Tag: conference

Unified Business Intelligence takes off at the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium

The breadth of stuff to see and experience at Unified can be intimidating. Hundreds of exhibitors from bottling to field sensors, engineers to reporters, corks to dorks. Having to have one message for such a varied audience was difficult as everyone comes to data from a different perspective.  We unified business intelligence for the attendees.

As I’ve reflected over the couple days since, my summary has been that delivering information – whether in dashboards, emails or however – is more interesting than ever. As a collective, we know we can get to so much more than ever and we are expecting it.

Our Unified Business Intelligence booth with TARGIT was incredibly well received. We live in an age now when we do expect to see sensor data trended over time and mixed with weather data plus market data. Lay over average price per bottle and average cost per bottle. AND give me a call to action from that information.

When we started reporting in the wine industry, we focused to start on 3-tier distribution and allocations. Today we have integrated DTC, customer lifetime value, inventory, AR, AP, financials, social media and have already started down vineyard data plus production. I was excited to expand our footprint – you, the attendees at Unified shared my excitement. I’m looking forward to more unified business intelligence in 2015.


SQL Pass Summit 2014 Great Success!

MDX, aggregations, scope assignments… SQL Pass Summit 2014 was data nerd heaven in terms of having access to uber experts who you can ask and learn from. Some learn from white papers only or maybe a book. Personally, I prefer face to face with real examples and it has been completely refreshing here at SQL Pass Summit 2014. Speakers this year have been completely focused on the tips and tricks.

I want to shout out to the following speakers:

Chris Webb, Peter Myers, Brian Larson, Kesper De Jong, Devin Knight, Miguel Llopis, Tessa Palmer, and David Peter Hansen. Really enjoyed your sessions. Hope you’ll be back!

 It will be interesting to see what happens next year. Not a lot of new work on SSAS multidimensional models (re: none) and some of the sheen is off the tabular model as its limitations are more and more known and not all that acceptable in some key places. Where is SQL Server 2016(?) going? There has been no word on it. Count on Microsoft to continue to empower the power user.

Here’s hoping:

  • that Power Query comes together to improve SSIS
  • that the difference between on-prem and cloud goes away
  • for data residence or delivery; there are too many “it works on prem but not in Power BI or you can use this in Power BI but not on prem”
  • that support for NON technical people continues. In talking to Power Query people, I kept hearing about M and connections with JSON. Those are not mainstream items when making a mainstream product.
  • MDX / DAX can become friends.


SQL Pass Demos Power BI and Power Query – looking good!

First day coming to an end here in Seattle at SQL Pass Summit. One more session today. Lots of demos of Power Query and Power BI, and these tools continue to mature. It is hard to tell what is “about to be released” and what is actually out, but the demos are fun to watch. Power Query has really come a long way. It now can connect to quite a few things – web pages, Salesforce.com, Business Objects, documents, Power Pivot models, databases – and you can do basic transformations like splitting columns. It looks cool for good Excel users who then want to make a Power View in Excel. Downside, well, it is in that one Excel sheet, not published yet.

Power BI has also come quite a ways. Released in February, it shows great with Power Maps but these are again simple demos, not necessarily useful demos. Overall the dashboards can be set up at a relatively lower cost for licensing. Entry level cost is $40/user/month if someone doesn’t have Office 365, plus the cost of consulting to set it up (or do it yourself). However, some big things are missing – like connecting to on-premise cubes, providing ad hoc access to people who don’t know how to set up dynamic time frames, and working with anyone who doesn’t have Office 365.

More reviews to come as we power through SQL Pass.


We are here – SQL Pass 2014!

Hello customers… one thing that defines us at Business Impact is our commitment to stay on top of what is happening in the world of business intelligence. We can do this dozens of ways, but our largest investment comes when we attend the SQL Pass 2014 Summit. Guess where Michele and I are today?

SQL updates and best practices are on display plus new technologies, sessions and more. It means we have to take a week out of our schedule to get here at SQL Pass 2014… but YOU get the benefit.

And while we’re here, please take advantage of us. If you have any questions on SQL Server, BI or products that have come up or that we haven’t been able to answer, please write me or Michele May.

Plus take a look at what sessions are offered while we are here!



ViewPoints 2015 Event Planning begins!

ViewPoints, Business Impact’s bi-annual customer event, is on track for 2015.  The informative event is two and a half days of training, networking, and learning the latest information on what is happening in Business Intelligence.  The event will be held in April 2015 and will kick off with two classroom training sessions on TARGIT’s latest release of their business intelligence tool.  The beginning TARGIT training course (101) will be a half day course of valuable introductory training on the basics of the latest version of the tool.  We have also added a FULL day of TARGIT 201 training that will focus on advanced calculations, gauges, and the most ambitious parts of the latest TARGIT business intelligence tool.

The main event will be “sandwiched” between the two training sessions, and will consist of a full day of Business Intelligence tracks to attend.  The breakout sessions will cover topics such as; the latest and greatest functionality in TARGIT’s new release, new client testimonials, what companies often overlook from their Business Intelligence solutions, and where our Consultants see Business Intelligence going in the future in your industry.  The event will allow time for guests to network with their industry peers on how other companies utilize their data to make better business decisions.  Wineries, Manufacturers, Convenience Stores and more industries will be attending the epic conference this year being held in Sonoma, California.

With new clients coming on board rapidly, we have outgrown our previous Napa resort location.  We are expecting over 65 clients for our main event, and up to 100 over the course of the three days.  With the increase in attendees, the location and finalization of dates will be confirmed and announced shortly.

We are excited to host the third annual ViewPoints event  in April 2015.  Watch for our upcoming emails that will be detailing more information on the event, and how to sign up for the session tracks and training.

Aptean Edge Review – From Behind the Sign

Roughly 1000 customers from a dozen computer systems have come to Aptean Edge at the MGM Grand hotel in Las Vegas, most happy to be out of the office and eager to hear the Aptean updates. Like most user conferences, Aptean Edge has sessions to lay out their road map, changes, updates and all the things that you do at a user show. In the keynote, it was the standard stuff on where they’re going, how much they value listening to the customers, the continued investment into each of their products, along with stuff on the cloud, mobility, changes in the world, etc. The facility is nice and food is reasonably good. The beers are expensive ($12 each) in the restaurants, but it is Vegas, so…Aptean Edge Booth

For us at Business Impact, we’re a first time exhibitor. We’ve gotten to see several of our customers in business intelligence, and that’s always nice. In addition it’s a back to my roots feel as I once worked for Ross Systems, which is one of the ERP systems under the Aptean umbrella. My old friends still working there have been very welcoming and cordial.

The big news from Aptean Edge has been the selection of a corporate wide BI tool – QlikView. The teams have pre-integrated six systems including Ross. There has been little word about the current BI like EPM at Ross and where that will lead other than to QlikView. There is a session on Analytics Strategy that we’ll attend and get more info out to Ross customers interested.

The show wraps up on Thursday afternoon. We are raffling off a fantastic bottle of Far Niente Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 at 5:30 pm on Wednesday evening – TONIGHT. Stop by and say hello “without a care” and enter to win a bottle of one of our client’s remarkable wines.

ViewPoints Business Intelligence Event was a Success!

We want to thank all of our clients and partners that made ViewPoints business intelligence event a success in 2013. With so much changing in the business intelligence world, the day was spent discussing, presenting and learning new concepts in BI.  A few highlights from the ViewPoints event:[quote align=”right” color=”#999999″]”You put on a great venue. I like your presentation style, Doug! You find a way to make BI and data fun and relevant to non-geeks.”  Jean Sperlak – Olap Office [/quote]

Doug Hoogervorst, with all his humor, kicked off the ViewPoints event with a very popular topic – Master Data Management.  A challenge all organizations face because data resides in multiple systems.  How do we keep “item” from one system equal to “product” from another and “part code” from a third? MDM is the hot topic in business intelligence because it is not easy. For a limited time, you can access his presentation materials here! 

Many of our clients participated in presentations throughout the day.  Ava Jones, Enterprise BI Manager for AdvancePierre Foods presented with Doug in “PC: Not Politically Correct – but Product Contribution”. She discussed how APF’s Business Intelligence solution takes their data from 10 different data sources and applies that information to the actual product cost. Providing this information to Sales and the Management Team was crucial. Not to mention, the solution saved APF $50,000+ in the first six months in man hours alone.

Neal Cram, Don Sebastiani & Sons, was kind enough to present with the TARGIT Team during “Making Beautiful Dashboards: How to create the best dashboards for you organization.” A very popular session from the surveyed attendees commenting that, “creating dashboards, gauges, and “out of the box” data displays were a highlight to the event.”

Our Partners, TARGIT and OLAP Office held widely attended breakout sessions in the afternoon. TARGIT demonstrated their new release TARGIT 2013, which is expected to be available the beginning of July 2013. Howard Taylor, from OLAP Office, gave a informative presentation on budgeting for multiple reasons (financial, sales, depletions, production, reforecast) all in one tool! [quote align=”right” color=”#999999″]”Well done! I thoroughly enjoyed Dan’s 201 training session.” Colleen Gettle – Don Sebastiani & Sons[/quote]

Francis Smith, Senior Consultant, and Dan Cowan, VP of Consulting, led engaging TARGIT Training 101 and 201 courses the day before the event. The participants were thrilled that we added the courses to the event, learning more advanced views and calculations with the TARGIT tool.

Just before we finished the event, the Business Impact Consultants were available for Advisory Time, where we answered client specific one-on-one questions, recapped any of the sessions, and helped anyone with further training.

Winding up the event, we had a wine tasting and networking hour for all attendees. The wine was phenomenal, as our clients shared a few bottles from their wineries with the group.  The tasting was a great way to recap the day, network, and learn from each other on how to benefit further from BI.

We are looking forward to our next ViewPoints event. Thank you again customers, partners and Business Impact’s employees for making the event a great success!