I’m home after an uneventful flight. (I assume it was uneventful, I slept most of the way.) The last bit of fun was a concert from Carlos Santana. During the concert he started talking about “consciousness” and he really extended the sound of the “s” at the end of the word. Then he paused, said “A”, paused, and wound up with a “P” at the end. Ssssss…. A…. P…. you can see what he did there.
Oh, and I got a tweet displayed on the jumbotron during the pre-concert activities!
As with last year the in-memory technology was getting a lot of mentions. This time they’re taking it beyond reporting and starting to talk about embedding it within the application itself. One example given was for the planning applications. Instead of having to plan at a weekly level and wait for the application to crunch numbers, go ahead and load everything into memory and run your planning app at the daily level. Instant response. From a forecast / planning perspective I can see where this would be attractive, as planners always seem to want as much data as they can possibly get.
Last word: Desktop Intelligence wasn’t showing up anywhere, and everyone I talked to that would have reason to know was saying that it’s gone as of XI 4.0.
Time to start making plans for our own (BusinessObjects) conference this fall. Have you submitted your abstracts yet? I have a post coming up early next week with some ideas on how to improve your chances of being selected to speak.
Yesterday afternoon I attended some SAP Mentor sessions, which unfortunately I can’t talk about because of NDA. Suffice it to say there are some very creative and enthusiastic folks that work for the company. After the conference ended yesterday I attended the ASUG Volunteer reception where they handed out awards for the past year.
This morning I participated in a panel discussion sponsored by the ASUG BI SIG. Fellow mentors Ingo and Ken were there, along with SAP representative Dan Kiernan. Lots of good questions were asked, some about specific technical issues (page numbering in PDF files created from Web Intelligence) and others about the broader roadmap (when will the products work together better).
Hasso is the keynote for this morning. As with last year he is talking about in-memory databases, a subject that he is obviously quite passionate about. He covered some of the same concepts in his keynote last year. Shortly I will be heading out to see new SAP Mentor and founder of Everything Xcelsius Mico Yuk do her presentation, followed by a BOB lunch gathering. This afternoon is filled with more SAP Mentor sessions, so I’m not sure how much I will be able to share from those.
This morning I got up bright and early. That is to say, the sun was bright and I was early. I made my way down to the ASUG lounge area in order to participate in a “meet the experts” session with fellow SAP Mentor Ken Hartman. We had a small but enthusiastic (meaning awake) group of folks at our session, so that went well. After the session I visited with a gentleman from Australia, talking about the Mastering BusinessObjects conference that’s coming up in a few weeks. He told me not to expect to go surfing this time. Apparently Melbourne gets ocean currents delivering water from the southern ocean extremes… Antarctica in other words.
I skipped the keynotes this morning in order to catch up on some work email and other items. After the keynotes I had a meeting with Laure, one of the folks responsible for the configuration and operation of the community software used by the SAP Community Network (SCN). It was great to talk to her and share thoughts and ideas about working with online communities. That’s not exactly breaking news on the BusinessObjects front, but I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation. It also helps explain why I don’t have much to report this morning.
Oh, I did stop by the booth for RoamBI. They’re giving away an iPad, and I didn’t bring any business cards. I didn’t bring any because I didn’t print any when I joined my new company, so that’s my fault. I checked in with a few reporting ideas and they said they should be able to get something put together. Anything is better than concatenated text emailed to a Blackberry, right?
There is a funny video they were playing on a loop last night that featured Hasso Plattner interviewing himself, asking questions about in-memory column databases. I watched the entire thing before I realized that he was on both sides of the picture. He was dressed differently and had different hair styles and everything. I didn’t care about the interviewer, I just wanted to see his responses. When it looped and started again I realized what was going on as I paid more attention to the interviewer. Funny.
No keynotes this afternoon, but a few Mentor sessions and then the ASUG Volunteer reception.
Not looking like I’m going to hit any roller coasters this year…
The big news for BusinessObjects customers was from Bridgette’s keynote, and I’ve already posted about that. They keynote ended with a very interesting and highly entertaining speech from General Colin Powell. Turns out he has a Corvette. And he gets speeding tickets.
Tomorrow morning Ken Hartman and I will deliver an interactive session in the ASUG lounge where we will talk to customers about the various tools. Since most of the customers here are likely to be SAP ERP customers that are still looking for insight on BusinessObjects products we will try to provide that. We may film parts of it, and if so, I’ll post it here.
Altogether it was a good day today. Tomorrow I will be meeting with some different folks, including one of the people responsible for managing the community for SCN. It will be interesting to share stories about managing a large and active online community.
ASUG CEO Bridgette Chambers just announced (in her keynote) that BusinessObjects users who are not SAP ERP users can receive a complimentary membership through 2011. 5,000 members can join under the Valueship program. We played with this idea for a while during the GBN days, but the GBN folks never really got to see the full breadth of services offered at asug.com. By opening the site up for the next year and a half BusinessObjects only customers (the target for GBN) will now be able to see the real flavor and benefits from membership.
That membership will include full access to the online community at asug.com, the ability to attend all regional chapter meetings throughout the U.S. and Canada, and access to education and Influence activities specific to the non-ERP BusinessObjects customer. These are the primary services available via paid memberships, and the test drive through the end of 2011 should help prove what the true value is. I am guessing the reason they went to the end of 2011 was to show a full cycle of Influence Council meetings. The free membership is only for legacy BusinessObjects customers; it will not be offered to SAP ERP customers. That makes sense.
What happens for existing BusinessObjects customers that have already joined and paid for their membership? Bridgette covered that too. Those members will be recognized as “founding members” and will receive special benefits, including credit towards the upcoming BusinessObjects User Conference. There will be more details later, but I am very encouraged by this development. This is what we (the former GBN steering committee) and others were asking for. Obviously ASUG listened.
The keynotes have been quite interesting. The first part was a Q/A session with Sir Richard Branson. Some of the tweets were complaining about the Q/A format, but I still found it interesting. I finally gave up on watching the twitter stream and just watched him speak.
Former VP Al Gore is now speaking from Orlando. Whether you agree with his positions or not, I find him to be an excellent speaker. He started off talking about global warming but has segued into talking about how sustainability is good not just for the environment but for business. I believe he just used the phrase “functionally insane” to describe businesses who don’t recognize that sustainability is a critical requirement for business success. Higher efficiency + lower waste = win/win situation for all. Fascinating speech, I hope it’s being captured and will be available online to view again later.
I was just given a link to the BI Agenda at the ASUG Annual Conference.
I printed this out prior to heading down to Orlando. If you’re here, it’s a great reference showing all of the ASUG BI sessions at a glance rather than having to plow through the entire SAPPHIRE agenda to find them.
SAP Mentorship has its privileges; I’m posting this from a wired connection in the reserved seating at the keynote. Wireless at the convention center is very much over subscribed…
I got to go to an ASUG reception last night where they introduced a new feature. They’re going to offer a demo platform for SAP online. If folks are interested in some specific SAP modules (for example HCM is one that is available) they can sign on and work with the tool right away. They don’t have to wait for their own internal IT folks to set up test server and install the software. Think OnDemand.com but for SAP modules. The ASUG demonstration platform also includes Explorer, by the way.
This morning I’m listening in to the SAP press conference. The questions are not surprisingly related to the Sybase acquisition. The response from SAP is focused on the in-memory synergies between the existing technology from Sybase and the TREX engine from SAP. They’re also very bullish on the impact of the mobile expertise that Sybase has developed. They took a nice dig at Oracle in answering another question… where they say that the companies are merging to grow, not to merge and cut 21,000 jobs.
As a side note, if the rumor I am hearing is correct, there will be something exciting to report from the ASUG side of the house this afternoon. Stay tuned for further updates…