I had a great opportunity to attend Monday's sessions of the Gartner BI Summit. Here are some quick reactions:
Regarding the Gartner Keynote by Kurt Schlegel and John Van Decker: Good high level overview, with what I think was a disproportionate focus on the current economic environment as a driver of specific actions. If there is true strategic business value in BI, the long term view should suggest that now is a good time to regroup thinking and establish a framework for justifying the investment, not looking at ways to cut costs. On the other hand, one interesting comment did address the emerging need for less concentration on canned reports in deference to enabling parameterized queries, as well as providing more capability for allowing business users to perform more unconstrained data analysis. I thought those were good suggestions.
Regarding data integration: I sat in on Ted Friedman's talk on data integration tools (sitting in the back with SAS data integration guru Ken Hausman), and Ted gave a good overview of the landscape, with a nice amount of attention given to the "sharing" side of data integration, which (unfortunately) is largely ignored by many others who choose to focus on the "consolidation" aspects. Good job, Ted!
Andrew White's MDM session did provide some explanatory material about the difference between analytic MDM and operational MDM, but did not go far enough to discuss the challenges inherent in transitioning an organization's application infrastructure to employ a single master repository. While the suggestions to "start small" are reasonable, my gut tells me that small pockets of siloed concept repositories used by few applications may address some business requirements but may not qualify as master repositories. It may be better for us to rewind that message a little bit and focus on th evalue porposition of what is promised by MDM before we go overboard in trying to implement it...
I did stroll around the exhibit floor and got a chance to visit with my friends Jake Zborowski and Donald Farmer from Microsoft, John Evans from Kalido, Harriet Fryman of (now) IBM, while making some new friends at Greenplum and Aster.
Lastly: I was treated to an interesting product demo from Scott Davis from a company called Lyzasoft, providing a low-cost alternative for desktop business user-directed data analysis. One nice aspect is its intergation of columnar data management along with indexing that essentially enables high-performance data access, even on a laptop.