Thursday, June 16, 2011

Summit 2011 Partner Intelligence Give-Away Winner

Congratulations go out to Kyle at Dollar General in Goodlettsville, TN, for winning Partner Intelligence's raffle give-away at Information Builders' Summit 2011.

Not present at the "Ask Gerry" session where Information Builders announced the winner, Kyle found out via e-mail that he now owned an Amazon Kindle book reader. Partner Intelligence consultant Rick Koch visited Kyle a few days later to hand deliver the Kindle.

In addition to Kyle himself, his employer Dollar General was a big winner. See IB's blog for more information.

Summit 2011 IBI Winner

This year, Partner Intelligence created a new tradition of raffling a prize for the IBI employees staffing the annual users group event. Typically, these hard-working individuals are not allowed to participate in any Summit give-aways.

All that has changed in 2011 with Lori Pieper, a Senior System Engineer at the Cincinnati office, winning an Amazon Kindle book reader. Congratulations, Lori!

Summit 2011 Best Customer Presentation

Last night, Gerry Cohen of Information Builders announced the best customer presentation out of the entire five-day event. The award went to Chris Byrne of Paycor, a well-known Cincinnati-based payroll processing firm.

A fairly new IBI customer, Paycor created a unique web reporting solution. Using web services, Chris and the Paycor team were able to get to the underlying nuts and bolts of WebFOCUS, expose them to an ASP.NET web application, and craft an impressive ad-hoc reporting application.

Thrilled, the audience gave Chris the highest votes of all the customer-led sessions. Congratulations, Chris!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Big BI Event in Texas

Things are big down here in Texas at the Information Builders' Summit 2011 event.

So when we called a shuttle to take us to a nearby restaurant, we should not have been surprised at the size of the ride. I told those with me that I think we were the oldest folks to be inside our tricked-out stretch Hummer, as it was obviously designed for teenagers on prom night.

When we arrived, the restaurant was wonderful. The concierge at the Hilton Anatole had recommended Truluck's on McKinney Avenue and what a wonderful suggestion that was. The great people at Truluck's did everything exactly right. 

However, if you do drive your own Hummer over to Truluck's, be sure to go the speed limit. As we ate dinner, we observed one of Dallas' finest perform an ongoing stop-and-ticket campaign one right after another. And you never know, these might be big Texan traffic fines. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

WebFOCUS Job Opportunity - BI Consultant

As the leading Midwest provider of WebFOCUS business intelligence talent, Partner Intelligence continues to grow. We have consultants in Columbus, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Louisville, and Nashville. We specialize in critical BI initiatives such as strategic advice; dashboards and application development; and automated conversions.

Since we first started the company in 2007, the software vendor of WebFOCUS Information Builders has chosen us to augment their Professional Services organization. In addition to working on IBI vendor engagements across the country, Partner Intelligence also provides services directly to regional clients.

The vendor named us an elite Solution Partner, providing us with the ability to resell the WebFOCUS BI product as part of our services engagements. As a formal partner, we have access to WebFOCUS software, technical support, documentation, training, and other resources.

We have performed successful projects for many of the regional WebFOCUS customers. Because our reputation is so important to us, we make sure each and every engagement is setup to win; our Partner Intelligence consultants have a full support team behind them.

We have immediate opportunities for experienced individuals to join our team as full-time employees and participate in our exciting client engagements.  We offer competitive benefits, a tremendous learning opportunity, and a fun time.

You can expect:
  • Competitive Base Salary (paid bi-weekly)
  • Variable Bonus Plan (paid annually)
  • Long-Term Incentive Plan (calculated annually)
  • Paid Holidays
  • Paid Time Off Plan (based on length of service)
  • Travel Expenses covered, with hotel and airfare direct-billed to Partner
  • Travel Agency to assist with your travel plans 
  • 401K
  • Group Insurance Plans: Health, Dental, Vision, Life
  • Long-Term Disability Plan
  • WebFOCUS Mentoring and Training 
  • Notebook computer with full WebFOCUS environment 
  • Challenging WebFOCUS consulting engagements 

If you are looking for a full-time career with like-minded passionate individuals where you can maximize your skills and build a strong BI reputation, consider Partner Intelligence.

Our partners have excellent career opportunities. Our customers come to us for the complex BI initiatives that they cannot do themselves nor find expertise elsewhere (even the software vendor turns to us).

In addition to Consultants, we need Practice Leaders in a variety of specialties, such as BI dashboard application development, automated legacy conversions, Best Practice advisory sessions, and Project Management. If you want to move into a business role, we also need Recruiters and Business Development professionals. You may even be able to start your own branch of Partner Intelligence in the geography of your choosing.  

If you are interested in joining us, please contact me immediately at DLautzenheiser at my PIforBI dot com e-mail address.

Be sure to read more about us at this link.

Breaking News from 2011 September 19: The Courier just named Partner one of 50 Finalists for the 2011 Best Places to Work in Cincinnati. Read more about it here

Summit 2011 for Networking

Information Builders' Summit 2011 is proving itself to be an excellent "people place." If you are here, you have made some great new contacts among this community of BI practitioners as well as run into some familiar faces from past events.

Information Builders has organized the event well to facilitate mingling and conversations. The breakfast, lunch, break, and reception activities are all perfectly suited for talking with guests, analysts, and vendors. Tonight is the offsite Rodeo event, another great place to interact with people.

Gerry, Vashti, and Mark
People from around the globe are here, from both small and large organizations (the Canadians will spend some extra time at the event now that Air Canada went on strike today). I would guess that the audience mix is 80% technical and 20% business users.

Yesterday, I had breakfast with Lt. John of the New York City's 1PD. Passionate about his job, Lt. John supports about 4000 detectives with a WebFOCUS application for incident reporting, arrests, and criminal investigations. In a few minutes, I will watch his presentation.

Equally passionate was Teri from a financial services firm who had created a SaaS reporting application using web services to get to the nuts and bolts of WebFOCUS and opened it up to external customers.

At lunch, I sat with individuals who use WebFOCUS to do financial dashboards for a non-profit organization in Texas. At dinner, I had a great time with BI professionals from a variety of industries.

I had the good fortune of sharing an elevator with Howard Dresner and having a nice chat while walking to the sessions. Later that night, Wayne Eckerson stopped by the Partner Intelligence booth for a conversation. I was also able to spend time with many of the great IBI employees.

About two hundred people have already dropped off raffle tickets to win a free Amazon Kindle book reader. I wish there was enough time to get to know each of them.

Talking to people, it is obvious that we have a tight job market for WebFOCUS professionals. There is a shortage of qualified people out there, everybody has a job, and many companies are trying to hire. I talked to several people who had just recently switched employers.

This is an exciting time to be a BI professional. The more people you know, the better your career opportunities. If you are here in Dallas at the Summit 2011, be sure to stop at the Partner Intelligence booth and introduce yourself.

Monday, June 13, 2011

IB Summit 2011 Has Started!

Information Builders' annual user conference is off to a great start. Last night was the Welcome Reception with open bar and an excellent meal.  I was surprised to see a full spread and not just finger food like in the past few years. Instead, the Hilton Anatole in Dallas served up dishes containing roast duck, halibut, tenderloin, lobster, and crab.

Is this a sign of the economy in general or just BI software?

We had a great turnout at our Partner Intelligence booth, where we are giving away one Amazon Kindle book reader to a customer and another one to an IBI employee. At conferences, vendor employees working the booths and presenting rarely get included in the give-away drawings. Here at Summit, with top-notch freebies such as iPads, iPods, XBox 360s, and so forth, I felt especially bad for my WebFOCUS/iWay friends so I bought an extra Kindle.

On this Monday morning, the General Session has just wrapped up. It was obvious from the size of the ballroom that Summit attendance is higher than last year. During his talk, Gerry Cohen showed three slides of new US customer logos since last year's event and two more slides of new international customers. Things seem to be going well for Information Builders.

During the software demonstration, IBI announced in passing that their WebFOCUS Developer Studio product will be replaced with a new "App Developer" that was created with a similar look-and-feel as the InfoAssist end-user reporting tool. Now, both products with have the Microsoft Ribbon Bar feature. The switch is to happen in WebFOCUS 8.0.

The other big item of interest during the software demos was the emphasis on mobile BI. Frankly, I was concerned last year when IBI only gave away iPads but did not talk about them in their software presentations. I was especially worried that their development seemed to be focused on Adobe Flash which would not work on the Apple devices.

But today, IBI indicated they are committed to BI on any platform. When the demo person showed a Flash graph, he added in a comment of "Of course, on your iPad this would be using HTML 5 to get the same content."  (Just as a side comment, I spoke with a gentleman who won an iPad at Summit last year. He said he was the first person in his small organization to have one. After they saw his new innovation, thirty-seven of his associates have since bought an iPad.)

The industry analysts talked about mobile BI as well. As always, audience interaction with the panel was good. Members included Howard Dresner, Wayne  Eckerson, Boris Evelson, Cindi Howson, Mark Smith, and Dan Vessett.

Some comments from the analysts provide some insight into the larger audience and fancier accoutrements of this year's event. First, BI has become mainstream and executives have jumped onto the bandwagon. Also, BI is not necessarily an IT topic. Instead, over half of the BI initiatives are being driven by the business people. IT is being forced to adapt.

One area of adaptation is in mobile computing. Mark Smith commented that today's executives are impatient. In the past, they had a team of reporting specialists producing daily "briefing books" of important information. Now, executives want that information real-time on their mobile devices and are frustrated that IT cannot make it happen quickly.

Another important trend is the shortage of BI professionals. Boris Evelson talked about the high level of job security we in the BI space are enjoying now and which we will continue to see into the future. Business is constantly facing new challenges and needs information to make the best decisions. Because of this, Boris said, "BI never stands still."

The good BI professional is hard to find. That is because he or she has both technical skills and business acumen. Wayne Eckerson called these the "purple people" because of their unique traits and scarcity. Cindi Howson agreed, saying that in her research she saw that the number one key success factor for BI was executive sponsorship; number two was having these hybrid business/IT people leading the BI team.

Howard Dresner discussed a case study where a "purple person" became an "organizational activist" who used BI as a lever to change the entire company culture. Dan Vesset pointed out that BI professionals need to learn to market themselves within their organization. Mark Smith said that some organizations are using social media to identify their internal "purple people" and engage them on the official BI teams.

So things are getting off to a great start. Keep an eye on the blog for more information.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Be My Guest at IBI Summit 2011 in Dallas!

Are you really not attending Information Builders' annual WebFOCUS user group coming up in June?

If you are not coming for financial reasons, perhaps I can help.

Being a premier sponsor of the event, Partner Intelligence has a number of "guest" tickets that can get you in the door for free. I would be happy to provide one to you, especially if you have never before been to the event. You would still have to cover your own travel costs, but Partner Intelligence would take care of your conference attendance fee.

I have a limited number of tickets left and need to confirm attendance very quickly. Contact me at DLau....
as soon as possible if you are sincerely interested in being my guest.

About Me

My photo

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.