May 13 2009

SAPPHIRE 2009 Day 2 Part 1

Categories: 2009 SAPPHIRE - Orlando Dave Rathbun @ 8:14 am

This morning started out well. I had a 7:30 meeting scheduled, which I made because the shuttle bus started running yesterday at 7:00. It turns out this morning they started at 7:30 instead, so I was late. Good start to the day, yes?

I’m listening to the keynote right now. One of the things they do at SAPPHIRE that we don’t do at the Business Objects conferences is they simulcast the keynotes on video screens throughout the conference arena. So I am comfortably sitting in the SAP Mentor corner of the press room, watching the keynote and planning out my schedule for the rest of the day.

First up is a talk from Timo Elliott, who may very well be the Business Objects employee with the longest tenure at this point. Timo is employee #8 :) and has had the unique opportunity to watch the BI market mature from inside one of the primary contributing companies for a very long time. I didn’t get to attend many sessions yesterday as the day was taken up by a few meetings, so I hope to see some today. So, back to schedule planning…

May 12 2009

SAPPHIRE 2009 Day 1 – Explore Your Own Data

Categories: 2009 SAPPHIRE - Orlando Dave Rathbun @ 1:34 pm

I mentioned Explorer in my first post today from SAPPHIRE… I just got out of a session where we got to talk more about Explorer and other emerging technologies from SAP. By the way, does anyone realize that “Explorer” is a recycled product name for Business Objects? In the “old days” the desktop product was licensed as a base module (Reporter) and two add-on modules. One of the add-on modules was the Slice and Dice panel, and the other was the drilling capability. The drilling add-on was named “Explorer” and here we have it again. :)

Anyway, one of the gentlemen in that session gave me a card with a URL that I thought I would pass on. It seems that you can take your own data, drop it into Excel, and then upload it to a website where you can then experiment with Explorer on your own data. I haven’t tried it yet, but I certainly plan to. For now, here’s the URL if anyone else wants to give it a shot:

To experience SAP BusinessObjects Explorer software with your own data, click the “Register” link, below. Within a few days of your registration, we’ll set you up with an account in your own hosted environment for 21 days – where you can upload datasets, navigate with SAP BusinessObjects Explorer, and share your findings with others. Seeing is believing. Test-drive SAP BusinessObjects Explorer today and see your data come to life!

You can get Explorer in one of two modes: it can either be accelerated or not. Without acceleration you apparently get the natural language question capabilities along with the reporting features. The acceleration takes your explorer data and loads it into memory. Having everything in memory makes it quite fast, as you can imagine. :)

May 12 2009

SAPPHIRE 2009 Day 1 Part 1

Categories: 2009 SAPPHIRE - Orlando Dave Rathbun @ 10:24 am

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. 8-)

And if anyone is interested, I did not make it to any roller coasters yesterday.

May 02 2009

SAPPHIRE 2009 – Orlando

Categories: 2009 SAPPHIRE - Orlando, Conferences Dave Rathbun @ 4:58 pm

I was invited to go to SAPPHIRE in Orlando this month, and I don’t even have to prepare a presentation. I’m happy. :D I am going to get to visit with some of the other SAP Mentors while I am there. I will also be able to have some meetings with some of my fellow GBN Steering Committee members. Oh, and I hope to catch up on some news and see what SAP has in mind for their marketing base.

It should be a busy trip. I may even hit a roller coaster (or two) at Universal Studios if I get the chance. ;)