Tuesday, April 14, 2009

2009 Summit in Nashville

Information Builders' annual Summit User Conference is almost here!

With last year's success, IB will once again hold their premier customer event at the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville. Summit 2009 begins on Sunday, June 7th, and goes through Thursday, June 11th. I started going a dozen years ago, when the event was called FUSE. Here's what I like about it.

First, Summit provides a unique opportunity to meet individuals from WebFOCUS clients from around the world. If you are interested in networking, I can coordinate personal get-togethers. Let me know your interest, and I will try to connect you with the right persons.

In addition to networking, Summit is the place to increase your WebFOCUS knowledge -- listen to excellent speakers, attend workshops, and talk one-on-one with product managers and technical gurus. If you need a difficult problem solved, visit the Expert Room where top-quality representatives will dig in to figure out the issue.

Last but not least, the Summit schedule is jam-packed with presentations from industry analysts, vendor product gurus, and customers. Hear what the top analysts say about business intelligence and see how other companies use WebFOCUS.

At last year's Summit, Don Garland and I co-presented on Henny Penny's global BI. This time, Dan Watkins from Brightpoint and I will reveal how we automated BI application development to speed delivery of critical customer-facing reports (if you are building WebFOCUS reports by hand, you need to see this to believe it!).

I realize we are all trying to do more with less in today's economy, but I encourage you to spend a few days at this conference. If you do, please stop in for our presentation and at the Partner Intelligence booth.

To learn more about the Summit 2009, visit the website. I hope to see you there!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Defining Business Intelligence

Watching a vendor's PowerPoint presentation on Business Intelligence doesn't have to be boring.

See how Microsoft does BI presentations.

Mainframe Data Sources

A individual from Omaha, Nebraska, came to my BI blog through the Ask.com search engine to learn if WebFOCUS could read mainframe tape files.

From a technical standpoint, yes, but the answer does depend on which components you have licensed and installed.

If WebFOCUS runs on your MVS mainframe, you should have no problem reading tape files. But, if WebFOCUS runs on a non-MVS platform (e.g., Windows, UNIX, AS400, or a zLinux partition on the mainframe), then you will need a mainframe component to get to the tapes.

Basically, you must have a WebFOCUS server and data adapter running on the mainframe to read tape files (or almost any other mainframe data structure for that matter -- an exception would be DB2, but that is a different topic).

If your WebFOCUS Reporting Server is not on the mainframe, it will have to ask a mainframe server for its data. Information Builders offers a lower price for this secondary mainframe component because you do not use all of the full features of WebFOCUS -- you might think of this as a limited use of a Reporting Server. Information Builders calls this a Remote Data Server or Adapter.

A potentially confusing thing is that Information Builders may say they are selling you an "adapter" for the mainframe. An adapter all by itself doesn't do anything; it has to be called by a "server." For the price you pay for the adapter, you are really getting the server as well.

Of course, for WebFOCUS to read these mainframe files, you must allocate them and have metadata descriptions. You may also want to consider only accessing tapes in scheduled batch or deferred execution requests rather than allowing users with a web browser to read tapes in a real-time mode.

I hope this answered the question. If not, be sure to contact me directly via e-mail.

About Me

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I am a project-based software consultant, specializing in automating transitions from legacy reporting applications into modern BI/Analytics to leverage Social, Cloud, Mobile, Big Data, Visualizations, and Predictive Analytics using Information Builders' WebFOCUS. Based on scores of successful engagements, I have assembled proven Best Practice methodologies, software tools, and templates.

I have been blessed to work with innovators from firms such as: Ford, 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, where I graduated summa cum laude. In 1990, I joined Information Builders and for over a dozen years served in regional pre- and post-sales technical leadership roles. Also, for several years I led the US technical services teams within Cincom Systems' ERP software product group and the Midwest 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. My experience with BI products include WebFOCUS (vendor certified expert), R, SAP Business Objects (WebI, Crystal Reports), Tableau, and others.