April 9, 2008 – Montreal, Canada.
The third annual Salon de la Business Intelligence took place in Montreal on Wednesday, bringing the Montreal business community face to face with consultants, vendors, and BI enthusiasts. FiQ, a government body with the goal of creating networking opportunities for IT professionals to encourage knowledge sharing and the promotion of IT within the province of Quebec, hosted the event with partners and vendor participants including TDWI, CGI, SAS, MicroStrategy, Oracle, and Informatica.
The day long event combined lectures, panel discussions, and time to interact with vendors, see product demonstrations, and learn about the latest trends in the industry. Speakers included vendors, BI consultants and a series of case study presentations from end user organizations. BI practitioners were able to interact with and to learn from their colleagues and vendors about industry trends, best practices in deployments, and how other organizations are applying BI within their organizations. With ample time to interact with colleagues in the industry and talk to consultants and CIOs of organizations such as Bombardier and ING Canada, if nothing else, Salon de la BI proved to be a great networking opportunity for IT professionals in charge of managing BI within their respective organizations.
Benefits of the show were numerous and included the ability to network with a couple hundred other BI enthusiasts to gain insights into how they are applying BI within their organizations, to learn from vendors about what they see as general trends as well as see demos of products. In addition to vendor exhibitors, Salon de la BI included many consultancies with a large presence within the BI world in Quebec, and Montreal in particular. Although the goal of consultants was to increase their client base, presentations such as those from Biond Conseil, a Montreal based BI consultancy, included 9 lessons for organizations implementing BI for strategic planning and finance. Other topics presented included operational BI, an overview of industry trends, the use of predictive analytics and embedded BI (for example the use of BI within CRM applications).
Overall, it was very impressive to walk into a room filled with over 200 people eager to spend the day learning about what others are doing within the industry. With a variety of organizations represented and different presentation structures, Salon BI seemed to deliver something for everyone. Although the opening remarks may have been more targeted to those looking for a general introduction to BI and how business intelligence helps with decision-making, most other sessions had lessons and ideas about how to better apply BI within the organization.
Salon de la BI is the only event of its kind in Montreal. Because of the large turnout, it seems fair to say that other cities could also benefit from creating an access point that brings vendors, consultants, and organizations deploying BI together to encourage networking and knowledge sharing. Michael Corcoran, CMO of Information Builders, mentioned the importance of bringing the concepts of Web 2.0 into the way BI is used within the organization. With this in mind, the creation of a meeting point for practitioners of BI to interact and to learn from one another brings these concepts into reality.