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Welcome to my BeyeNETWORK blog! Please join me often to share your thoughts and observations on new analytic platforms, BI and data management. I maintain a vendor-focused practice that uses primary research, briefings, case studies, events and other activities that stimulate ideas as a source for commentary on strategy and execution in the marketplace. I believe the emergence of a new class of analytic platforms, and emerging data management and advanced tools herald a next step in the maturity of information technology, and I'm excited to be present for its emergence. I hope my blog entries will stimulate ideas that will serve both the vendors creating these new solutions and the companies that will improve their business prospects as a result of applying them. Please share your thoughts and input on the topics.

 

 

August 2010 Archives

I've posted already about TDWI's San Diego event, but I still haven't exhausted the thoughts I wanted to share. That's a measure of just how important and successful I think the show was. Three things jumped out at me:

  • The audience is back, and it's ready to spend. The event was buzzing; I was told by organizers that the numbers significantly exceeded expectations. That was easy to see; speeches, booths, and hallways were packed. Vendors told me booth traffic was great, and that visitors (although typically not budget holders) were in or preparing for projects and product acquisitions.
  • The hunger for content continues. In my session and in others, I saw show-of-hands responses to questions like "how many of you have been here before?" "How many of you have built this kind of system?" "How many of you have been trained on [pick a DW-related topic]?"  The responses made it clear that like other TDWI events I've been to, this one was packed with people who were new or intermediate users with training in mind. TDWI's basic training mission has never been healthier.
  • Agile matters. A lot. My first post on the event was put up rather quickly and as the event progressed, I heard the theme flesh out well, with real stories from users who applied the techniques to their projects. My initial impression that we might be looking at another buzzword poorly applied was wrong. Agile's real, and TDWI's coverage and guidance is rich and well worth investigating. The vendors? Well, they're doing what they always do. Caveat emptor. I repeat: it's not an adjective.  Learn what it means and apply it. You can't buy it.

The last point above drives a few more thoughts about Wayne Eckerson's keynote and my comments on it. Wayne had little time to work with, and left the nuance and details of Agile to the agenda speakers who followed. As chairperson, he made the right decision, an unselfish one. Having chaired conferences of my own in my Giga and Forrester days, I applaud his willingness to cut his own time to literally less than a half hour to let his speakers shine.  I was hasty in my comments about his choices - he was clear on the topics he would have covered if he had more time, and subsequent diligence on my part (and his gentle prodding and pointers to prior work TDWI had done on the topic) reveals more detailed examination and training of Agile than I knew was in place.

As I said earlier, the speech itself was a good one, well delivered. And I withdraw my content-based "unsatisfied" comment, Wayne built a conference to tell the Agile story, and didn't attempt to cram it into too little time in his own speech. Instead he delivered some tips to a crowd that hopefully understood how surprisingly radical some of them were. As I've said elsewhere, we who live in the future sometimes forget what's going on in the present - TDWI's strong connection to current user data keeps it grounded, and Wayne's tips captured what leading organizations are doing today - some of which are different in surprising ways from past practice.

TDWI gave Agile credit, and covered it well. BI developers should learn what it can do for them and use if as a bridge to their colleagues in other programming groups - it has the potential to be a shared set of assumptions, processes and practices that bridge what often are separate organizations.


Posted August 30, 2010 9:04 AM
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On my second day at TDWI, I was in meetings all day - events like this are a great opportunity for analysts to catch up with many of the companies they follow at one time, and this particular one was packed with sponsors. Congrats to the folks who sell sponsorships - they had a packed exhibit hall, and a lot of very interested attendees. I got a chance to chat at a few booths (all buzzing), ask a few attendees some real-world questions (and was asked some surprising ones myself), and get a sense of the workload in the trenches (heavy and growing.)

more...

Posted August 22, 2010 8:38 PM
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My friend Curt Monash has taken Oracle to task for the way it labels its web pages that contain download links for analyst reports, and I took some collateral damage in the process. It was embarrassing to me, but an important discussion, and I thought I ought to share some ideas about the whole issue. For example, I found that other vendor sites don't always label white papers as sponsored either.

Some of my pieces are published by vendors who simply buy the rights to make available things I've posted here or elsewhere. Those are not "sponsored"; no discussion about what I will or will not say has taken place in advance, and there is no promise by me to write, or to pay by them. Other pieces are specifically commissioned from me, under editorial agreements I've described elsewhere. In brief, though - vendors get to check facts, but not dictate what I say. And they don't buy comparisons, favorable or otherwise, to competitors - I don't accept that kind of work for publication, at any price.

read more...


Posted August 13, 2010 10:52 AM
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In a recent post I discussed Oracle's market share in BI, based on a press-published chart taken from IDC data - showing Oracle coming in second. As often happens in such discussions, I got quite a few direct emails and twitter messages - some in no uncertain terms - about why the particular metric I chose was not sufficiently nuanced or representative of the true picture. I freely admit: that's true. In general, market observers know Oracle is not typically placed second overall - but the picture is more complex than a single ranking. My point was, and is, that it's too easy to slip into a "who's on top" mentality that obscures true market dynamics. In this post, I'll dig a bit deeper, and describe what different approaches or categorizations show us - and what they don't. Finally I'll talk about how much this matters - and to whom.

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Posted August 4, 2010 8:13 AM
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