Monday, June 28, 2010

IBI 2010 Summit Presentations Available

On their website, Information Builders recently published the 2010 Summit presentations from their annual WebFOCUS and iWay Software users group meeting in Orlando.  Gerry Cohen, president and founder of IBI, sent out this message to attendees:
Summit 2010 has come and gone, but the knowledge, relationships, and skills gained from the event will stay with us for a long time. Thanks for being a part of this year's conference.

If you missed any of our sessions or labs, you can catch many of the presentations by visiting our Summit Agenda Web page.

You can also go to: for complete coverage of the general session on IBTV, as well as see a slideshow of Summit's highlights. You might even see yourself!

Thank you once again for attending. And keep your eyes open for an exciting new incentive program for next year's event!

I truly hope you'll use Summit's best practices to put your information to work!

If you are looking for WebFOCUS application samples, this is a good resource.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

IBI Announces Major New Version of WebFOCUS

In mid-June 2010, Information Builders made available a major new version of their enterprise Business Intelligence product, WebFOCUS.  First released around 1995, this mature web-based BI product is now at its 7.7 moniker.

This release is just a foreshadowing of the WebFOCUS 8.0 product that IB has planned for the end of the year.

IB identifies the following strategic new features in WebFOCUS 7.7:
  • Enhanced Active Reports Visualization, including new Flex/Flash charts
  • Build Active Reports Dashboards directly from InfoAssist
  • Enhanced performance enhancements and many limits lifted across the product
  • Significant metadata enhancements including simplified metadata management
  • New adapters for Columnar Database (1010data)
  • Centralized Console configuration for iWay and WebFOCUS adapters 
  • New DataMigrator release (Change Data Capture, Real-time updates, etc.)
  • ReportCaster Workload Management & Fail-Over

Because of major modifications to the product, Information Builders warns existing customers to fully test their BI applications before upgrading to WebFOCUS 7.7:

The Release 7.7 implementation is a major new feature release that contains hundreds of new features that span all product components. As such, Information Builders strongly recommends that customers evaluate Release 7.7.01 in a test environment, do extensive regression testing, and promptly report any issues to Customer Support.

This is a good opportunity to climb onto a soap box and quickly restate my opinion on the necessity for multiple BI environments.  At a bare minimum, you must have two -- one for test/development and another for production.

For a major release test such as this, however, you really should have three images: sandbox for upgrade testing, test/dev, and production.  You do not want problems with a major release to mess up your test/dev environment while your developers are trying to roll out new applications.

In an ideal world, you would actually have the following BI environments:
  • Sandbox for software product testing (does not impact test/development application work)
  • Development / Testing (test data environment; purists want two separate images, but I see that as overkill making a person develop in one place and promote into a different test area.  With that said, however, if you demo to clients from a test environment, you don't want a developer monkeying with the application at the same time as your presentation)
  • Production QA (user acceptance area, production data volume testing)
  • Production (protected, secure, always available, high performing environment)
  • Disaster Recovery (in case your Production environment goes kaput)

If you have not yet purchased WebFOCUS, work with your IB sales rep to include multiple images -- that can be more cost-effective to negotiate upfront. 

If you need assistance with regression testing of this new WebFOCUS release, please contact Partner Intelligence.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Summit 2011 Being Planned

With Summit 2010 just coming to an end, Information Builders is already making plans for next year's annual WebFOCUS and iWay Software user conference. 

Inside sources say that Dallas and Las Vegas are being considered as locations for Summit 2011.

Stay tuned!

2011 Updates: be sure to see the most current information here:

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Summit 2010 Winner!

At Information Builders' Summit 2010 annual users conference, Partner Intelligence gave away a pair of Bose Quiet Comfort Noise-Cancelling Headphones.

Congratulations go to Jaclyn from Indiana!  Presenting the prize is Partner Intelligence's Account Manager Eric Bulmahn.

(By the way, noise-cancelling headphones are a useful item to have when flying in and out of the kid-oriented Orlando airport).

We selected Jaclyn's name randomly from surveys completed by conference attendees.  As a result of our BI survey, we confirmed our belief that companies are extremely interested in WebFOCUS BI dashboard technologies. 

Individuals are also looking for advice on how to strategically use Business Intelligence within their organizations.  Also on their minds are efficient ways to replace their legacy reporting applications with modern BI products such as WebFOCUS.

The days were long and I did not have opportunities to blog while working the event.  I will post some after-the-fact blogs soon.

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.