Start With a Win!

My wife is currently studying to be a real estate agent with Re/Max so we’ve been discovering various real estate podcasts. Start With a Win, a podcast hosted by Re/Max CEO Adam Contos, is surprisingly NOT a real estate podcast. There’s a lot of interviews with business leaders in a variety of industries.

Every day you have a choice. You can wake up and choose to give in to mediocrity and complacency, you can choose bad habits and poor choices, and you can do the bare minimum to get by and fly under the radar. Or you can choose to make today the day that sets you apart from the crowd, you can choose to start doing the right things, the things that will set you up for success. You can choose to create a life that is worth living, worth waking up to, and worth sharing with the world around you. Today You can choose to start with a win.

Start With a Win podcast

The latest podcasts featured an interview with motivational speaker and “recovering lawyer” Bob Goff and former CIA Officer and FBI agent Tracy Walder. Adam concludes each interview by asking the guest what habits help them start each day with a win, which is often a good take-away.

This podcast may not be for everyone, but try listening to an episode and let me know what you think. It’s a useful diversion from analytics and cloud podcasts.

Start With a Win web site (includes podcast links)

Diversified Semantic Layer Interview

My Unstructured Geek Analysis interview

SAP Mentor and Diversified Semantic Layer contributor Jamie Oswald interviews me as part of the Unstructured Geek Analysis series. We talk about how I got started with my career in business intelligence, how I started blogging, my new role as an ASUG Volunteer, and what I do in my spare time.

Follow Jamie Oswald on Twitter or LinkedIn

Diversified Semantic Layer talks about SAP Mobile BI

I discuss the current state of SAP Mobile BI with the regulars on the latest Diversified Semantic Layer podcast.

Diversified Semantic Layer

SAP Mobile BI 5.0 is released for iOS and Android and SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.1 is in the hands of ramp-up customers. Listen in as I discuss the state of SAP Mobile BI with Greg Myers, Jamie Oswald and Eric Vallo on the latest Diversified Semantic Layer Podcast.

Does Android really matter in a sea of iOS devices?

Should there be some kind of authoring capability in the mobile app?

Where does Roambi now fit in?

And much, much more…

Top 10 SAP Analytics Stories of 2012

What were the top 10 SAP Analytics news stories of 2012?

Diversified Semantic Layer

Join Diversified Semantic Layer hosts Greg Myers, Jamie Oswald, and Eric Vallo along with contributors Josh Fletcher, Clint Vosloo and myself in an end-of-year podcast to count down the top 10 SAP Analytics news stories of 2012.

Diversified Semantic Layer Debates “Are You Better Off”?

The Diversified Semantic Layer answers an important question for SAP BusinessObjects customers.

Yesterday’s article “Are You Better Off?” inspired this special live broadcast of the Diversified Semantic Layer from the ASUG News booth at the 2012 ASUG SAP BusinessObjects User Conference.

No SAP BusinessObjects Professional Left Behind

SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0 training is right around the corner.

Last Thursday, SAP had a kickoff call with its SAP BusinessObjects Authorized Education Partners (AEP) regarding SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0.  Historically, training materials have lagged several months behind each major release, so one of the side benefits of SAP’s ramp up process is that training materials will be ready to go on day one of general availability (GA).  I’ve been a certified trainer for nearly seven years, beginning with classic BusinessObjects 5.1, and I still approach each major release with the same combination of excitement and dread.  Excitement over new toys, but dread over new concepts and training manuals to master.

I’m focusing this post on classroom training (both in public training centers and on-site at customer sites).  In the future, I’ll discuss other options like e-Learning.

New Training Material Format

The big news for SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0 classroom training is the new training material format. Paper manuals have been phased out of public classrooms in favor of Adobe Digital Reader E-books. SAP has responded to customer requests for training materials that have greater portability, accessibility, and flexibility. And SAP will be able to reach its sustainability goals by having a more eco-friendly training format. In the classroom, Students will be able to toggle between the E-book (which can be annotated, bookmarked, and use desired font sizes) and the training system from the same PC. After the class, students will be able to read their E-book on their work or personal device. Printed manuals can be ordered after the class is taken for a nominal (and currently unknown) materials fee.

SAP customers that arrange for on-site training at their facilities will still have a choice between E-book and paper until the end of 2011.

New Course Offerings

As one might expect, there are new classes to support new tools.  Courses for Crystal Reports 2011 and the classic Universe Design Tool (formerly known as Universe Designer) are largely unchanged from their previous iterations.  But there are new courses for Crystal Reports Enterprise 4.0 and Information Design Tool.  And the Data Services curriculum is revised in format to reflect the integration of text analytics and other new features.

SAP Crystal Reports Enterprise 4.0
BOCE10 – Crystal Reports Enterprise : Fundamentals of Report Design (2 days)
BOCE20 – Crystal Reports Enterprise : Advanced Report Design (3 days)

SAP BusinessObjects Information Design Tool 4.0
BOID10 – Information Design Tool I (3 days)
BOID20 – Information Design Tool II (2 days)

SAP BusinessObjects Data Services
BODS10 – Data Services – Platforms & Transforms (3 days)
BODS30 – Data Services – Data Quality Management (2 days)

SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards (BOX310), formerly Xcelsius 2008, is now a 2-day offering.  I always managed to get students through the previous 3-day class in around 2.5 days, so it will be interesting to see what’s changed.  The administration series (BOE310 2-day/BOE320 3-day/BOE330 4-day) have the same course titles and durations, but the Administration and Security (BOE310) and Administering Servers (BOE320) courses are supposed to have a lot of new material.  And lastly, Web Intelligence has the same course numbers and durations (BOW310 2-day and BOW320 1-day) but it’s effectively a brand new tool with a lot of new workflows.

I can’t comment on the actual course materials yet, as SAP Authorized Education Partners are not involved in the process to create SAP BusinessObjects course materials.  Keep in mind that SAP uses its own trainers for education while BusinessObjects used a combination of its own trainers and partners, a trend that has thankfully continued since the BusinessObjects acquisition.  I hope that the new BI 4.0 guides have more emphasis on hands-on activities for students, as the previous XI 3.0 manuals reduced hands-on learning in favor of instructor demonstrations.  I’m looking forward to ordering my new instructor guides when they become available at the end of the month (August 2011) and will be furiously working through them during the month of September so I can quickly get through SAP’s instructor vetting process.


The certification process to become a SAP Certified Associate is largely unchanged, although the exams will obviously be new. New exams for Web Intelligence, Crystal Reports, and the Business Intelligence Platform (formerly BusinessObjects Enterprise) will be available on October 31, 2011. Exams for SAP BW 7.3, Business Planning and Consolidation, Financial Consolidation, and Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) will be available by the end of 2011.


Well, that’s all I have right now.  In the meantime, check out the latest Diversified Semantic Layer podcast where Jon Reed, Sheila Ryan and myself discuss SAP education and certification with Eric Vallo, Jamie Oswald, and Greg Myers.  And take a look at my ASUG presentation on user adoption, as classroom learning is a key component but not the only component of a successful user adoption strategy.

What are your thoughts on SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0 education, e-Books, and certification?

First Annual Diversified Semantic Layer Family Picnic

News from the First Annual Diversified Semantic Layer Family Picnic

First Annual Diversified Semantic Layer Family Picnic
First Annual Diversified Semantic Layer Family Picnic

Last week, the Marks family packed up the minivan and headed to St. Louis.  We combined business and pleasure, despite the 100-degree-plus (Fahrenheit)  weather.  Between trips to the hotel pool and the Magic House, aka the St. Louis Children’s Museum, I presented at both the St. Louis BusinessObjects User Group and the St. Louis SAP Inside Track 2011.

Read Jamie Oswald’s “snap judgement” on the July 2011 St. Louis BusinessObjects User Group.

Read Jamie Oswald’s “snap judgement” on the St. Louis SAP Inside Track 2011.

But probably the most fun for me was getting together with my friends Jamie Oswald and Eric Vallo at what I called the First Annual Diversified Semantic Layer Family Picnic.  The Diversified Semantic Layer is one of the few podcasts devoted to business intelligence and SAP BusinessObjects.  I “met” Jamie and Eric on Twitter, long before I finally met them in person at last year’s ASUG SAP BusinessObjects User Conference.  I’m really grateful to have them as friends and mentors.  Jamie and his wife were gracious hosts to a total of six adults and nine children.

I’m already looking forward to the Second Annual Diversified Semantic Layer Family Picnic.  Will you come, too?

Planning the SAP BI4 Upgrade

It’s time to start planning for the GA (general availability) of SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0.

Diversified Semantic Layer

It was a pleasure to be with Eric Vallo, Jamie Oswald, and Greg Myers on the latest episode of the Diversified Semantic Layer podcast.  It’s time to start planning for the GA (general availability) of SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.o.

Reporting Tool Shootout on Diversified Semantic Layer

Reporting Tool Shootout with the Diversified Semantic Layer

Due to some random iTunes announcement, the big media splash planned for the Diversified Semantic Layer was bumped off of the Apple home page at the last minute.  But a new episode of the Diversified Semantic Layer podcast, the Reporting Tool Shootout, is now live. Join host Eric Vallo, SAP Mentor Jamie Oswald, and myself as we discuss the pros and cons of the current suite of business intelligence tools from SAP BusinessObjects: Web Intelligence, Crystal Reports, Xcelsius, and Explorer. Or you could download The Beatles instead…

And for a close-up look at Xcelsius and BI Services, check out Josh Fletcher‘s inaugural Geek2Live podcast, also available from iTunes.

For the record, I am NOT the walrus.  And Jamie is not dead; it’s just a flesh wound.