Watching #ASUGBIA from the sidelines

Unfortunately, I am not one of the top ten reasons to attend ASUG BIA this year.

ASUG released a YouTube video listing the Top Ten Reasons to Attend their BI + Analytics Conference on October 17-20, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Sadly, for reasons beyond my control, I won’t be there. It will be the first annual BI conference that I miss since first attending BusinessObjects Insight in 2005. It looks like a spectacular event, especially with keynotes from industry thought leaders Wayne Eckerson and Claudia Imhoff. If you’re fortunate enough to attend this year’s event, send me a postcard!










How We Got to Now by Steven Johnson

A engrossing account of how glass, cold, sound, clean, time, and light have shaped our modern world.

How We Got to Now is both a book and a PBS mini-series about six innovations- glass, cold, sound, clean, time, and light- that have shaped the world that we live in today. Each of these innovations are so commonplace that we take them for granted and their innovators and inventors are often forgotten. But just as he did with The Ghost Map (see related article, The Ghost Map), author Steven Johnson reveals the human story behind the innovations, particularly the events and smaller innovations that had to come first, as well as the unexpected innovations that continue to occur afterward. For example, Frederick Tudor’s shipments of frozen lake ice from New England to the southern United States is connected to Clarence Birdseye flash freezing vegetables, which is connected to the technology we now use to freeze embryos. Steven Johnson debunks the conventional wisdom that innovation comes from isolated “a-ha moments” or exclusively from well-known solo innovators like Thomas Edison or Henry Ford. But instead, innovation occurs from a series of smaller innovations, often developed over time and often by multiple people unaware that others are working on similar breakthroughs.

Good Mythical Morning hosts Rhett and Link discuss the book How We Got to Now.

The book also provides the foundation for an engaging six-part miniseries where Steven Johnson and PBS travel the globe uncovering the stories behind these six key innovations.

View the trailer for the PBS mini-series How We Got to Now, now available on Blu Ray and DVD.

I was able to borrow both the book and the mini-series DVD from my local library. It’s thought-provoking material and I can’t wait to hear what Steven Johnson will say in his keynote at next week’s ASUG SAP Analytics and BusinessObjects User Conference (follow #SABOUC on social media). If you’re headed to the conference, it’s not too late the pick up the Kindle edition of How We Got to Now to read on the flight to the event.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I borrowed a copy of this book from a public library and did not receive it free from its publisher. Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

2015 ASUG SAP Analytics and BusinessObjects User Conference

I’m headed to Austin, Texas for the 2015 SABOUC event. Will you be there?

Are you ready for some barbecue, beer, and business intelligence? I’m heading to the 2015 ASUG SAP Analytics and BusinessObjects User Conference in Austin, Texas along with some of my EV Technologies co-workers, Bonnie Brown, Greg Myers and Eric Vallo. This year I’ll present one session about Web Intelligence, one about the universe semantic layer, and two sessions about the BI platform.

Franklin Barbecue Austin Texas

Analytic Storytelling with Web Intelligence by Dallas Marks
Monday, August 31, 2015 | 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM | Session 2825 | Room 15
Reporting track/Web Intelligence sub-track

There’s a story in your corporate data, but sometimes it needs an analytic storyteller to bring that story to life. SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence 4.0 introduced a new charting engine, several new chart types, and a redesigned workflow for creating charts. These capabilities were extended even further for Web Intelligence 4.1. In this session, learn not only how to use Web Intelligence charts but when to use them by applying best practices for the display of quantitative information on desktops, tablets, and smartphones.

Taking SAP BusinessObjects from Stock to Custom by Dallas Marks
Tuesday, September 1, 2015 | 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM | Session 2824 | Room 18A
BI Platform track/System Sizing & Configuration sub-track

SAP BusinessObjects administrators will learn the secrets of customizing the appearance of the BI Launch Pad for BI 4.0 and BI 4.1. We’ll also look at new personalization capabilities in Web Intelligence 4.1. With detailed step-by-step instructions, you’ll be able to deliver a tailored information portal that meet user needs without custom coding.

Using the Best Ingredients for the SAP BI Platform by Dallas Marks
Wednesday, September 2, 2015 | 10:15 AM – 11:15 AM | Session 2823 | Room 18A
BI Platform track/System Sizing & Configuration sub-track

Celebrity chefs on television frequently remind their viewers to use the freshest, highest quality ingredients when cooking. SAP analytics professionals who administer the BI platform need to make similar decisions when designing a high-performance BI landscape. In this session, learn how to choose the best ingredients for SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.1. We’ll examine the core components of the physical architecture and best practices for each one, including the BI platform, the web application tier, virtualization, the CMS and audit databases, and the input and output file repositories. Whether you manage BI teams at a high level or are a hands-on administrator, you’ll leave the session knowing how to make the best decisions for your deployment.

Universe Design: Evolution, Intelligent Design, or Just a Big Mess? by Dallas Marks
Wednesday, September 2, 2015 | 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM | Session 2826 | Room 16B
Universe Design track

Are you new or intermediate universe designer? Or maybe a project manager overseeing the full lifecycle of a BI project? Perhaps a seasoned Crystal Reports or BW developer investigating the benefits of the Business Objects semantic layer? A well-designed universe is the foundation to a successful business intelligence project and satisfied users. Building this foundation begins long before you click on the Information Design Tool application. A combination of evolution and intelligent design, this session presents best practices at each stage of the universe life cycle, including requirements gathering, design, development, testing, deployment, and maintenance. Avoid the big mess and deploy successful implementations now.

Are you planning to attend the ASUG SAP Analytics and BusinessObjects User Conference this year?

See you at SAPPHIRE!

I’m headed to SAP SAPPHIRE. Let’s connect!

SAPPHIRE 2014 04 500

I love SAP SAPPHIRE. I love the ASUG Annual Conference that’s co-located with it. As a BI consultant, it’s the least educational of the conferences in North America (ASUG has an entire analytics track at the annual conference, but its SAP Analytics and BusinessObjects User Conference and SAP Insider conferences like the recent BI2015 have much more analytics education). But I love being there. It’s the Walt Disney World of tech conferences, conveniently located in sunny Orlando, Florida. I get to meet all kinds of SAP BI users and talk about their accomplishments as well as their challenges.

At first, I didn’t think I was going to be at SAPPHIRE and the ASUG Annual Conference this year. Even SAP CEO Bill McDermott was a bit disappointed.

My first SAP SAPPHIRE was in 2010. I was also a speaker at the ASUG Annual Conference, with a presentation entitled Increasing User Adoption of Business Intelligence.

SAPPHIRE 2010 Quorum Speaker

The following year, Sting was the featured performer at 2011 SAP SAPPHIRE and ASUG Annual Conference. I ran into my original SAP BusinessObjects mentor Jeff Bartel (see related article, You Can’t Get There Alone – The Power of Partners), and overdosed on SAP HANA (see related article, SAP SAPPHIRE: Too Much HANA Montana and Not Enough BIeber 4.0?)

SAPPHIRE 2011 Kalvin Sting

Van Halen was the featured performer at 2012 SAPPHIRE and ASUG Annual Conference. I didn’t eat any brown M&Ms, but had a magic moment when I wrote an article for the SAP Community Network entitled What I Learned About Being a SAP Rock Star from Van Halen. I dreamed about the release of SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0 Feature Pack 3 (see related article, Feature Pack 3, We Hardly Knew Ye) and apparently yawned when SAP Visual Intelligence 1.0 was introduced (see related InfoWorld article, SAP Catches Data Visualization Wave).

SAPPHIRE 2012 Kalvin Van Halen Badge

Oddly enough, Van Halen broke up (again) right after our concert.

SAPPHIRE 2012 Kalvin Van Halen

I didn’t get to attend SAPPHIRE in 2013, but I came back in 2014- my first time as an ASUG Volunteer with Eric Vallo and Greg Myers.

SAPPHIRE 2014 Three EVT Amigos

I got to chat about SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.1 with Blair Wheadon. Even our sales team, Michael Thompson and Nathan Crook, got to come along for the ride.


But 2015 marks the first year that I’ll be attending SAPPHIRE- as an SAP Mentor. I’m really excited to be going this year, along with Eric Vallo and Michael Thompson. If you’re going to be at SAPPHIRE and want to talk about analytics, I’d love to meet you. Send me a DM on Twitter and let’s see if we can connect.

It’s going to be a great conference!

2015 ASUG SAP Analytics & BusinessObjects User Conference – Call for Speakers

Barbecue, beer, and business intelligence? Count me in!

Barbecue, beer, and business intelligence. Sound too good to be true?

Franklin Barbecue Austin Texas

It’s really true.

This year’s ASUG SAP Analytics & BusinessObjects User Conference will be held August 31 through September 2, 2015 at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas. Interested in speaking? Visit the official conference web sitesubmit your abstract, and follow the #SABOUC conversation on Twitter. If you’re a first-timer, check out my article entitled How to Write Great Abstracts for SAP BusinessObjects User Conferences. Submitting a single abstract back in 2006 changed my life.

But act soon. Speaking slots may disappear faster than the brisket at Franklin Barbecue. The deadline to submit an abstract is May 15, 2015!

Which SAP Analytics Conference Should I Attend?

If you can only attend one conference in 2015, which one should it be?

I’ve heard from more than one person that they only have budget to attend one conference in 2015. If you can only pick one, which one should it be? Read my answer and share your thoughts on the SAP Community Network article, Which SAP Analytics Conference Should I Attend?.

Gabe Orthous, Heather Sinkwitz, Jim Brogden and Dallas Marks, SAP Press authors

SF 325 Eileen



2014 ASUG SABOUC Keynote with Steve Lucas

Be careful who you tweet about. You might end up on the same elevator ride.

The Twitter rumor mill was abuzz in the weeks leading up to last month’s ASUG SAP BusinessObjects User Conference. What exactly would Steve Lucas, president of SAP Platform Solutions, say and do during his keynote?
Would he drive on stage in a SAP Lumira-inspired Tesla?

Would he dress better than the Apple Scarf Guy?

In keeping with the Fort Worth, Texas location of the conference, would he borrow a longhorn steer from the nearby Fort Worth Stockyards?

Imagine my surprise when I got on the Fort Worth Omni Hotel elevator on Monday morning to go to the keynote. And there was Steve Lucas. On the elevator.

Sadly, there were no gimmicks. No cars. No cattle. And thankfully, no Sherlock-inspired contingency plans.

But Steve Lucas made a great keynote- dynamic and loosely scripted. Here’s his keynote- uncut and unedited (mostly)- from the 2014 ASUG SAP Analytics and BusinessObjects User Conference.




And be careful what you browse on Digg.

An Overview of ASUG SABOUC with Steve Lucas

Steve Lucas gives a preview of his ASUG SABOUC keynote.

Here’s SAP’s Steve Lucas talking about next week’s ASUG SAP Analytics and BusinessObjects User Conference in Fort Worth, TX. I’m looking forward to hearing more details from about themes discussed in the recent #askSAP webcast. You’ll also want to read Steve’s latest blog, The Countdown on Data Visualization Has Begun – Top Ten Reasons Why SAP Will Deliver.

It’s going to be a busy week. I’ll be presenting a session on SAP BusinessObjects BI 4 customization and participating in several panel discussions.

Are you coming to SABOUC?

2014 ASUG SAP Analytics and BusinessObjects User Conference

I’m headed to Fort Worth, Texas for this year’s ASUG SAP Analytics and BusinessObjects user conference.

Texas Flag

The 2014 ASUG SAP Analytics and BusinessObjects User Conference is coming to the Omni Fort Worth Hotel in Fort Worth, Texas this September. I will be there to present a breakout session, participate in two panel discussions, and hang out in the SAP Press booth for the launch of the third edition of their Web Intelligence book, which I helped co-author (see related article, SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence, Third Edition). Several of my co-workers are also presenting breakout sessions.

Expert Panel: How to get agile with SAP Lumira

a panel discussion with State of Indiana OMB Director Chris Atkins, SAP technology evangelist Timo Elliott, SAP VP Product Management Lumira Ty Miller, and myself. Moderated by SAP marketing director Pierre Leroux.
Monday September 22, 2014 at 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM

In an era in which businesses demand agility and speed and IT struggles to keep up with their demands, com and learn from 5 experts on how data discovery is changing the BI landscape. We will be discussing how best to implement data discovery successfully, with an emphasis on people-focused discussions rather than technical hints and tips. Hear the panelists talk about pulling data quickly from multiple sources, dealing with data governance, and development bottlenecks. Explore how SAP Lumira can complement your existing BI investment. Ask them questions via Twitter using the hashtag #saplumirapanel.

Secrets from the Business Intelligence Baristas

a panel discussion with Dallas Marks and friends
Monday, September 22, 2014 at 11:15 AM – 12:15 PM
Trends and Strategy/Roadmaps and Product Direction – Session 0802

Much has been written about creating a Business Intelligence Competency Center or Center of Excellence. But many BI organizations struggle to move beyond IT’s traditional “utility company” method of delivering services and instead become a customer-focused organization. In this session, our panel will discuss BICC best practices of building a team that is both business savvy as well as tech savvy while looking to the neighborhood coffee shop for inspiration. You’ll be better prepared to build better BI solutions “from the grounds up” by putting the right business intelligence tools on the menu, providing both instant (self-service) and barista (IT supported) offerings, rewarding your best customers, and giving passionate customer support. No green apron required.

Taking SAP BusinessObjects from Stock to Custom

Tuesday, September 23, 2014 at 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM
Session 0307 – BI Platform (Security, Administration) and Server Administration

SAP BusinessObjects administrators will learn the secrets of customizing the BI Launch Pad and in SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.1. We’ll also look at new personalization capabilities in Web Intelligence 4.1. With detailed step-by-step instructions, you’ll be able to deliver a tailored information portal that meet user needs without custom coding.

  • Build a brand for your Business Intelligence Competency Center
  • Customize the BI Launch Pad portal
  • Personalize the Web Intelligence experience

“Cost Saving” Project Cuts You Can’t Afford

A Diversified Semantic Layer panel discussion with Eric Vallo, Greg Myers, Jamie Oswald and Dallas Marks
Wednesday, September 24, 2014 at 11:15 AM – 12:15 PM
Session 0112 – BI Platform (Security, Administration) and Server Administration

Time and time again, pieces of your technology projects drop on the cutting room floor. But do you really know what those items will cost you in the long-term? Come join this sure-to-be lively panel discussion with SAP Mentors and Industry Experts on the good, bad, and ugly of successful SAP Analytics projects. We’ll cover the things we commonly see get cut from projects, and why those things really shouldn’t be cut. We’ll cover topics like Project Management, Master Data Management, Data Quality, Capacity Testing, and whatever other project components you want to discuss. If you are responsible for delivering a successful SAP Analytics project, you don’t want to miss this panel discussion.

  • What makes a SAP BI project successful?
  • What mistakes have other customers made in their projects that I can avoid?
  • What is the value in keeping some of these commonly cut project components?

ASUG Kentucky Chapter Meeting on August 8, 2014

SAP makes better bourbon. Come to the next ASUG Kentucky meeting to learn how.

The next ASUG Kentucky chapter meeting will be Friday, August 8, 2014 at the Woodford Reserve Distillery in Versailles, Kentucky. Woodford Reserve is a brand of Brown-Forman Corporation, one of the world’s top 10 spirits companies. Brown-Forman uses SAP to make better bourbons like Woodford Reserve along with other well-known adult beverages like Jack Daniel’s and Southern Comfort.

Woodford Reserve
In addition to hosting the meeting as part of the ASUG volunteer team, I will be speaking about Agile Business Intelligence with SAP BusinesObjects Explorer 4.1.

Agile Business Inteligence with SAP BusinesObjects Explorer 4.1

Like a Hubble telescope for your Business Intelligence (BI) environment, SAP BusinesObjects Explorer software brings together the simplicity and sped of search with the trust and analytical power of BI to provide immediate answers to casual business users. Learn how Explorer can become a key component of your Agile BI strategy, from Excel-based prototypes to traditional relational databases, to extreme performance with in-memory SAP HANA, and as a companion with SAP Lumira. And take SAP Lumira data sets, exploration views, and location analytics on the go using SAP BusinesObjects Mobile.

There’s a fantastic and full agenda (see agenda and registration on ASUG web site) with both business and technical tracks. The meeting will close with a distillery tour.

Woodford Reserve Distillery
7855 McCraken Pike
Versailles, KY 40383