Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Critical Success Factors of BIWA Summit 2008

While we had a Panel focusing on the Critical Success Factors of BI Implementations, I though I would list the CSF's of the BIWA conference here. Since, this was the second BIWA Summit, we had some history behind us. However, just like Jeanne Harris said the biggest fallacy "if you will build a DW, they will come" - the conferences have to deal with the same issues. With a fairly successful inagural BIWA Summit in 2007, we kind of assumed the same attitude, you organize a BIWA Summit and the attendees will come. As we got closer to the event, we had to re-look the strategy and go out and "Push" the information to attract more attendees. Finally, we managed to attract attendees from all over as shown in the visual that Dan Vlamis created for the opening ceremony.

We realised there is no substitute for experience in hosting a conference. To list a few we had Dan Vlamis the conferece chair with 26 years of experience in the field related to Oracle technologies. Dan has been a member of user groups for a while. Among the Oracle Advisors, Charlie Berger, has organized several events for Life Sciences User group and has been involved with BIWA from very early stages. Karl Rexer, has been on the organization of KDD and related conferences. We were also very lucky to have the presence of Ian Abramson (President of IOUG) and Tony Jedlinski (IOUG Board member) to share their experiences, each having 10+ years of involvement with IOUG/Collaborate.

Our CFO, Matt Vranicar, who is President of Piocon, managed the finances of the event, to make sure we can support the event without a "stimulus package" from Larry! Rich Solari, who is now part of Deloitte, has a 10 yr history with Oracle, helped to us find the first ever Platinum Sponsor IBM. I was quite surprised with the existing relationship that IBM has with Oracle, as outlined by Marty in the Welcome to the Platinum Reception talk. Unlike last year, we were able to throw the reception at the end of Day with the help of the contributions from the Platinum sponsorship.

BIWA Board has been weaker in the involvement from the West Coast. This was all the more important for Summit 2009 due to the Oracle HQ based event. However, presence of John Haydu in the Oracle HQ and the 20 years of experience of Lynda Yana of Oracle Marketing, was quite useful to us.

Alissa Kang, has been the link of the BIWA Board to the Education industry and has been able to send the message out to the Higher Education folks. As for myself, my involement with IOUG pre-dates BIWA or my direct involement with Oracle. My first IOUG conference was in summer of 2003 at Orlando that got me interested enough to speak at Oracle Openworld in Sep 2003. The RAC SIG was launched in the same event. When I was invited to launch the BIWA SIG in Summer of 2006 at Collaborate (Nashville, TN), I knew I could use some of the "best practices" from the RAC SIG, such as the periodic webcast. However, BIWA SIG has been a pioneer in its own annual event. However, for the regional Oracle user groups, a periodical in-person meeting is not a complex event.

Apart from help from within the BIWA and IOUG community, we received help from the ODTUG, NCOUG and BI SIG of OAUG, to get their advice and help in spreading the word out. I think all these were our Critical Success Factors for the BIWA Summit 2008.

BIWA Summit 2008 - Bloggers Coverage

Last Year Mark Rittman was a keynoe speaker and he blogged the event, this time Peter Scott created some blog entries .

However, unlike blogging by the speakers themselves, we encouraged media to blog about the event. Here are a few of these blog entries:

The blog by James Taylor
Live from BIWA Summit - Competing on Analytics
Powering Next-Generation Predictive Applications with Oracle Data Mining (ODM)
Critical Success Factors for successful BI and analytic implementations
From Data Warehousing to Strategic Data Assets
Getting to the Right Price with Oracle Data Mining
Oracle's BI Strategy
Intelligent OLAP: Data Mining and OLAP
Fraud Detection with Oracle Data Mining

BIWA Summit 2008 a recap

First of all Thanks to all the attendees, speakers and Sponsors/Partners for making this event a success!

The BIWA Board deserves an applause for working for close to an year to organize this event. While it is hard to single out any particular Board member, we decided to award Mark Hornick and Tony Jedlinski - the BIWA 'Haydu' Contribution Award for 2008.

BIWA SIG as a user driven group, tries to balance the voice of the actual users, vendors and the Oracle Product managers, VP's etc. Being not too long after the announcement of Oracle HP Machine with Exadata storage, it was inevitable to avoid the presence of Exadata in a far too obvious way. It is indeed a "BIG" invention, just to highlight how big is the 'X' box, I took the picture with me in the frame!

However, is the real word ready for Exadata, or there are other choices for the companies in 1-25 TB range? Our Platinum Sponsor IBM, helped ot fill that space. They showcased their tight relationship with Oracle as hardware vendors. The Optimised Warehouse Intiative (OWI) serves the customers in that space. IBM can ship the H/W compoments for the refernce configurations or the fully functional optimised stack for Oracle Data warehouses. Others in this space are HP, SGI, Sun, Dell/EMC etc. While none of the other H/W vendors were present as sponsors, Pillar Data was a new discovery for us at BIWA. They claim their niche as "application-aware" storage company and they ship a box that is optimised for Oracle Business Intelligence Applications (OBIA) or commonly known as BI Apps. This box runs the Oracle DW as well as the BI server.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

BIWA Summit 08 Day 1

Dec 2, day 1 of the Summit is over. Three keynotes, BI Panel, Lightening round by the Exhibiting sponsors and the IBM Platinum reception, along with the countless Sessions and the hands-on labs!

As BIWA SIG is totally run by volunteers, it is important to take time to thank them for their efforts. Last year at Reston, BIWA awarded John Haydu, the BIWA Contribution Award 2007. This year, John would be again a worthy recipient so instead of giving him the award, we decided to name the award as BIWA 'Haydu' Contribution Award. The recipients for this year are:
Mark Hornick and
Tony Jedlinksi

Both, were instrumental in implementing the BI to run the BI conference. They together devised the system that managed the abstract submission and selection progress. Then as we got closer to the event, we used the Admin's dashboard with critical reports to monitor the registration sources and numbers to keep a strict eye on the conference and take remediation steps to steer it towards a registration level of 300.

I would personally like to Thank Karl Rexer, Matt Vranicar, Alissa Kang, Rich Solari and Ian Abramson for all their help to Dan, Charlie and John in running the show.

Day two will have more sessions, as there is only one key note.

More later...