Sunday, June 4, 2017

IB Summit 2017 in Grapevine, Texas



Several people have reached out to see if I am attending the IB Summit 2017 the week of June 5th in Grapevine, Texas. Due to projects, I cannot make it this year but perhaps I'll see you there next time. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

IB Summit 2016 Key Events

I'm excited to attend Information Builders' annual user conference in Reno, Nevada, which is just a few weeks away. If you have not registered yet, be sure to do so soon as IB's early-bird pricing offer expires at the end of May 2016.

IB will hold the conference in the newly renovated Grand Sierra Resort and Casino, with sessions starting on Monday, June 13th, and lasting through Friday, June 17th.


For more information and to register, visit the main page here.









Everyone should attend these key events:

Day
General Events
Start
End
Monday, June 13th
Welcome Dinner
19:00
21:00
Tuesday, June 14th
Birds of a Feather Breakfast
07:30
08:30
Tuesday, June 14th
Keynote Session
08:45
12:00
Tuesday, June 14th
WebFOCUS Roadmap
13:30
14:30
Tuesday, June 14th
Analyst, Wayne Eckerson
13:30
14:30
Tuesday, June 14th
Analyst, Boris Evelson
14:45
15:45
Tuesday, June 14th
Analyst, Mark Smith
16:00
17:00
Tuesday, June 14th
Cocktail Reception
17:15
19:00
Tuesday, June 14th
Regional Receptions
19:15
20:15
Wednesday, June 15th
Analyst, Howard Dresner
08:30
09:30
Wednesday, June 15th
Analyst, Lyndsay Wise
11:00
12:00
Wednesday, June 15th
WebFOCUS Roadmap (repeat)
13:30
14:30
Wednesday, June 15th
Offsite Event (Freight House District)
18:00
23:00
Thursday, June 16th
Birds of a Feather Lunch
12:15
13:15
Thursday, June 16th
Ask Gerry (President Q&A)
17:15
19:00


Are you attending Summit 2016? Contact me if you would like to meet there to discuss your BI initiatives.


Friday, July 10, 2015

Rosnet Restaurant Management Solutions Offers Clients WebFOCUS for BI and Analytics

Rosnet in Kansas City, MO, have selected Information Builders' WebFOCUS product to provide their restaurant customers with modern BI and analytics. For more information, see their press release

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Must-See Sessions at IB's WebFOCUS Summit 2015

Information Builders' Summit 2015 is just two weeks ago. When you are there in Kissimmee, Florida, there are several things you must do. 




Here are the general events everybody should attend: 


Day
General Events
Start
End
Sunday, May 31st
Welcome Dinner
19:00
21:00
Monday, June 1st
Birds of a Feather Breakfast
07:30
08:30
Monday, June 1st
Keynote Session
08:45
12:00
Monday, June 1st
WebFOCUS Roadmap
13:30
14:30
Monday, June 1st
Cocktail Reception
17:15
19:00
Tuesday, June 2nd
WebFOCUS Roadmap (repeat)
08:30
09:30
Tuesday, June 2nd
Offsite Event (Universal Studios)
18:45
23:45
Wednesday, June 3rd
Birds of a Feather Lunch
12:15
13:15
Wednesday, June 3rd
Ask Gerry (Q&A)
17:45
19:30


You also don't want to miss any of the presentations by the BI industry analysts:

Industry Analyst Session
Analyst
Day
Start
Systems of Insight: A New Approach to BI to Make Your Big Data Actionable
Boris Evelson
Monday
13:30
In the Age of Analytics, Where Does BI Fit?
Wayne Eckerson
Monday
14:45
What Direction Is the BI Market Heading?
Howard Dresner
Monday
16:00
Data Monetization: From Data as a Service to Value-Added Content
Dan Vesset
Tuesday
08:30
Make a Bigger Impact With Better Metrics
Cindi Howson
Tuesday
09:45
The Big Deal in Big Data and Internet of Things is Analytics and BI
Mark Smith
Tuesday
11:00
Five Best Practices for BI
Lyndsay Wise
Tuesday
13:30


For more information, see Information Builders' Summit 2015 webpage.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

WebFOCUS Hyperstage for BI Columnar Database

For a client, I researched Information Builders' columnar database offering called Hyperstage. If you are a WebFOCUS customer, Hyperstage may be a cost-effective way to improve BI performance without special hardware, design, or administration.

This is a WebFOCUS-integrated database based upon technology from InfoBright (previously known as Brighthouse). Information Builders calls Hyperstage a "load-and-go," high-performance, highly scalable database that is simple to implement, use, and maintain.

Like other database adapters, Hyperstage is an add-on product integrated into the WebFOCUS Reporting Server, uses standard metadata, and is administered through the server console.

While relational databases store data organized into two-dimensional tables containing rows and columns, Hyperstage is designed to store together serialized values of each particular column. Rather than retrieve entire rows, a columnar database only reads the necessary columns.

This approach has proven useful for BI systems which need quick access to small subsets of data. Columnar databases in generate are optimized for analytic queries which ask questions about the data (e.g., aggregations and trends) rather than displaying records from the data.

Hyperstage organizes columns into "Data Packs" which are compressed to reduce the physical size of the database. While columnar data compressions of 10:1 ratios are common, an IB resource says one client obtained a 45:1 compression rate.

For faster retrieval, Hyperstage caches the Data Packs into memory. Hyperstage optimizes data access using an in-memory metadata layer known as the "Database Knowledge Grid." This feature helps eliminate the need for typical performance improvement techniques such as indexes, partitions, and materialized views.

Hyperstage uses an open-source relational database (either MySQL or PostgreSQL) and adds its own layers for improved data storage and query optimization. The WebFOCUS Hyperstage adapter will transform BI requests into optimized SQL queries. Queries that cannot be optimized by Hyperstage are handled by the relational database engine.

While the WebFOCUS language does not currently support a "HOLD FORMAT HYPERSTAGE" option, we should be able to easily replicate this feature with a small custom utility.

For example, many of my clients have nightly batch processing to load special BI databases for fast dashboard access. For Hyperstage, we might simply take some of those existing flat import files and use them as the input to a Hyperstage bulk load process.

Using the WebFOCUS language, we can develop a simple procedure to read the flat file's metadata and generate two SQL routines:

• CREATE command to initialize a Hyperstage structure (using ENGINE=BRIGHTHOUSE)
• LOAD DATA INFILE to bulk-load the Hyperstage structure


You can download my prototype of this WebFOCUS utility from my GitHub account.

Do you see places where Hyperstage might be of use within your organization? Let me know if I can be of service. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Integrating WebFOCUS with Python

The Python open-source object-oriented programming language is popular in today's workforce. It's been around for a couple of decades, but demand for talent is now growing rapidly.

While job postings for WebFOCUS professionals have always been low and steady, the number of jobs with Python has dramatically taken off over the last several years. Below is an Indeed job trend showing the relative growth of jobs for Python and WebFOCUS.  





It is never good to be limited to just a single instrument in your personal toolbox. If you are a WebFOCUS professional, you should learn additional popular technologies--one of them perhaps being Python. 

Many companies have started to use Python for statistical analysis and predictive analytics; there are even contentious arguments on the web debating if Python is better than the R statistical programming language (for example, see this blog). 

Recently, I posted a four-part article on how to integrate WebFOCUS with the R statistical programming language. Guess what? These techniques work equally well with the Python language. 

See these past blog postings:

Part I: Overview
Part II: How WebFOCUS calls R 
Part III: How WebFOCUS generates dynamic R scripts
Part IV: Closer Look at the R Scripts inside WebFOCUS



Are you seeing demand for Python in the marketplace? Leave a comment to give us your insight. 

About Me

My photo

I am a project-based consultant, helping data-intensive firms use agile methods and automation tools to replace legacy reporting and bring in modern BI/Analytics to leverage Social, Cloud, Mobile, Big Data, Visualizations, and Predictive Analytics. For several world-class vendors, I led services teams specializing in providing software implementation and custom application development. Based on scores of successful engagements, I have assembled proven methodologies and automated software tools.

During twenty years of technical consulting, I have been blessed to work with smart people from some of the world's most respected organizations, including: FedEx, Procter & Gamble, Nationwide, The Wendy's Company, The Kroger Co., JPMorgan Chase, MasterCard, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Siemens, American Express, and others.

I was educated at Valparaiso University and the University of Cincinnati, graduating summa cum laude. In 1990, I joined Information Builders, the vendor of WebFOCUS BI and iWay enterprise integration products, and for over a dozen years served in branch leadership roles. For several years, I also led technical teams within Cincom Systems' ERP software product group and the custom software services arm of Xerox.

Since 2007, I have provided enterprise BI services such as: strategic advice; architecture, design, and software application development of intelligence systems (interactive dashboards and mobile); data warehousing; and automated modernization of legacy reporting.