Sunday, April 14, 2013

PASS BA Conference Key Note Day 1; "FUN has its own ROI"

The first day of the PASS Business Analytics Conference began with an amazing keynote on the PASS organization, BI's impact on businesses, and many new and exciting analytical tools available in Excel 2013. All of this in front of a packed room of at least 1000 Business Analysts and Business Intelligence developers ready to dig into presentations on Big Data, Predictive Analytics, and many business cases using a Microsoft and Open Source tools. By the end of it, we all wanted to have FUN the rest of the conference.

PASS President Bill Graziano opened things up introducing many attendees new to the PASS organization to the wealth of resources available to BA/BI professionals across the world. Especially our BI/BA Virtual Chapters. The vast majority of attendees at this conference were new to the PASS organization, so in case any of you reading missed it, there are 4 Virtual Chapters that have monthly meetings. Get plugged in!
Matthew Wolken then took the stage next and set the precedence for the conference with regards to how business analytics are very different with the advances of technology, mobile devices, and social media. 

Analyzing social networks and how they relate back to businesses is very important to Dell. So important, that Dell has a Command Center built specifically to manage customer relationships across all social networks. The image below is different than the one he showed in the Keynote, but is used in a Forbes article describing how Dell and companies alike are making huge investments in managing customer relationships through social media. Check it out, and if you missed any of the sessions on analyzing this social, there will definitely be some of these sessions at Summit 2013 in Charlotte.

http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2012/10/25/nasa-style-mission-control-centers-for-social-media-are-taking-off/

Then for the grand finale, Amir Netz, Microsoft Technical Fellow, and Kamal Hathi, Director of Program Management for BI, took the stage to show off 3 innovative tools that are available in Excel 2013: Power View, Data Explorer and GeoFlow. Excel is one of the most popular BI tools on the planet and the goal Microsoft has with these new analytical tools is to keep them simple and accessible for everyone, even kids in junior high, including Amir's son, who questioned his Dad's intentions when showing his closest friends Power View. They were impressed with Amir, as were we as he led the charge showing off visualizations analyzing music popularity domestically and internationally. Kamal joined in on the FUN by showing how you can organize some of the biggest datasets in the world using Data Explorer by loading JSON formatted files, something that is very difficult to do today without custom code. Then Amir made a dramatic close by showing off GeoFlow on 80 on a huge Perspective Pixel screen.For a preview of what GeoFlow can do, check out this YouTube video.

Some of the most memorable quotes from Amir and Kamal:

"When you think deep down, users of BI products have complete control of how they use their day. How much time they spend on BI. When BI is fun, they are using it. FUN has its own ROI. Focus on the element on fun." -Amir Netz


"Big Data is not just size, there's a life-cycle. Interesting insights. Find and combine data. Form Intuitions, analyze, and tune. Take action and operationalize." - Kamal Hathi



One other mention. Sitting next to Mark Vaillancourt b|t at the bloggers table was another first for us. We were both first timers at PASS Summit 2011, and we were both thrilled to be there tweeting and writing at the first ever PASS Business Analytics conference. Unbelievable. Mark's live blogging skills were outstanding and you can find his live blog post for Keynote Day 1 here.

Will send out more blog posts soon. Thanks to PASS, Microsoft, and Dell for a great beginning to what will most likely be the next phenomenon in technical events across the country.