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Thoughts from TDWI in Las Vegas

Monday, March 02, 2009

Although attendance was down last week at the quarterly TDWI conference in Las Vegas, the general feeling was that participants were more serious about on-going or new business intelligence and data warehousing projects. Vendors expressed enthusiasm that questions about products were driven based on actual projects and interest in what technology would best meet the needs of the organization being represented. This, in addition to the classes and the ability to network with peers, helped attendants get the most out of the week of courses and networking events. Whether this means that projects will still continue despite economic downturn remains to be seen.

Within the vendor community, it seemed as if there were the regular general announcements, but none that stood out from the rest in terms of differentiations or trend-breaking news. However, there were a few interesting things to note: First is the refocus on business value as opposed to the IT side of BI.  Although there has always been a recurring wish to help organizations identify how BI adds business value and solves business problems, based on the technical focus of the industry, this has not always translated into practice.  Unfortunately, because of the industry jargon and focus on infrastructure, attaching business value and identifying the business pains that BI solves has not always been the easiest thing to achieve. Now, many vendors are working to once again turn their focus on the business value of business intelligence.

Second, is the push towards mobile BI.  Although mobile BI is available on many platforms, current uses include the ability to view reports and dashboards as opposed to having access and use of full-scale applications.  Consequently, there is a goal of creating a next-generation mobile BI platform to enable access to analytics within a mobile environment.  This is definitely an area to watch regarding new solutions coming out later on this year and is a part of the roadmap for several BI and dashboarding vendors.

Third and final, is the focus on either targeting services to enhance current offerings, or moving away from services towards a more self-service model of business intelligence whereby customers do not need extra training or consulting to manage and develop their solutions.  Either way, it will be interesting to see as the year goes on, whether focusing on increased service offerings will yield positive results in a difficult economy or whether customers will want plug-and-play solutions whereby they can implement solutions without added interaction with solution providers.

About the Author

Lyndsay Wise is an industry analyst for business intelligence. For over seven years, she has assisted clients in business systems analysis, software selection and implementation of enterprise applications. Lyndsay is the channel expert for BI for the Mid-Market at B-eye-Network and conducts research of leading technologies, products and vendors in business intelligence, marketing performance management, master data management, and unstructured data. She can be reached at lwise@wiseanalytics.com. And please visit Lyndsay's blog at myblog.wiseanalytics.com.


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