I’ll skip recounting the opening pleasantries of the meeting, since they are same ones we usually have. I would like to point out how lucky we are in St. Louis to have sponsors who aren’t “icky.” No required presentations, no hitting us up for the email list, they just give us a place to meet, buy us some food and drink and give us some door prizes. Thank you all (especially those who chip in for the beer).
I always love the first networking time here. It’s great to catch up with folks and meet some new ones. Today was especially cool, though, because I got to meet a new Twitter buddy (he looks just like his avatar — I think he may have taken the picture this morning).
Our first presentation was from Michael Breen of Sybase (an SAP Company). This was exactly the presentation I needed. I have been pretty publicly concerned about the TCO of the IQ product (mostly surrounding the installation and upkeep from a personnel standpoint). I no longer have that fear due to Michael’s unprompted mentioning of at least 3 different cases where the technology was stood up with reports pointing at in “days” as well as his insistence that DBAs will have to spend less time putting out fires with it. I’m not sure the world is ready for DBAs to go under-utilized — I can see them using their spare time to vandalize malls and learn to skateboard. I think I’ll now go on to worry about Sybase not being able to handle transactional reporting alongside analytical reporting ( I think it probably can, but I want to hear more).
Overall, Sybase IQ does seem like it could be a magic bullet. If you have slow queries, you buy the software, some commodity hardware, spend a week porting your data over, and automagically everything is faster. At least that is what has been promised. And I like to believe promises.
Next up Christopher Vozella of SAP discussed some of the efforts SAP has gone through in an effort to improve support. I don’t know much about dealing with Support (what is an S-ID anyway?) but I thought it was interesting (and probably life-changing for some of you) that XI3 is supported under the old BusinessObjects support strategy but that starting with BI4 you’ll have to move to the SAP way. Not entirely sure what that means, but it sounds ominous. I do find it pretty impressive the thoughtfulness that is going into the new support structure. It’s clear that Gartner’s analysis (and recommendation) prompted this focus, but it would have been very easy to bump some metrics to get people off of your back and move on. It appears though, based on this presentation as well as the Influencer Summit (ASUG Login Required) before last year’s SAP BusinessObjects User Conference, that the focus really is on improving the customer experience.
An interesting takeaway that I had no idea about was this concept of a Customer Center of Expertise. Basically, if you get your installation certified as following best practices, etc., you get free access to proactive services. Again, I have no idea what that means, but it sounds like the sort of question that it is worth hassling your Account Rep about.
And — blowing my own previous records for superfast blog turnaround time — I’m submitting this before the last session even starts. In this case it’s because I’m presenting next and I think it is safe to say that I’ll be AMAZING. I’m just talking about some community stuff, and the slides will be available on the BOUG page, and then I’ve got to skip the social hour (WHAT?) to go to a parent teacher conference. For daycare. Seriously.