PASS Business Analytics Conference Day 1 Keynote

We start with PASS President Bill Graziano who leads off with talking about the growth of data analytics over the past few years. Connect.Share.Learn. If you are reading this and don’t know, SQL Saturday Chicago is this weekend. I’ll be presenting there.

Matt Wolken from Dell/Quest takes the stage to discuss Business Intelligence. Talks about the rate of change in the BI space. Talking about how the shifting demographics of social media are influencing spending. Mentioning great increases in mobile computing. Mentions the tweet from the Hudson River. Analytics used to backwards looking, now it’s looking forward and revenue driving. Companies that implement BI and BA solutions tend to be more profitable (13%). Dell has a new social command center to monitor feedback and support.

Now, we welcome Microsoft Keynote speakers Amir Netz and Kamal Hathi to the stage. Amir, is talking about his Apple II and how he programmed extensively on it. Mentions using VisiCalc and Lotus 123. Talking about how spreadsheets evolved into OLAP. Kamal is now talking about how OLAP evolved into Hadoop, and how do business users understand usage of tools in the big data space. Yet it all comes back to excel, I suspect this will come back to Powerview and data explorer. I shall refrain from editorial content, but ZOOMIT. Excel is getting much better at dealing with external data. Compares evolution of cars from model T to BMW. Amir is talking about how BI is now at the stage of the early slide projector. PowerView is awesome.

Microsoft is doing a nice job of using sentiment analysis from Twitter in this demo, to demonstrate American Idol success predictions. The data shows that positive sentiment is key into American Idol. Explains how Twitter has changed the dynamics of how people watch TV. This means if you are showing something that should be live–SHOW IT LIVE (I’m talking about bike and F1 racing, NBC Sports Network)

Seeing a new excel plugin called geo flow, which lays out spatial data within excel, this functionality has been getting better, but this is really nice. GeoFlow has the ability to zoom in via touch, very nice, and additionally it has a replay functionality. Outstanding graphics and functionality.

And that’s a wrap…more tomorrow

Sales Reps–Please Don’t BS Me, Alright?

Today is my morning of big data storage events, I’m attending two from two different vendors in about four hours. One down so far, and it was pretty good, until…

I’ve bashed sales reps before (on twitter and on this blog), I’ve even offered lists of things not to do. Well today’s presentation was on par with some of the best I’ve seen. I was engaged, and we had a good discussion of the architecture of Hadoop, and the kind of data applications where it really sense. I was engaged, and wasn’t bashing the vendor on twitter like I sometimes do.

But Then,

The vendor had a slide with the Hadoop ecosystem up–there are a lot of components there. And they aren’t all needed. I though a really good comparison would be to SQL Server, we don’t always need replication or analysis services installed, but if we want to have a database we need the engine. Hadoop is a lot like that–you can get by with just a few components out of the total stack.

At that moment the presenter mentioned SQL Server, and I thought, great this will be a really great example. Then he asked “What is the core engine to SQL Server?” (The right answer I think is Sybase, then it was rewritten for 2005, iirc, someone correct me if I’m way off) He eventually responded with “Jet Database” using the example that you can install SQL Server without installing Jet. As far as I can tell and from my twitter queries, SQL has never run on jet, but Jet may run on SQL Server now.

Anyway, the trivia isn’t the point–if you are quoting a fact in your presentation, be certain of it, and if you aren’t either don’t use that fact, or clarify, saying “I think this to be the truth, but I’m open to facts”. After this, A) I didn’t trust the speaker’s credibility and B) I was distracted trying to confirm the fact the Jet was never a part of SQL Server.

I guess I can add one more thing for sales reps not to do–don’t make $&%# up, you may have a subject matter expert in the room, and you will look like an idiot.

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