Saturday, March 26, 2011

BI Conference - Microsoft Portugal 2011 (day after)

Microsoft Business Inteligence Conference Portugal 2011
Yesterday I attended the Microsoft BI Conference that took place here in Portugal. It was the first time that Microsoft organize a big and vertical conference focus specifically only in Business Intelligence. The advantage of this kind of focused event is that the attendees know exactly where they go and also is more easy to get support from Microsoft BI partners that could implement some interesting initiatives like show what they has being done in BI, but also to get the contacts of potential future customers and also employees. 700 attendees are a signal that Microsoft BI Tools and “BI world” have been gaining more confidence and support from the community. A special reference for my BI students from ISCTE (Lisbon) and also from UPT (Porto 300 kms distance) that were attending the event! This is just one more step on their interest on BI World… I hope they enjoyed it!

But because this is the first big BI event with 3 parallel tracks, naturally that has some contents that not fit at all in some group of attendees. Almost the sessions was too soft for Microsoft BI professionals, but was amazing for those people that were seeing Microsoft BI capabilities for the first time. Naturally this kind of event has a commercial purpose that allowed being a free event. So… a free event with a very good speakers and also with an amazing organization from Microsoft staff… what we can expect more?! I believe these kind of vertical/focused events are here to stay. And I hope to finally see an academic track where the BI students around Portugal could show their projects based on Microsoft amazing BI tools. And also we want to see more Portuguese speakers like Bruno Cortes that was planned to present at the beginning, but for some reason his session was canceled. There are huge potential in BI here in Portugal that Microsoft in my perspective should invest. What about the several conference partners? Just one Portuguese partner presents a session? This makes any sense? For me naturally not!

It was amazing to speak personally with Albert Ferrari that is one of my references since some many years. If you want to follow one of the discussions I had with him in SQL BI methodology click here. I confess that I don’t believe too much in Microsoft Power Pivot Excel Add-in (One of the main key areas of Albert Ferrari and also Marco Russo), but after speak for a while with Albert, he convinced me with some new features that I didn’t know. I am an advocate of a single repository of data, and create more “islands” of information scares me! I know that Power Pivot has huge performance, I know that could be amazing for a prototype, but I also know, Microsoft is interested in these islands (Office is a key area) and in a more realistic scenarios cannot be created by end-users, because they need to know a new query language (DAX)… If Integrated with Sharepoint I truly believe that could resolve some issues, even because the amazing Sharepoint design/layout could easily create a new end users habits that in spite of going to file system looking for their excel files, maybe start looking in Sharepoint that centralize them… Congratulations for all your sessions! Nice so see you here!

The Facilities and organization
Relating to the facilities and all organization, I just need to thank to João Bilhim e Miguel Vicente for all the amazing work they done on this event. They always give 200% to make these initiatives come true. On my side as a BI passionate I want to thank all the efforts done.

The Tagetik Session
In spite of their very good speaker’s performance, I was expecting a bit more about Tagetik tools. It was more a Sharepoint integration than a Tagetik session… for those that saw Sharepoint for the first time I imagine that it was amazing… but for those not, I think they was little disappointed because they have not seen the huge promise of Tagetik capabilities. Maybe in a next opportunity… but thanks for the speakers that made a very good session!

One day in a decision maker life session
The session was promising a lot… and despite almost attendees not having learned anything new, it was a funny and cool session… Basically, Sergio Ferreira (Microsoft) was telling us a history about BI (in Sergio BI perspective) and about how he deal with 400 new email messages every day and about the 1.200 meetings he has per month! He showed a power pivot excel file that reads data from outlook… It was a different session more focused on convinces business users, that they can do more with less effort. I think he made it well!

The Maciej Pilecki Sessions
Usually the speaker that comes from Project Botticelli Company is Rafal… See here my posts about this amazing speaker. Unfortunately he didn't come this time and Maciej Pilecki replaced him. Maciej is also a huge speaker, but the topics was very simple and generic and already included in previous Rafal events on Portugal. But for those who never had the opportunity to see Rafal sessions and are beginning a BI career, I don’t have any doubt they were convinced about Microsoft BI tools capabilities. Congratulations to Maciej!

The Alejandro Leguizamo session
Alejandro is Spanish and my MVP colleague. It was the first time I saw a session presented by him, and truly loved! He made a very good job in his session about “Designing scalable and complex Analysis Service Cubes”… it was for more advanced and tech users, and fits more in those people that already work with SSAS. Unfortunately I didn’t speak in person with Alejandro, because I left his session before the end, and I never found him again around the conference location. Congratulations Alejandro! Nice to see you here in Portugal!

More conferences like this one is desirable for sure!


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