Monday, March 9, 2009

Gartner BI Summit 2009 Day 2

Since I am attending the Performance Management Track, it has a decidedly PM feel to the conference. I can't judge the total audience except from the perspective of the Keynote attendance. The group is shy. During the "Comparing the Megavendors" session Bill Gassman was trying to solicit feedback from the audience (a packed house) and the attendees were reluctant to share their experiences and their opinions. It might have made for more lively discussions. I think it is important to sound out ideas and get others' opinions and perspectives to take advantage of avenues to innovation.

At the last count there were 730+ attendees to the Gartner BI Conference. Of those more than 30% were government and public sector. Another 20+% were vendors. That would seem inline with the expectations for curtailed travel budgets. Vendors are hoping that maybe somebody may still have a budget. The government gets a better rate than the commercial attendees and their fiscal year started before the severe downturn. As to why there is 18% from financial services? It isn't the banks but the insurance companies. No one seems to be buying, though. A less-than-scientific survey of the attendees resulted in a great number of people who are trying to figure out if their deployment is keeping pace with their peers and what they can look forward to for NEXT year - 2010.

I would have liked to go to the different vendor presentations but they were all at the same time limiting my ability. IBM (as commented on by another attendee) showed their traditional positioning presentation that had more rhetoric than content. Oracle seems to fitting into that mold as well from what I could see. Microsoft was confused about their BI offering with the elimination of PerformancePoint and Gartner discounted them in their vendor discussions. I was surprised that Gartner was least supportive (fewer positive ratings) of SAP. They seemed most favorable towards IBM/Cognos and resigned to Oracle as the big dog. In advance of the "Cool Vendors" report they also mentioned Adaptive Planning and Host Analytics, but left off Birst and PivotLink. SaaS, Hosting and OpenSource was mentioned but not with the exuberance I might have expected. The audience seemed to prefer a staid, perfunctory BI and PM implementation as opposed to participating in any kind of dynamic discussion on new technologies and methods. A far more toned down environment even than last year. Is it only the economy or did the venue also change the chemistry of the audience and participants?

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