May 21 2008

SAPPHIRE Day 3 – Part 1

Categories: 2008 SAPPHIRE (Europe), Conferences Dave Rathbun @ 4:05 am

Wednesday has dawned (bright and early, thanks to Alan Mayer who I am sharing a hotel room with :-P ) and so I am able to post some thoughts before the day gets along too far. I watched only a portion of the general session this morning so I don’t really have any comments on it. The first track session that I plan to attend is on the text analysis tool that Business Objects purchased last year. If you haven’t heard of it yet, it’s essentially a tool that allows you to scan unstructured data like blog posts or forum topics :) looking for information. One of the standard demonstrations shows how this tool can let you scan hundreds or thousands of emails that come into your customer service department and get an overall “feel” for the sentiment of those communications. It’s an interesting idea.

While I have time, some general thoughts and ramblings about the conference experience…

My laptop battery has apprently become an issue. I have not been using it on the battery much lately, and apparently over the years its life has declined. I am now lucky to get more than 15 minutes of active time. Fortunately the rooms where they are holding the talks have power plugs available. I am currently sitting in Room A using the power to check email and write this post. The talk will start in about an hour or so.

The 2007 European conference was also in Berlin but in a different area of the city. Last night we visited that area and enjoyed a braut and beer (ginger ale for me) in a restaurant on the river by the conference hotel from last year. The food was excellent and the company (you know who you are…) was even more so.

I did not bring my digital camera with me on this trip. Last year I hauled it over here and took very few pictures, so this year I decided not to bring it along. We picked up some disposable cameras this morning to take a few shots, so perhaps I’ll get them uploaded at some point.

Overall I have enjoyed this conference. Even though it’s quite large (I am told there are about 9,000 people attending) the Business Objects part is two floors in one corner of the facility. Floor 4.2 is the open area with theaters and exhibitor booths and food and so on, and floor 4.1 is where the speaker areas are, along with the Business Objects test drives and more food. Did I mention they have food? :lol: I have not ventured into other areas where the focus is clearly on SAP.

It has also been interesting to hear more from some of the SAP folks. I talked to one person who was remarking that the SAP folks seem starved for anything related to BI. The simplest sort of report built in Web Intelligence draws “oohs” and “ahhs” from people that have never had access to these tools before. I imagine they’re quite happy to have these things available now.

Talk is about to start… see you again this afternoon.

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