My Week At the TDWI Conference (2008) – VI

On from Analytics Culture, Web Analytics

Sixth and last post about my week at the TDWI World Conference in Chicago in May 2008. That was an amazing week of learning, one that had a profound impact in my development. I hope (re)reading those posts convinced you, web analysts, to go and explore the BI world. By the way, TDWI has several big conferences a year.

Back in Montreal after a very intense week at the TDWI World Conference. I must confess: the high mileage took its toll on me on the last day. I was supposed to attend Technology Architecture for BI: Planning and Design of the Technical Infrastructure by the very competent Deanne Larson. It turned out to have so much content, and very technical, that I could not absorb any more network maps. I however got amazing material about the topic, and this has definitively made me understand a lot of stuff I was hearing about (data warehouse, operational databases, ETL, etc.).

In the afternoon, I decided to switch and attend John O’Brien’s Emerging Technologies Shaping the Future of Data Warehouses & Business Intelligence. The first part was again quite technical with a long presentation on how SOA (Service Oriented Architecture) will impact the field. I would be lying if I said it got me all excited, but I could see how my co-attendants got interested. The part I liked most in John’s presentation was what he calls the “Google Effect”. His point was that Google has made us all so much used to a certain type of experience (fast, easy, relevant, free) that this is slowly creating new expectations from BI users: easier and faster access to better organized content (i.e. reports) is demanded more and more. I thought this was quite clever, since Google is now an important part of most Internet users’ life, and I think we can reasonably think that the type of user experience Google offers through their applications will somehow percolate to all things IT, with users demanding better performance with much easier and intuitive experience.

I didn’t stay for the full afternoon, being less interested by the Web 2.0 part, and wondering if I could catch an earlier flight (of course, there wasn’t one), but frankly too tired to take anymore stuff. My fellow participants were right to warn me at the beginning of the conference that six full days was tough.

I got back here with SO much to study and learn. I have now a fairly good mental map of what the DW & BI space is, and I am already beginning to see how Web Analytics could fit in. It has also brought up many questions about what Web Analytics should be in the future, and what could/should be BI regarding Web data. Questions I don’t have answers to yet, but will certainly develop in the months to come.

When you are an independent consultant like me, you go to those events on your own dime: cost of registration, travel, and missed billing all impact your own pocket. I must say that the TDWI World Conference was worth every dollar.

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