Snap Judgment-SAP TechEd Las Vegas Day 1
Without further ado (I haven’t yet figured out how to expense “ado”, and I’m certainly not going to spring for it out of pocket). Please note that I’m decidedly a BusinessObjects-only customer, so most of this will slanted in that direction.
Actually, I do have one small bit of ado (completely free to you of course); I’m thrilled to report that having connectivity issues (computers and phones) is not limited to the SAP BusinessObjects User Conference. One thing that TechEd does to help alleviate that is to have a Global Communications Area where bloggers and analysts can get a hardwired connection and share our thoughts with you. Fortunately, I was able to sneak in, which means you all get to read up on what I’m, doing daily.
Given by Vishal Sikka, the keynote provided a fantastic overview of where SAP has been, and more importantly where it is going. It was very obvious that SAP is really focusing not on improving the existing technology, but moving forward sort of carte blanche (without obviously throwing away the legacy pieces that still make sense). Because of advances in mobile and in-memory solutions, SAP is putting a lot of money into making real-time really real-time, basically using some Sybase technology to replicate data as it happens in the application to an in-memory warehouse, so you can, at every second, have a totally updated reporting system (with smoking response times) without compromising your business applications in any way (reporting off of the transactional systems were, historically, a bit like crossing the streams). Exciting stuff. They also talked about something called NetWeaver, whatever that is (I warned you).
The first educational breakout session I attended was on Sybase IQ. The speaker did a fantastic job breaking down exactly why database designs that make sense for OLTP (Online Transaction Processing, basically the application you use to do work) systems doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for an OLAP (Online Analytical Processing (a way to pull specific data out) system. Basically, when you work in OLTP, you want to pull one record, or row (a single customer, a single sale, a single paycheck) because you are going to care about everything about that one record. Conversely, when working in OLAP, you want to consolidate some parts of that information, so you want to know the number of customers you have in a certain city, but you don’t really care about their phone numbers en masse. To help handle that functional dissonance, Sybase has created a “columnar” database (as opposed to a record, or row, based OLTP system) that indexes by the dimensions of a record rather than indexing the record itself. Consider me sold, provided of course that this “columnar” database technology is cheaper than “ado”. Or at least easier to submit on an expense report.
Private Mentor Session
Not sure what I can say, except to point you to this post.
SAP Community Network Global Communications Session
Definitely the early leader in the “people wearing suits in one room” contest, I came in a little late. From what I did see, Tammy Powlas, Karin Tillotson, Greg Myers, Derek Loranca and Dave Hull did a great job explaining the best ways to get involved. Pick one forum post to answer. Pick one topic to blog on. Feel free to start slowly. All of it was spot on.
ASUG BI Networking Session
Lightly attended (I’m blame the timeslot and not my personal charisma), but great conversations. And we had to get kicked out at the end, so we obviously didn’t bore anyone too much. Thanks to Atul and Mico for showing some ASUG support! I was pretty surprised that the people who did show up were already members, and just didn’t know what the value proposition for ASUG is. We may need to work on that, HQ.
Upgrading to BI4 from, well, whatever BOBJ solution you were on before
Very thorough session, and, pleasantly, not nearly as centered on name-changes as most of the sessions I’ve attended before were. Lots of stuff finally being end-of-lifed (Deski, Performance Manager, Encyclopedia/Discussions) that were written-off back when SAP first bought BOBJ. Personally, I’m happy to see them go. They’ve been the old paradigm since before I even knew about BOBJ. I’m still very much in the place where I really want to get access to see all of this new stuff. Haven’t been able to bang into a good hands-on session yet, but Greg Myers is pretty excited about what he saw.
Yet Another Private Mentor Session
What can I say? Mentoring is hard work. Plus, they had free iced tea. Never trust anyone who passes up free iced tea.
End of the Day
Not really the end of the day. I’m sure it will be another long, arduous night of networking and shop talk, but I don’t blog that stuff. I do need to be able to keep my job, after all.