Jan 25 2012

MicroStrategy World Day 1

Categories: Conferences, MicroStrategy Dave Rathbun @ 1:05 pm

I’m at my first MicroStrategy conference this week. It’s interesting to see what is different and what’s the same compared to the Business Objects conferences that I normally attend. For one thing, they don’t hand out survey forms at the sessions. For a BI / data company, that seems surprising. The food here (which I know is a big reason why folks come to conferences, yes? ;-) ) is like the food used to be at Business Objects conferences several years ago, that is to say we sit down for lunch and they bring around plates. Yesterday was chicken, pasta, green beans, and cheesecake for dessert. It was quite good.

That being said, try to find a bottle of water, or even a water cooler, anywhere around the place. It’s nearly impossible. I finally found some water late yesterday afternoon, after asking a number of different conference folks and getting blank looks or, “I think I saw some over there, somewhere…” comments. The wireless has been good, although it ironically dropped out (at least for me) in the room I went to for the mobility track. :lol: That track is all the way on the end of the hotel, so perhaps they need another access point.

Not only are they not handing out survey forms during the sessions, but they’re not scanning our badges as we enter the rooms. Again, for a data company I find that surprising.

But what about the content? Yesterday I attended three sessions. The first was a joint session between Teradata and eBay. The Teradata folks talked about their generic concepts for “big data” and how to let analysts make the best use of it. The eBay gentleman then talked about some specifics around how they work with their large data sources (petabytes of data). It was interesting but I didn’t see a lot of MicroStrategy stuff, just big data stuff. Next I went to a session delivered by LinkedIn. I found it to be more interesting because in this case they talked about data quality issues that I can certainly related to. BOB is nowhere near as big as LinkedIn (they have 135MM users at this point) but we still have consistency issues. For example, the presenter asked the audience how many ways we thought the job title of “Software Engineer” appeared in their database. The majority of the guesses were very low compared to the actual value of over 6,000. They have over 8,000 different iterations of the company name IBM! :shock: As you can imagine, searching is a big challenge for LinkedIn. As I said, the talk was interesting, but at the end the presenter had not talked about MicroStrategy or shown a single product during the entire talk! In fact that was the first question from the audience, “How are you using MicroStrategy in your environment?”

The last session I attended (the aforementioned mobility track) was given by a presenter from Lowes Hardware. Lowes is a big user of MicroStrategy products. (In fact their former CIO is now apparently in charge of the cloud for MicroStrategy.) He was by far the most engaging presenter and he powered through his session even after the failure of the audio equipment in the room. Lowes has purchased over 40,000 iPhones and has apparently bet big on that hardware platform along with the mobile products from MicroStrategy. He gave a great example… every store manager used to spend a few minutes each morning jotting down some notes from a sales report in order to have that information with him or her at any point throughout the day. Just a few minutes a day, but it was something they did essentially every day. The replaced the report delivery (and hand notations) with a mobile app and eliminated those few minutes. It doesn’t sound like much, does it? They estimated that the savings (I assume based on average pay for store managers) at only $6.84. I think I have that number correct, if I’m wrong it’s not by much. When that savings was multiplied by the number of managers across all stores, and then multiplied again by the number of days in a year, the total productivity savings came out to $4.3 million dollars. Per year. Talk about a quick return on investment, yes?

The app was cool, but I wanted to know more about how it was built, what tools were used, and what the process looked like. So far the sessions I’ve attended have been very light on specifics, so I hope I pick better sessions today. Will let you know tomorrow.

7 Responses to “MicroStrategy World Day 1”

  1. Comment by George


    try to see if you can get under the covers. implementing MSTR is about 3 orders of magnitude harder than BO ever was.


  2. Comment by Ton Bunnik

    As a fanatic BOBJ fan I can’t help getting a very sad feeling to read a story about MSTR written by Dave.
    Let me mourn in my cave Dave.

  3. Comment by Chris Pohl

    see Jenn Fisher?

  4. Comment by Dave Rathbun

    I’m not abandoning Business Objects, in fact it will remain my primary focus. I’m being asked to become more familiar with other tools that we use, and this happens to be one of them. :)

  5. Comment by Guy

    Hi Dave,
    It was a pleasure meeting up with you at the MSTR Conference. Wish I could have spent a little more time with you and your thoughts on BO vs MSTR & conversion strategies.

    Overall, I too found the MSTR Conference & Sessions,,, enlightening (I think MSTR defintely spent more on they’re Conference than SAP/BO seems to do each year).
    It seemed to me MSTR’s Conference was lacking in Technology sessions/classes (only one single Symantec session offered over the whole week??), however they did offer some good sessions on the use & purposes of MSTR’s various Administrative Tools/Utilities (Health Center, Enterprise Mgr, Object Mgr, Architect, etc). Alot of the MSTR Administrative utilities I think BO could REALLY use (yes, I actually said that).
    I also attended MSTR’s future Roadmap meeting, which was quite interesting. They have some great enhancements coming down the road (some of which oddly seemed to VERY MUCH emulate BO funtionalities, looks & feel. They even named some of the functions & utilities almost the same as what BO has).

    Overall had a great time and learned alot (gotta mention we had lunch one day on the CEO’s (Michael Saylor) personal Yacht). Looking forward to next year at the Wynn in Vegas…

  6. Comment by Deepak Singh

    Hi Dave,

    Can you share your views over the comparision of MSTR and BO ?

  7. Comment by Dave Rathbun

    That could be a very lengthy post, and not one I have time to write at the moment. :) The short version: MicroStrategy definitely seems to be ahead in the mobile area, specifically because of their “build once / deploy anywhere” and component reuse strategies. Since they have grown organically (via internal development rather than external acquisitions) this makes sense. However, I still prefer the Business Objects semantic layer.

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