A Tale of Two Hashtags

Scheduling the Tableau user conference the same week as the SAP BusinessObjects conference was pure genius.

Anaheim Convention Center

ASUG SBOUC 2013 Banner

It was the best of times,
it was the worst of times,
it was the age of wisdom,
it was the age of foolishness,
it was the epoch of belief,
it was the epoch of incredulity,
it was the season of Light,
it was the season of Darkness,
it was the spring of hope,
it was the winter of despair,
we had everything before us,
we had nothing before us,
we were all going direct to Heaven,
we were all going direct the other way…

from A Tale of Two Cities
by Charles Dickens

Howard Dresener.

Wayne Eckerson.

Claudia Imhoff.

William McKnight.

Neil Raden.

What do these names have in common? They are all thought leaders for analytics and business intelligence. And last week, all were at the 2013 Tableau Customer Conference (#TCC13) in Washington, D.C.- not the 2013 ASUG SAP BusinessObjects User Conference (#SBOUC2013) in Anaheim, California.

Cindy Howson (@BIScorecard) gets extra credit for spending time at both conferences, including a book signing at #SBOUC2013.


Ms. Howson estimated around 4,000 attendees at #TCC13.

Tableau estimated around 3,000 attendees at #TCC13.

George Peck the Crystal Reports guru is now George Peck the Tableau guru.

Let’s not mention Tableau for the Mac.


And don’t even get me started on Nate Silver and Walter Isaacson, just two of the keynote speakers at #TCC13. Don’t tease me with “Nate Silver is coming to SAP TechEd” next month in Las Vegas because I- like many SAP BusinessObjects customers- cannot justify the expense of two back-to-back conferences.

ASUG keeps a tight lid on conference attendance statistics, but the guestimates floating around the #SBOUC2013 conference were between 1,000 and 1,200 attendees. Is conference attendance a leading indicator or a lagging indicator of a software vendor’s fortunes? Any way you look at it, the current momentum is clearly in Tableau’s favor.

Many at #SBOUC2013 referred to this year’s conference as a family reunion. And it truly is a tight-knit family of analytics professionals. But while the number of new faces at this year’s speaker reception was impressive, the family clearly isn’t taking any cues from the reality TV Dugger family.

With the recent release of the BI 4.1 platform, in-memory technology platforms like Sybase IQ and HANA, the forthcoming SAP Lumira 1.12 (Mac edition, anyone?), and an energized and reorganized leadership team under Steve Lucas, the situation at SAP isn’t all gloom and doom. To be clear, there are a lot of initiatives under way that won’t be visible to the public until next year. But any decision making about future conferences should be sober and fact-based. Conference attendance figures clearly qualify as facts. As a new member of the ASUG BusinessObjects Advisory Council, I hope I’ll have the opportunity to work with both ASUG and SAP in 2014 to reach what is still the largest community of business intelligence users.

What are your thoughts on this year’s ASUG SBOUC conference and its attendance numbers?

Author: Dallas Marks

I am an analytics and cloud architect, author, and trainer. An AWS certified blogger, SAP Mentor Alumni and co-author of the SAP Press book SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence: The Comprehensive Guide, I prefer piano keyboards over computer keyboards when not blogging or tweeting.

4 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Hashtags”

    1. Chris, I’m not sure I remember a BOBJ conference attracting between 3,000 and 4,000 participants, but my earliest attendance was only 2005. Thoughts?

  1. I think we may be comparing apples to oranges. I always think of the old Insight conference as BOBJ’s version of SAP’s Sapphire Now. And if your compare Sapphire to TCC, the numbers flip. But if you combine the ‘analytics’ of Sapphire/ASUG Annual Conference and SAP TechEd with SBOUC, I think that gives a much better picture of the current state of the BOBJ community.

    I agree with you 100%, we’ve got some work ahead of us in the next few months!!

  2. I agree with Golaselle. Technically speaking the the event in Anaheim was hosted by ASUG not SAP. If you are an SAP customer you are more likely to go to Sapphire. But very interesting how Tableau changed dates!

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