Greetings. It’s been an incredibly busy few weeks for me with lot’s of travel through Asia. The IBM Finance Forum events for that region were kicked off last Wednesday. I was pleasantly surprised by the huge number of finance professionals that joined the events in Taipei, Hong Kong and Shanghai. As I am still recovering from a serious jet lag, here are some short and pointed news for this week.
IBM Innovations in Smarter Analytics Launch event: Make sure to register for the June 19th launch event. IBM Business Analytics will launch and present a bunch of really exciting and cool new capabilities. The big focus will be on Analytical Decision Management. This is an area that combines predictive analytics, business rules and business intelligence. Using analytical decision management, you can optimize and automate transactional decisions by combining predictive models, rules, scoring and optimization techniques. Very cool stuff! There are also a bunch of updates to other products such as Cognos Express and SPSS Modeler. This is a virtual event and you can attend from your desk. Make sure to register today.
European Soccer Cup 2012: If you love soccer, make sure to watch all the exciting games that are happening this month. It’s been an interesting tournament so far. As a business analytics guy, I love to check out the statistics for the match. You can find some interesting information on the official site.
What does it feel like to run a company? How cool would it be to make really important decisions? How awesome would it be to have all the critical information that you need to get your job done? Good questions? Here is the good news for you: You can certainly experience what it feels like. How? Simply join the Business Analytics Experience Workshop. IBM has developed these workshops together with the team from Align-Alytics and PMSI. Participants get to run a fictitious company called Future Chips. Together with your team mates and a workshop host, you will analyze the past performance of Future Chips and you will get to develop strategic plans, marketing tactics, pricing strategies etc.. But it doesn’t stop there – the business analytics experience workshop gives you real-time feedback. All your decisions will be executed by a simulation engine. It’s quite cool!
The Mini-MBA in a fun format
A participant of the workshop recently said: “Attending the workshop is like getting a mini-MBA. And it’s fun!”. The business analytics experience workshop does teach you quite a bit about real-life business. It is based on the book “The Performance Manager“. Along the way you will also experience what it feels like to have business analytics available to prepare and make decisions. But rather than me describing it in more detail, you should hear from the creator of the workshop. My friend Roland Mosimann is the CEO of Align Alytics. We recently met at the IBM Vision event in Orlando. The team hosted one of the first CFO versions of the workshop.
The Business Analytics Experience Workshop
Come and join the Business Analytics Experience Workshop! First of all, it’s great fun and you can learn a lot. I have hosted close to a hundred of these and I love it. Find out more about the upcoming schedule on the IBM page. You can also read more about the workshop in a prior post on this blog.
Greetings from Munich, Germany! Just a quick update for this week.
New Business Analytics blog
There is a new business analytics blog you should check out. It is written by my Australian colleague Katrina Read and it’s called Kat’s Insigh. Her blog focuses on thoughts and ideas around IBM Business Analytics. Make sure to bookmark the site and/ or to subscribe to Katrina’s RSS feed.
The IBM Vision 2012 event in Orlando was awesome. Almost 800 finance and risk professionals met last week to discuss trends in processes and technology. I personally enjoyed the clear focus on the conference. The break-out sessions were fantastic. I will try to post a few customer interviews next month. In the meantime, I would like to encourage you to watch the keynotes from Vision 2012. The Livestream channel features some great stuff including a thrilling presentation by Mt Everest explorer Alison Levine and IBM’s CFO Mark Loughride.
Greetings from the JW Marriott hotel in Orlando. The IBM Vision 2012 conference for Finance and Risk Management professionals is going really well. Close to 800 professionals from all over the world are here. The atmosphere has been great so far. An event of this size allows people to easily connect with each other and to exchange a few ideas.
The keynotes of the events have been well received. They were action and information packed. The Tuesday morning presentations were especially insightful. Les Rechan kicked off the day with a few thoughts about the role of analytics in the office of finance. He was followed by book author Michael Mauboussin who talked about the power of counterintuition in decision making. John Hagerty from Gartner closed out the morning session with a few customer interviews.
Make sure to watch or scan through the video recording.
Greetings from Orlando. I left Munich Saturday morning to attend the IBM Vision 2012 conference. This three day event for finance & risk management professionals will be exciting. There are fantastic keynotes lined up as well as a ton of awesome break-out sessions. I am really looking forward to it.
The keynotes at IBM Vision 2012 promise to be especially interesting this year. The list of external speakers includes John Hagerty from Gartner, book author Michael Mauboussin and Everest explorer Alison Levine. Of course, there are also exciting IBM speakers including Les Rechan (GM for Business Analytics) and Mark Loughridge (CFO of IBM). I will be showing some great new solutions as part of the general keynote Tuesday morning from 11am – 12am EST.
Join the conversation
For those of you who will attend IBM Vision 2012, please do reach out to me (@cpapenfuss). I would love to connect. If you cannot attend the conference, you can still participate in the conversations. There are two main options:
Join via Twitter. The official hashtag is #vision12 . Also, make sure to follow @ibmcognos for updates. I will try to tweet whenever possible.
View the keynote sessions from your desk via Livestream. All keynote sessions will be broadcast and should be available for viewing after the event as well.
There is a lot of exciting stuff happening in the Business Analytics area. Last week, I wrote about the release of the personal analytics tool Cognos Insight. But there is more. Along with Cognos Insight, IBM also released the latest version of TM1. And let me tell you, IBM Cognos TM1 10.1 is a significant release. There is a lot of new and really exciting stuff in there. Here is a really short preview. If you want to see more, make sure to register for the official virtual launch on Wednesday, March 7th.
One of the most significant enhancements to TM1 10.1 is the addition of Performance Modeler. This is the environment where you can build and maintain the different models for planning, forecasting, profitability analysis and such. Performance Modeler provides new and highly visual tools for getting the work done. There are guided processes for standard tasks such as importing data and deploying models to end users.
Time flies when you are having fun. I just realized that the Gartner EMEA BI Summit is just around the corner. It is scheduled to kick off in London next Monday, February 6th. The Gartner BI Summits are always a true highlight. I love the focus of the event, the variety of high quality presentations and most importantly the discussions between all delegates. London calling!
IBM is once again a premier sponsor of the event. Make sure to stop by our booth. You will be able to see some cool demos of Cognos 10, Cognos Consumer Insight for Social Media, the Cognos iPad solution and many other things. I will try to spend as much time at the booth as possible. Please drop me a note, if you want to meet for a cup of coffee.
Here are some noteworthy sessions from the IBM side:
Monday, February 6th:
11:15 – 12:00: Panel discussion. This is always a highlight. Eric Yau, IBM’s VP for BI and Performance Management will participate this year.
16:30 – 17:00: IBM Business Analytics Session. Harriet Fryman and I will show some cool new stuff in this session.
Stay tuned for some updates from London next week.
P.S.: Watch this video for a quick preview of what Harriet and I will present next week.
Finally! The wait is over! Mark your calendars and register for the March 7th special IBM Business Analytics event. A bunch of really cool & innovative stuff will be revealed. And let me tell you: If you are interested in Business Analytics, you do not want to miss this product launch!
Cognos User Groups are quickly gaining a lot of interest from IBM customers around the globe. These groups provide users with the ability to learn, to connect and to share experiences. A few weeks ago, I had the honor to meet with one of North America’s largest Cognos User Groups – the ‘Groupe d’utilisateurs Cognos du Quebec‘. The president of this group, Steve Veilleux and I sat down for a quick interview.
Christoph: What is the purpose and mission of your Cognos user group?
Steve:The « Groupe d’utilisateurs Cognos du Quebec »has a clear mission. We primarily want to provide the Quebec BI community with networking opportunities around IBM Cognos technologies and BI concepts. We typically do that by organizing two full-day events per year (in Montreal and Quebec City). Our members help each other to gain new knowledge they can apply at work. We also share the latest news about IBM Cognos. Members frequently share case studies as well.
Christoph: Is this a new initiative or does this user group have a longer history?
Steve:I am proud to say that our Cognos user group has a long history in the IBM Cognos world. We were founded over 15 years ago! I personally joined the group in 2002 and have played the role of the president since 2007.
Christoph: How many members do you have and how do you communicate with each other?
Steve:We currently have around 450 people. Our meetings typically attract around 100 attendees. To communicate with each other, we established a group on LinkedIn. Members and non-members can also use our web site: www.gucquebec.org . We also publish a newsletter and share the results from our different meetings.
Christoph: Who participates in the user group?
Steve:We have a well-balanced mix of members. The majority are IBM Cognos customers or prospects from the business or the IT side. There are also consultants and some IBM employees.
Christoph: What are the benefits of being a member in a Cognos user group?
Steve:A user group is definitely very beneficial for its members. I personally see three main benefits:
The ability to stay informed about IBM Cognos products
The ability to networking with other business analytics professionals
Privileged contact with IBM employees
Christoph: What is your relationship with IBM through the group?
Steve:We have a very close relationship with IBM. They actually sponsor us to a certain degree and provide us with resources for our meetings. We typically invite speakers to help us understand the latest news about the technology and services.
Christoph: There are some regions that do not have a user group. What advice would you have for IBM Cognos sponsors and users who are thinking about forming or joining a similar user group?
Steve:My clear advice: Start or join a Cognos user group! First of all, you need to find a few like-minded people. Once you have made up your mind, make sure to share responsibilities. A successful user group requires some time and effort. People need to provide some help with organising meetings, managing contact lists, finding and selecting presentation topics and speakers, reserving the facilities, etc.. Our “Groupe d’utilisateurs Cognos du Quebec” is managed by an executive committee for that purpose. Once the user group is up and running I recommend to take care of a few things:
Listen to your user community. If possible, try to find conference topics they ask for (we frequently conduct a survey).
Avoid consultant-only presentations. We strongly prefer customer presentations and we think this is one a the reason why our Cognos user group is so successful.
Encourage your members to actively participate. It can be a challenge to find and convince customer “champions” to prepare materials and to present them. To encourage them we offer free registrations to our meetings and also offer them a gift for their effort.
Work with IBM. We have had great IBM people present at our meetings. Exactly like you, Christoph!
Charge a registration fee for your meetings. Not only does this help cover fixed expenses (room, audio/video, meals) but it also helps us get some prestigious speakers. We were able to attract influential experts like Wayne Eckerson, Shawn Rogers, Brett Knowles, Philippe Nieuwbourg, Naomi Robbins and some others. Interest in our events has significantly increased since we started bringing in these prestigious speakers (+40%).
Try to have fun and share the good news! This is really important! Once you start having fun and people get value out of the community, word of mouth will bring in new members.
Christoph: Tell me about your career in Performance Management and Cognos
Steve:I started my career 17 years ago at Groupe Canam Inc.. Until 2000, I was involved in payroll, manufacturing and financials systems development. With all the knowledge I had gained on those systems at Canam Group Inc, I started a Data Warehouse project in 2000. And for the past 11 years I was thus responsible for the development of the BI environment. Can you believe it – I started with Cognos 6.6 back in 2000. I guess that makes me an “early adopter”. I have hands-on experience with almost all versions between Cognos 6.6 and IBM Cognos 10.1. During those years I also participated in Customer Reference and IBM Cognos Beta Programs. You can even find my profile on the IBM website. I recently decided to make a major change in my career by join Keyrus Canada as a Business Intelligence Consultant.
The IBM Business Analytics Forum 2011 featured two keynotes this year. The day 1 keynote focused on the general IBM strategy in the business analytics segment along with several product updates and demos. The day 2 presentation had a bigger focus on specific solutions. And not only that: There was a preview of what is being developed in the IBM Labs. You will have to watch the hands-on demo.
The Cognos keynote chapters
In case you have limited time, here are some key chapters that can view in the video below.
Minute 10:30 – Trends & Decision Making with Deepak Advani
Minute 23:30 – Demo: Social Media Analysis – Jason Verlen
Minute 28:30 – Solution update with Deepak Advani
Minute 45:00 – Demo: Decision Management – Jason Verlen
Minute 55:30 – IBM Labs (Personal Analytics) with Harriet Fryman, Eric Yau and Christoph Papenfuss