I’m just back from sunny, warm, Florida, venue for TDWI’s fall conference. The brightest spot from this conference, is that it was one of the best attended of the year. I hope it is a sign of recovery, at least in the BI world!
I had the honor of delivering the key note on Monday, with new findings on secrets to successful BI (details to follow next week), but I first wanted to share some insights from my Cool BI Course.
It is a fun course for me to teach, something I compare to a wine tasting of eight new innovations (but without the hangover!), with mini demos performed by trail-blazing vendors and some by me. So fun, but, yes, stressful too! People are most excited about advanced visualization and dashboards, with Tableau demonstrating these capabilities (in May, search and rich reportlets were higher) . To be fair, some of the results may be slanted by how well either I or the vendor explained the innovation, the benefits, and the maturity.
While SaaS got few votes here, the demo by Birst certainly gets my vote for most leading edge. In some respects, the demo went so smoothly that I suspect the complexities of what was being demoed live weren’t apparent. Just this week, Birst announced Live Access, a new ability in Birst 4 that allows the SaaS BI layer to reach into the on-premise data and present it with the hosted data. So CEO Brad Peters demoed loading data from a local spreadsheet to the cloud, combining it with SalesForce.com data, and finally in real-time, with data from an on-premise data mart, all in a matter of minutes (he quipped my timing requirements were rather demanding, but hey, we have a class schedule to keep!). I’ve seen SaaS BI products do the first part, even the first two parts, but never all three together. It brings a new level of flexibility to SaaS BI, and takes away the argument against SaaS BI that companies are fearful of letting go of their data.
Let me know if you too think this is pretty leading edge, or if you’ve seen other products pull data from all three environments with such ease.
Cindi Howson, BI Scorecard