The Data Warehouse Institute (TDWI) Conference in San Diego: The Agile Approach to Business Intelligence (BI)

Next month a TDWI World Conference will be taking place in San Diego, California. What’s so special about this conference anyway? The answer is simple:  the general topic is going to be “Creating an Agile BI Environment”. Progressively in the last four or five years, the agile software development methodology has been jumping from the software development area to the data warehouse space, as organizations are constantly searching to meet their business intelligence (BI) needs. This adaptation of the agile development methodology is now being applied to all facets of the BI life cycle process. But, can all BI processes become agile? A couple of days ago, I spoke with Mr. Paul Kautza, Director of Education at the TDWI. During the chat, he gave me some very interesting information regarding the upcoming event in San Diego. .

Agile BI in a Nutshell
The modern agile software development methodology evolved in the 1990s to provide an alternative method for software design processes as opposed to the traditional development process that is based on logical waterfalls and divided in micro tasks. The agile development software methodology tries to address the software development process in an iterative manner and find new methods to improve existing ones such as
•    speeding up the development process and enable continuous delivery of totally functional products by enabling an iterative development process;
•    enabling continuous follow-up on quality during the development process.
•    closing the communication and collaboration gap between business users and developers;
•    encouraging self-organization in your team to increase auto motivation and auto improvement; and
•    enabling changes in almost each step of the development process to improve the adaptability of the system.
Agile development methods promote collaboration, project adaptability to complex conditions, and encourage continuous improvement. The idea of having these concepts applied into the BI space does not only make sense but improves some of the natural features of a BI project, like its natural iterative nature, and its essential need for collaboration between businesses and end users.

The Conference and Agile BI
Besides the data warehousing and BI core concept courses, there will be an interesting myriad of events taking place in the conference to address possible ways to apply the agile methodology to BI solutions. It will begin with presentations from Wayne Eckerson (“The Secrets of Creating an Agile, Adaptable BI Environment”) and Ken Collier (“Katabatic Winds of Business Intelligence”), and there will be a promising set of training sessions given by Ralph Huges, an expert in adapting software engineering practices into the principles of the Agile methodology, and author of the book “Agile Data Warehousing”. On the same topic of Agile methodology, Len Silverston and Claudia Imhoff, both recognized experts in data warehousing and data management will be talking about “Mastering BI with Best-Practice Architectures and Data Models: From Hub and Spoke to Agile Development”.
Another number of sessions to look forward to regarding Agile BI are:

•    “Architecture and Technologies for Agile OLAP” by John O´Brien, an expert in data architecture and analytics.
•    “Extreme Scoping: An Agile Approach to Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence” given by Larissa Moss, an expert in the Data Warehouse field.

Other Things to Look For
As with all TDWI conferences, the San Diego World Conference will also have a broad coverage of topics from many aspects of the BI life cycle process—especially for data warehousing and data analysis. Here are some other things to look for:
•    “Data Governance for BI Professionals” given by Jill Dyché, co-author of the book: “Customer Data Integration: Reaching a Single Version of the Truth” and Kimberly Nevala, senior consultant in Master Data Management (MDM).

•     MDM for Practitioners: Deploying Your MDM Solution and MDM for Practitioners: Developing Your MDM Plan given by Evan Levy

You can check the complete list of events on the 2010 TDWI World Conference in San Diego.


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