I got to Orlando easily and safely yesterday (Monday) and spent part of the day relaxing. In fact I relaxed right through the opening speakers which was disappointing because one of the authors of “Freakonomics” was participating, and he’s quite fun to listen to. His book is a very interesting read, especially from a data perspective. My favorite chapters were how they figured out which teachers were cheating on standardized tests, and how sumo wrestlers appear to sometimes throw matches. Maybe that will be another blog post at some point.
So far this morning I have managed to get checked in and attended the opening keynote. From a Business Objects perspective there wasn’t a lot of information presented, but they did include a couple of nuggets. One of the first items that tweaked my interest was related to a new initiative related to measuring the performance of the SAP Enterprise Support group. As anyone who has worked with Business Objects for any length of time probably knows, support is frequently a topic of great interest. (I’ve seen both good and bad, and again that’s not the point of this post.) The general tone for the presentation was all about “clarity” and in the support arena it seems that they’re going to be publishing KPIs related to how their support group is doing. That sounded good, but…
First, it seems it’s only for SAP support at this time, not Business Object product support specifically. From talking to an SAP customer there is some additional software they’re required to buy (yes, buy, it’s not free) in order to participate in the program. It’s software that helps SAP support engineers get into your systems and help diagnose issues, and also make sure you’re up to date on patches and so on. If you don’t run this software, then I suppose (and most of this is subject to later verification) you’re not part of the system and your data won’t be used to feed the KPIs.
I’m going to try to find the press release (I assume there is one) and read more about it, but I thought that it was worth sharing for now.
They also did a brief demo of Explorer (rebranded Polestar product). It was rather amusing, as the product was introduced as “… so easy a CEO could use it…” and so, in fact, he did. The CEO participated in the demo showing just how easy it was to take a natural language question (Intelligent Question, anybody? ) and enter it into the sytem. From there a search is performed to determine the best place to answer the question. Ultimately a report was generated. It was all very sexy and of course they didn’t bother to discuss all of the work that goes into the background to make it all function.
From a Business Objects perspective there wasn’t anything dramatic that was announced or covered in the keynote. Obviously this is an SAP conference so I would expect the emphasis to be on the overall company, but I will continue to try to see if I can find something new and/or interesting to report.
And if anyone is interested, I did not make it to any roller coasters yesterday.