Tuesday, August 17, 2010

TDWI Conference – Day 2 Highlights

Another great day at the TDWI BI Executive Summit, covered a lot more ground today.  Here is my list of highlights and “a ha” moments:

  • Many Data Warehouses only get leveraged for standard reporting, it takes a leap to start leveraging this investment for true analytics.
  • An assessment of who does reporting / BI and what systems they leverage is an essential step to understand the requirements for BI at your organization.
  • Just having the latest tools doesn’t ensure success in your BI program, you need to engage your business closely to get true value.
  • Think hard about what will amaze and delight your end users when it comes to the customer service you provide through your BI team.
  • Text Analytics is critical to gaining insight from the vast amount of unstructured data your organization has.  Lots of great applications of how to understand and take action on the feedback from your customers.
  • Idea of having people in your BI team be adept at all parts of the technology stack from Database, ETL, and BI reporting (and requirements).  This helps ensure that you implement business logic in the right part of the stack.  For example, a report developer will put the logic in the report, because that is what they know.
  • Business Intelligence is a process of discovery, it is worthless to document requirements at the beginning of an iteration because these requirements will and should change.  Document what you have to once you have what the customer wants.
  • User happiness is the key to success, the goal of meeting the requirements as documented at the beginning of the project is meaningless.
  • Everyone on your BI team needs exposure to the end customer to truly understand their needs, including your ETL developers.  Strikes me that your ETL developers probably know your organization’s data the best, and can bring this knowledge to the conversation with your customer.
  • Lots of discussion on data governance / MDM in the afternoon:
    • Data quality needs to be part of everything you do, it is not just about a governance model
    • Idea of putting the name of the business owner on the report, they should be the ones answering questions about data quality
    • Pick your battles, only focus on data quality issues that have significant impact
    • You need to link data quality / governance to business process management, they are very tightly linked
    • It is not really about garbage data, it is about bringing together multiple, valid formats so they can be integrated and linked.

Tomorrow wraps up the BI Executive Summit with a half day of content focused on future trends in the BI space.  Should be interesting!  Stay tuned for tomorrow’s update.


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