haven't seen him, then he is just like he is on his tv shows, like "Win Ben Stein's Money" and "America's Most Smartest Model".

[Other MS BI Conference posts: ETL World Record and 150 TB Fact Tables and
BI in the year 2020]

Monday, October 6

ETL World Record and 150TB fact tables

At the Microsoft BI conference in Seattle today and wanted to give you highlights as I jump from session to session. One point will be about the world record.

MS Message: Think Bigger about BI

MS goal: accelerate decision making using structured and unstructured information.

Trends: Despite BI being on top of CIO spending list, there are less than 20% of people using BI? Why? Still not easy for people to use BI to get their job done.

MS Prediction: BI won't be on top of CIO spending list in the coming 3 years.

Okay about the world record. Microsoft recently set an ETL world record. I didn't even realize there were Olympics for BI but I guess there are. So by using SQL Server, they loaded 1 TB of data within 30 minutes. To put this in context, Oracle's last record was 1 TB within 45 minutes. Of course they are using SQL Server 2008 to accomplish this.

And on that note, Project Madison! If you're interested in large, large volumes of data, this could be the next big leap. An R&D partnership with DATAllegro who produces DW hardware, is building a combination of SQL Server and DATAllegro using massively parallel processing (MPP). They have loaded 150 TB of data with 1 trillion fact table rows using 14 servers. The live demonstration showed response times from Analysis Services reporting within seconds. Impressive.

More as I come across anything that is excellent.

[Other MS BI Conference posts: Ben Stein talks about BI and
BI in the year 2020]