Notes from the TDWI Conference in San Diego, (Day 1)

The TDWI World Conference in San Diego has finally begun, and as a media partner, TEC will be covering this event in its entirety. The next series of brief posts will be dedicated to the conference’s highlights whose theme is “Creating an Agile BI Environment .”

The Initial Keynote
The official session began with a very interesting and “agile” opening key note by Wayne Eckerson called “The Secrets of Creating an Agile, Adaptable BI Environment.” Approaching a business intelligence (BI) project using the agile methodology means that it’s necessary to modify the traditional development method of BI solutions and apply the agile model to enable and reinforce collaboration, a continuous improvement process, and a more frequent delivery cycle process. The agile BI concept was put into the spotlight in order to address as many other issues, one of the most important issues during the development of a BI related project: communication between IT and business personnel. Agile model address this communication problem by promoting not only the cohesion of multidisciplinary teams, but also by encouraging teams members to acquire global BI knowledge, and avoid specialization as much as possible.

Session with Ralph Hughes
After the keynote presentation, I had the opportunity to listen to “An Agile Method for Data Warehousing” from Ralph Hughes. Among other interesting ideas, the proposal to speed the BI development cycle to a delivery cycle process from three to four weeks—and with an incrementally scheme—sounds logical but also challenging, considering the fact that in order to achieve this goal, team collaboration will be essential for project success. Another challenge arises when considering a paradigm change from a classic BI development process to an agile model, in which complexity of developing a BI solution can come from very different sources, so control will be essential to guarantee a collaborative, iterative, faster, cheaper, and better development process. Still, the agile methodology seems to make sense due to the natural cycling process of modern and classical BI solutions.

One of the interesting things mentioned in this session was how eager the attendees were to understand and digest all the information, but also to participate bringing their experiences to the session.

Meeting with 101Data: Another “New” Approach to Data Warehousing
Another interesting moment during my first day at the TDWI conference was the interview with Sandy Steier, Vice President(VP) and co-founder of 1010Data, a data warehouse-as-a-service (DWaaS) provider that offers a very unique option when handling large sets of data (big data).

Meeting with Microsoft
To close the day, I had the opportunity to chat with Val Fontama, Senior Product Manager for Microsoft’s SQL Server product. The meeting was about the general Microsoft strategy regarding the data warehousing space, and its newly BI product offering, PowerPivot.

This first day was an interesting mixture of information coming from expert voices as well as from the people that deploy, implement, and use BI technology to support all their decision-making processes.
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