What I Learned At TechDays 2009 Toronto! Part 2 Business Intelligence

In follow up to my last article What I Learned At TechDays 2009 Toronto! Part 1 Windows Mobile 6.5, in this article I will talk about the session I attended on BI.

At the end of the final day of the event, I was video-interviewed by ITInCanada.com about my thoughts on TechDays 2009 Toronto and my specific thoughts about what I took away from the session on BI.  The interview required some quick thinking, but I feel I did well for an impromptu 3-minute interview.  The point I made at the end of the interview, that I’d like to re-iterate is that when attending an event like this it’s important to really think about the sessions in terms of value to the organization – and how you can use the information and advice to bring value back to your organization.  When I get the link to the video I will post it on my blog.

Ok, so I’d like to move on with more of my “take-aways” from TechDays 2009 Toronto –

2. Business Intelligence

I took a lot out of the  “Using Microsoft Dashboards, Scorecards, and Analytics to Monitor the Health of your IT Infrastructure” session, and for me, it was probably one of the most valuable sessions I attended at TechDays this year.  It focused on Micorosft’s BI offering, and also used practical examples of using BI for monitoring the health of your IT infrastructure (as repeated from the title of the session :))

I feel there is a large amount of value for good Business Intelligence, especially in my current organization (a global automotive parts manufacturer).  We have some power users that can do incredible things with Excel as is, but they’ve also become incredibly reliant on IT to provide them with all kinds of custom reports, graphs, etc.  I’ve seen the work they can do with data analysis and charting data in Excel, and if we empowered them to take advantage of data, that lets say we make available through Analysis Services, they would have a plethora of data at their disposal to easily consume, chart, and analyze in Excel or other tools.  This would take strain off of IT development in providing reports along with many custom reporting options and allow users to create, share, and manipulate the exact data reports and charts they need.  We have a global corporate intranet hosted at our head office that is SharePoint based that would be a perfect location for users to manage and share this content that they create.

The demos in this session were great.  I got a good look at how to use Excel 2007 to analyze analytical data from Analysis Services.  It was literally drag and drop, point and click, to embed and aggregate this data in excel as a chart or table.

There was a lot more to this session as well, and it dug pretty deep into using Integration Services, Analysis Services, Cube Design, Star Schema, Data Source Views, Fact Tables, SharePoint, PerformancePoint Server, etc – each of these technologies can contribute to making a BI solution work!

– to be continued –