Friday, June 12, 2009

Summit 2009 | Presentation Copies

With the 2009 event over, Information Builders will soon post copies of the presentations on their website. For those of you who could not be at my sessions and cannot wait to get the material, I made a private copy available on my site.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Summit 2009 - Day Five

The last day of Summit 2009 is still going on in Nashville but I have returned to Cincinnati. Today is a half-day event with lots of educational sessions and hands-on labs. The always-popular Expert Room is still open until noon.

I hope that everybody who attended found the same type of value that I did. If you could not attend, please see the archived presentations that Information Builders will soon post to their website.

Summit 2009 - Day Four

The fourth day of Information Builders' Summit 2009 was packed with great presentations.

I particularly enjoyed Nationwide Insurance's presentation on how their Office of Corporate Citizenship worked with an urban school system to build an informational portal designed to improve student proficiency. Information Builders had earlier awarded Nationwide an award of distinction for their use of Business Intelligence software for humanitarian purposes.

Based on federal and state guidelines, Nationwide consolidated 40 Excel worksheets into a single color-coded scorecard available in a WebFOCUS portal. From the scorecard, educational users can drill-down from a city summary to the individual student. Longitudinal trends and comparisons quickly identify problem areas. Collaborative features allow school officials to share intervention strategies among their peers.

I will blog more about it in the future, but here is something that every school in the United States should have. While Nationwide would not take credit, this city increased their high school graduation rates from below half to three quarters (the continued improvement goal is 90% of all city students should successfully complete high school).

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Summit 2009 - Day Three | Another Presentation

My second presentation on automating BI application development was well attended and the audience had great questions.

Legacy BI applications are a major problem. One client told me that his company struggles with business systems written in a legacy 4GL product. Their expert retires soon and there is probably not an experienced replacement in the entire town. Even if they find another 4GL developer somewhere else, that person is probably ready to move to a winter retirement village anyway.

It is just not feasible anymore for companies to use the legacy tools for which there is no labor force or training available. Developed for host platforms in the days before the Internet, these products no longer meet the needs of competitive firms.

In addition to eliminating legacy tools, many people expressed the need to replace BI products that no longer meet their needs and which have uncertain futures, such as Business Objects, Crystal Reports, and Actuate.

Many individuals in the audience were excited to hear there may be a solution to their problem.

Summit 2009 - Day Three | BI Consolidations

I just completed the first of several presentation at Summit 2009.

When I saw the agenda, I marveled at my good fortune to get the 7:45AM speaker's slot the morning following the evening cocktail receptions (thanks, IBI!). That meant a really committed audience who would have to give up sleeping and eating breakfast to see my presentation. But BI consolidation is a great topic regardless of the time of day.

I talked about automated tools and methodologies to convert legacy BI report writers into modern, web-based products. Boris Evelson had a great term yesterday for one characteristic of the next-generation of BI products: "built-in expertise."

That is what the Partner Intelligence tools have: we put our expertise to convert legacy BI applications directly into the application. My next presentation is within an hour.

6/12 update: Information Builders posted the presentation to their website:

The Latest in BI Consolidation
Doug Lautzenheiser, Partner Intelligence
Tuesday 7:45AM - 8:15AM

Now is the time to do more with less. Smart companies are saving money and improving productivity by reducing the number of their supported reporting tools. Doug Lautzenheiser will explain the methodologies and tools his clients have used to overcome the challenges of performing enterprise BI consolidations.
Download presentation

Monday, June 8, 2009

Summit 2009 - Day Two | Comedy

Information Builders started its plenary session with laughter. Corporate comedian Greg Schwem opened the event by showing the absurdity of software vendor marketing, technical jargon, and job postings (in a light-hearted way, of course). See Greg's website.

Summit 2009 - Day Two | Boris Evelson

Boris Evelson, Principal Analyst for Forrester Research, spoke today at the Information Builders' Summit 2009 in Nashville on the next-generation of Business Intelligence. Boris' studies show a continued uptick in BI software interest. In fact, out of the over 1000 IT decision makers surveyed, none were decreasing or stopping their BI initiatives. Over a quarter of the individuals expressed interest in BI and almost one-third indicated a "greenfield" where BI was not yet implemented within the organization.

Boris said that the number one question that people ask him is how to prove BI ROI. Boris admitted that few people know how to do BI and that calculating returns is difficult. He stressed that a big mistake is starting with technology. Instead, Boris recommended some best practices for addressing BI applications which focused on executive sponsorship, user types and their unique requirements, using industry-standard models if possible, and assessing current environment. Boris also recommended bringing in external expertise to up the odds of your BI initiative.

When discussing BI ROI, Boris covered general topics such as automating manual processes, consolidating, upgrading, and creating advanced BI usages. At the bottom of his list was enterprise BI solutions, whose scopes can be too large to justify a business case for moving forward.

While the next-generation BI solution may be a fairy tale today, Boris feels we are getting closer to reality. For next-gen BI, Boris lists 4 attributes: automated, pervasive, unified, and limitless. For more information, see the Forrester Research blog.

Summit 2009 - Day Two | Awards

During Information Builders' general session, awards were given to customers who had created distinctive WebFOCUS BI applications. The winners were:
  • Ford Motor Company, for the Best Enterprise BI
  • Columbus Ohio Public Schools and Nationwide Insurance, for Most Humanitarian
  • US TRANSCOM, for Best Use of BI in the Public Sector
  • New York Public Library, for Best Use of BI
  • TNT, for the the Best Use of iWay Software

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Summit 2009 - Day One

The first night of Information Builders' Summit 2009 went well. Both the Nashville weather and the Gaylord Opryland Hotel are beautiful. From Cincinnati, Nashville was an easy 5-hour drive.

At 7PM, we opened a Delta Ballroom for a general welcome reception to meet and greet each other. Information Builders served dinner and offered an open bar with live entertainment. We wrapped up everything at 10PM but I think the guests would have stayed longer if the hotel staff hadn't stuck to the agreed-upon schedule.

It was great to see the familiar Information Builders faces from the NYC corporate and field sales offices. I talked to quite a few of my former IBI colleagues.

Client attendance seemed light and I noticed fewer international guests, but a bigger crowd may show up tomorrow morning for the General Session. At the Partner Intelligence booth, I talked with a variety of Midwesterners but the West Coast and southern USA were also represented. A few individuals from Sweden even stopped by.

WebFOCUS new-name sales must be good. I talked to many first-time attendees who were there to learn how to take advantage of their new enterprise BI product. A common theme I heard was that they had purchased WebFOCUS because of its ability to develop highly dynamic, parameterized web reporting applications.

Monday is a full day of sessions and evening Cocktail Receptions. I will work the vendor booth at lunch and dinner, so please stop by if you are attending.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Preparing for the WebFOCUS Summit 2009

Partner Intelligence is thrilled to sponsor Information Builders' Summit 2009 in Nashville. My associates Roger Jeter and Ben Dolan will attend for the first time. During the week, we present twice and will roll out exciting news about our vendor partnership as well as our new national recruiting offering for WebFOCUS professionals.

We arrive at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel on Sunday, the 7th of June, to setup in time for the 7PM Welcome Reception in the Delta Ballroom C. When you come for dinner, be sure to stop by Partner Intelligence booth, which is near the ballroom entrance.

We are bringing along our putting green and will give away a TaylorMade putter at the last vendor session. You only have to sink one of three putts to be entered in the drawing (practice before you come to Nashville!).

Along with the Monday through Thursday Summit sessions, be sure to take advantage of special events. Each Information Builders sales region will host a get-together for clients and partners and Partner Intelligence will be at the Central Region Customer Cocktail Reception at the Relache Outdoor Pool from 7PM to 8PM. This is convenient for those of you in the Midwest who attended in 2008, as we are in the exact same location this year.

Once again, Information Builders selected the Wild Horse Saloon as the Tuesday night off-site event. Shuttles being leaving at 7:30PM from the Delta Portico. Dinner will be served and the event lasts from 8PM to 11PM (or until you tire of Boot Scootin' Boogie).

I have planned several face-to-face meetings with individuals interested in learning more about Partner Intelligence offerings, including our automated Business Intelligence consolidation tools where we can simplify the replacement of your legacy BI products (such as NOMAD, FOCUS, Oracle Portal, and QMF/SQL). Send me an e-mail if you would also like to schedule some time together.
Via this blog, I plan to keep everybody informed of happenings at Summit 2009.

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.