Tuesday, August 17, 2010

TDWI Conference – Day 1 Highlights

Hippo Clip ArtIt was a long day at the TDWI BI Executive Summit yesterday, my head was spinning with everything that I heard.  Here are the highlights or “a ha” moments that I captured:

  • Lets change the term “data acquisition” to “data provisioning”.  I work for a Telecommunications company and a big part of our business is provisioning customer equipment to turn on their services.  Love the idea of us “turning on” our business partners ability to make good decisions by providing good quality data.
  • We need a “BI Review Board” that includes the front lines of our organization from the business through to IT to be involved in approving new standard reports.  This way you ensure more areas of need are met through one standard report.
  • Said it before, Agile BI requires a lot of discipline to maintain quality while delivering faster, better, cheaper.  Invest time in your enterprise data architecture as this is the baseline for everything.
  • Opening up the development of BI reports to your business is like sending a child out into the world for the first time.  You have to rely on the effort you put into developing your child (i.e. standards, best practices) to help guide them on their way (taking on their own development)
  • Avoid the HiPPO when making business decisions (Highly Paid People with Opinions).  In the absence of good data, the HiPPO rules.
  • Put more effort into asking good Questions than providing good Answers.  We need to understand the business challenge to use our data knowledge to provide information, rather than simply responding to a question.
  • How many of your BI reports are forward looking vs backward looking?  If you are reporting on what happened yesterday, your program is reactive; you need to look to the future.
  • We need to do more “A/B Testing”!  Experiment with a new idea on a small piece of your business, then analyze the results before rolling it out across the board.
  • Big theme of decentralizing your BI team to meet the needs of specific business units.  How do we do this and keep the standards and best practices that keep your Total Cost of Ownership low.
  • Unstructured data is growing exponentially faster than structured data (think social media), your BI program must take this hidden gold mine of data into account.
  • Statement: If you don’t have an analytic database capability, then your competitors do!
  • Visualization techniques are vital to understand patterns and value in large data sets.  The only way you can get 10,000 data points on one page and have it still be effective.
  • Visualization is still mostly a science, but you need that artistic ability to make it appealing and useful.  Struck me that a background in GIS will be very valuable in this space.

There of course is a lot more, but these are the ones that stuck out.  Definitely getting a ton of value out of this conference!  Highlights from Day 2 coming later this evening.  Any comments / questions, please let me know.

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