He's the manager for BI, the General Manager, and he's here to talk about the challenge and promise of Pervasive Business Intelligence.
We're the best community? I hear that at every conference and it sounds disingenuous when I do. But it works because most people attend one or no conferences each year.
PASS is 136 chapters, 32,500 members, 38 countries? News to me. I thought PASS was smaller, but if that's right, good for them.
This year Tom is looking to highlight how BI is being used, which is good to see, but I've like to see more and more of this, not just the "spotlight" groups. It's better than seeing demos about what's coming next year.
15% of customers use BI? That's huge. I would have guessed much less. More like 5%.
First highlight: Bruno Aziz, architect. Bruno is an MS guy, but he's presenting something based on a real customer. It's probably true to some extent, based on a customer, but not exact. Obviously the data is tweaked, but I wonder how much the app is tweaked as well. Especially when it's Contoso as the logo.
A nice dashboard, that's always a feature of BI, and I wish we had a bit more of that at SSC. Tool tip type information when you highlight on things, drill down, etc. to find info. It works well for users, but how hard is it to build this stuff.
These contrived examples, things that show off the glitz of a particular application, don't necessarily help us sell SQL Server to our boss. Or BI, in particular, when we can't get something like this built quickly.
Sharepoint and Performance Point server, which are good additions, aren't what everyone has or uses. I know there isn't a huge reason not to use Sharepoint, especially as it's built into all Windows Servers, at least at the Service level. But Performance Point is way too $$$$ for most companies. Stop showing it in demos, it's like BizTalk. It's not going to get wide penetration.
I like the idea of them providing Reference Architectures, which is something we do need, but I need to find someone that writes something on how to use a Reference Architecture. That's a challenge in and of itself.
Tom is showing off various features of SQL Server 2008, but it starts to be too much of a marketing/sales pitch. The really, really good keynotes make you think and try to give you a hint of how to build something on the features available. These Microsoft ones are too much of a sales pitch. They need Bill Baker back. I miss seeing him speak. Or Peter Spiro. The rest of these GMs/VPs aren't that interesting.
Report Builder 2.0 Demo - Demo'ing the wizards in the new Report Builder. The wizards get better, we know that. Not sure this is a good use of time. Gauges in reports are cool, however.
blood pressure dropping
Ah, this is all running together. Not the sign of a good keynote.
A session on the ROI of upgrading. Surprise, surprise. Who paid for that trip? Not that some value might not exist, but you have to rally in in the position to take advantage of the new features, which is a much larger cost than the upgrade.
The whole BI thing sounds like the CMM in many ways. Most, the vast majority of people are at level 1, and they really have to change their culture and process overall to move up the ladder and mature. The people that can build those dashboards and highly integrated systems are few and far between because most aren't willing to make the investment over time. Definitely there are believers, but 15%? It just sounds high.
Especially when I just don't see enough technical writing on this.
Tom does talk about the problem of apps under the desk, built on someone's rogue machine. Does "Managed Self-service BI solve this? I'm not sure. If you corral the data sources, it helps. If you use Sharepoint, perhaps, but people have to publish there. Maybe that creates a habit. Performance Point won't get the penetration.
Donald Farmer does a demo of Project Gemini, and that's interesting. Mostly because Donald does great demos and has interesting ideas.
Ah, lights coming up, this is over.