Categories
Events & Workshops

Information on Demand 2011 – A great show

Greetings from the Information on Demand in Las Vegas – again. It’s been extremely busy here. From looking at the participants, it feels that the conference is a huge success. Sessions are packed, the Expo is busy and the evening events are great fun.

BA KEYNOTES

One of the highlights of the conference was most certainly the first Business Analytics keynote by Rob Ashe, Eric Yau and Deepak Advani. Over 3000 people attended the session. They presentation focused on a number of things including market trends, solution updates and key investment areas for the next 12 months. Eric Yau also interviewed a very special customer: the Cincinnati Zoo. Director of Operations, John Lucas, shared how the zoo leverages Cognos 10 to improve their overall performance. He also gave a hands-on demo which was very cool.

DEMOS

Following the interview with John Lucas, I had the honor to show four new demos:

  • Mobile – The new iPad app for Cognos 10
  • Business Insight – New features and overview
  • SPSS Modeller – New features and overview
  • Scenario planning with TM1 and Cognos 10

My colleague Ben Plummer also gave a sneak preview of a potential future products that is in the labs. This was not your average demo. Football fans will love it

In case you have not been able to catch the session, make sure to watch the recording. Here are a couple of pointers in case your have limited time:

  • Minute 8 – Rob Ashe takes the stage and provides an update on Business Analytics
  • Minute 32 – Eric Yau discusses the latest technology
  • Minute 38 – John Lucas discusses the Cincinnati Zoo story
  • Minute 51 – Cognos demos

 

Watch live streaming video from ibmsoftware at livestream.com

Stay tuned for some additional updates in the next few days. #iod11 #baforum

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Categories
Events

Touch down in Las Vegas – BA Forum and Information on Demand 2011

Viva Las Vegas! Greetings from Nevada. Our team arrived here at Information Demand 2011 Friday afternoon after a quiet connecting flight from Ottawa. It’s always neat to see conferences being setup – there is excitement and anticipation in the air. Last night we saw the crews building up the stages, hanging up posters and putting up signs. We just had a quick technical rehearsal for the keynote presentation at BA Partner Summit.

Information on Demand 2011
Soundcheck - Blinded by the lights

BA FORUM AND PARTNER SUMMIT

IBM Information on Demand 2011 and BA Forum officially started this morning at 9am. Mel Zeledon and Rob Ashe welcomed IBM’s business analytics partners. I had the honor to deliver a demo to the over 500 attendees. Not just an ordinary demo. No, that was something really cool. Something from our software labs. I don’t want to give too much away, but it has something to do with personal analytics. We will show more of that on Monday and Tuesday in the IBM Business Analytics keynotes.

IoD2011
Over 500 attendees at the keynote. Here is the demo.

A WRONG STEP

On a personal note: I had some ‘excitement’ this morning. Due to a misstep, I ended up spraining my ankle on a run this morning at 6am. I was about 1.5 miles away from the Mandalay Bay. Luckily, I was able to walk back. But it took a while. Pain set in and I had a hard time just getting dressed let alone put my shoe back on. Delivering a demo seemed completely out of question at that point. But my friend Andrew managed to get me down to Starbucks for some coffee and breakfast. That along with some pain-killers did the trick. It’s a lot better now but I might have to go to the hospital later. Wish me luck – please!

TWEETING

Hope to connect with you over the next few days. If you are tweeting about the event, make sure to use the hashtags #baforum and #iod11.

Categories
Analytics Events IBM Cognos

IoD 2011 – Here we come!

Information on Demand 2011Greetings from Ottawa, Canada! I arrived here last Sunday to work with our team on getting ready for BA Forum and Information on Demand 2011. The conference will kick off with our annual partner summit on Saturday, October 22nd. It will be a great show. We have some cool stuff to show you and there will be lot’s of great sessions. I have the honor to deliver a few demos at the Business Analytics keynote sessions. That’s what we are working on this week.

Before I head out to IoD 2011 and BAForum tomorrow morning, I wanted to share a few infos with you.

KEYNOTES

There are two Business Analytics Keynotes this year. Make sure not to miss them. Rob Ashe, Eric Yau and Depak Advani are scheduled to speak. Together with some colleagues, I will show some interesting demos. Of course, there will be a few surprises as well (sorry….can’t share the details…). The sessions are:

  • Monday, October 24th: 3:45pm – 5:00pm
  • Tuesday, October 25th: 11:15am – 12:15pm

TRACKS AND SESSIONS

There are lot’s of exciting sessions this year. Please look at the agenda for the details. Here are my recommendations:

  • The Business Analytics Experience workshop: This is a real-life business simulation. You get to run a fictitious company called Future Chips. But the good news is that you and your team will have a live Cognos system available to prepare and make decisions. It is a lot of fun and you can learn a lot about business strategy, business analytics and decision making. There are a bunch of these scheduled.
  • Social Media Track: There is an entire track dedicated to social media this year. You will get to know Cognos Consumer Insight etc. I will definitely try to see some of those sessions.
  • Behind the scenes: My friends and colleagues Andrew and Jason will run a very cool session on Tuesday: How to build the keynote demos. You will get to see how our team build the different demos that we will show during the main sessions. Sign up early. This session will be packed.

SOCIAL MEDIA

There are two social media lounges this year: Connect and Share. From what I understand, this will be a perfect place to hang out during breaks. There will be phone charging station, social media feeds and a lot more. The lounges will be a perfect area for a tweet-up or just to get some work done. I will definitely try to stop by during breaks.

To stay current with the social media stream check out the Social Media Aggregator. It allows you to review relevant tweets and blogs for the entire conference. When you post something, please make sure to use the proper tags: #baforum or #iod11.

That’s it for today! Hope to see you in Las Vegas at BAForum. Ping me via Twitter if you have any questions or want to meet for coffee. I will also try to blog every day.

Cheers,

Christoph

P.S.: Last but not least, here are a few Tweeters I recommend following:

 

 

Categories
Events & Workshops Plan & Forecast Workshops

Rolling Forecasts Keep on Rolling

Am I surprised? Yes. Maybe I shouldn’t. Our rolling forecasts events were popular in the past, but they keep getting more and more popular.

ROLLING FORECASTS TODAY

Rolling Forecasts are indeed an important topic. And why wouldn’t they? Business and life in general is turbulent these days. No doubt about that. Just think about all the stuff that has happened this year. Major events like Tunisia, Egypt & Fukushima almost seem far away given the significant rate of change these days. And most of these events have a profound impact on the world economy. Think about Fukushima: it happened in Japan but the ripple effects created a serious tremor in Germany (the German government decided to completely pull out of nuclear energy within the next few years). Volatility and uncertainty have therefore increased the need to improve forecasting and decision making processes in almost every business.

THE FALL SEMINAR SERIES

Rolling Forecast Popularity
The number of participants is significantly increasing

We have been running a lot of rolling forecast seminars around the globe for the past few years. The workshops are very interactive and feature a ton of hands-on best practices. We used to run them as roundtable events with a huge focus on personal interaction and discussion. But the latest series is different. My colleague and friend Mark Rolfe just blogged about it earlier this week: we have been getting so much interest that the events are no longer roundtables. We just can’t find any tables that can fit 50-150 people. The events are that popular. This week, we had over 40 people in London. Next week, we are expecting well over 40 people in Bratislava. While I personally prefer the smaller sizes (more interaction), I am certainly happy to see that companies are interested in improving these critical processes.

HAVE YOU JOINED?

The trend is very interesting. It seems to me that we are about to see a profound change in the way we run our businesses. The traditional annual budget process is just not working anymore. The huge popularity of these events reflects this trend.

Are you interested? Please get in touch with me. You can find a description of the seminars on this blog. Also, take a look at the upcoming events in Europe. My colleague Tim O’Bryan can provide you with information about North America.

P.S.: We are conducting a small survey amongst the participants. Look out for some interesting results in late November.

Categories
Events & Workshops IBM Cognos

4 Business Analytics events you should not miss

Business Analytics is the number topic for most CFOs and CIOs this year. Fall is a perfect time to catch up on the latest news in this area and to learn about the latest and greatest IBM solutions. The IBM teams across the globe (including my group) are currently busy organizing and preparing four major events and workshop series. If you are currently using business analytics or are evaluating it, you should definitely make time to attend one or more of these events. There will be a big focus on Cognos 10, Cognos Customer Insight and SPSS.

  • Business Analytics Forum: This event is big – IBM’s annual user conference for the Cognos, SPSS and other related products. The Forum is once again hosted at the Mandalay Bay hotel in Las Vegas. It kicks off on October 24th and runs through the 27th. The conference offers hundreds of sessions about the technology, business best practices and customer stories. There are also certification camps, EXPOs, focus groups and much more. This year we will see a special track dedicated to social media. I personally highly value the opportunity to network at this annual event. This is always a special opportunity. If you have time and budget to attend, you should sign-up soon – early-bird registration ends on August 31st! Make sure to also check out Delaney Turner’s blog post about this event.
  • IBM Performance: If you cannot attend BA Forum, I would highly recommend to sign up for one of the Performance events. They belong to my favorite roadshows. These are 1-2 day complimentary events hosted across the globe. Sessions and solution showcases help you evaluate, use and derive more value from IBM solutions for business analytics. There will be a lot of demos and information about IBM Cognos 10, along with solutions from SPSS, Clarity and Netezza. I will deliver a bunch of keynotes and presentations across Europe.
  • Business Analytics Experience: Have you ever participated in a business simulation? This is the perfect opportunity! The Business Analytics Experience workshop allows you to run a fictitious company called Future Chips. Together with other attendees, you will analyze the business, develop plans and fine-tune specific parameters such as pricing, marketing tactics etc.. The workshop is a lot of fun and really let’s you experience what it means to fully leverage business analytics. You can find out more about this in a prior post on this blog. The complimentary workshops are run across Europe and North America.
  • Best Practices in Action: Being successful with business analytics requires more than just technology. You also need to implement business best practices such as rolling forecasts, driver-based planning and such. Over the past few years, my colleagues and I have therefore developed a bunch of workshops that focus on sharing a lot of proven practices and how to best get started with implementing them. This fall we will focus on Rolling Forecasts, Budgeting and Dashboard Design. You can find out about the upcoming schedule on the Speaking & Events page on this blog. I will update that page as soon as the schedule has been confirmed. You can also find some additional information about these type of workshops on this blog.

Hope to see you at one of these events! I

IBM Performance
Performance 2010 - Stop-over in Dubai
Categories
Finance Workshops

The ultimate rolling forecast workshop

Having fun at the workshop

Forecasting is a critical topic for many companies these days. No big surprise: the volatility and the speed in the world requires organizations to stay agile. About four years ago, my team and I started working with several customers and thought-leaders (David Axson, Steve Morlidge) to collect best practices for forecasting in these turbulent times. The results of the countless hours of talking, brainstorming, analyzing and reading are captured in the IBM Cognos ‘Best Practices in Rolling Forecasts’ workshop. This workshop ended up being way more successful than any one of us would have ever imagined. I have personally delivered over 100 of these events in the past three years.

THE WORKSHOP FORMAT

Forecasting is a complex topic and we were able to collect a full library worth of experiences. But simplicity rules and we selected the most interesting aspects

David Axson is showing the way!

to fill the agenda for a half-day workshop. That creates more focus and the attendees leave with just enough ideas to drive change in their organizations and without feeling overwhelmed. The overall focus is on the business process and not software. While we share a lot of best practices, the workshops are very interactive. We usually have extended and very fruitful discussions amongst the participants. Many attendees stay after the official event ends to continue their idea exchange. This is one of my favorite parts. There are always many things to learn.

BEST PRACTICES AND MORE

Static vs rolling forecasts?

So, what do we cover? A lot! The focus is clearly on proven practices that were identified by our customers. But it is also important to look beyond those things. We therefore injected some thought-provoking ideas from our thought-leaders. And each workshop we run typically provides new ideas, stories and experiences that we leverage to enhance the materials.  It would be too much detail to cover in this post but here are some of the things we discuss:

  • Is a rolling forecast right for your organization?
  • What’s the right time horizon? 90-day? Four quarter? Six quarter? Three year?
  • How often should you update the forecast?
  • How do you use a rolling forecast as an early alert of threats and opportunities?
  • What is the role of scenarios?
  • What role can driver-based modeling and tools play in the forecast process?
  • How do you sell the need for a rolling forecast?
  • What does the business case look like?
  • How can you measure the efficiency and effectiveness of your process?

IT’S YOUR TURN NOW!

If you are considering to make changes to your forecasting processes or if you are working in the IT department supporting Finance, you should join one of these workshops. It is a great opportunity to meet other finance & IT professionals and to get solid ideas. Believe it or not, but we have had several customers attend multiple events. They simply liked the interaction with the other professionals so much and they felt that they got a lot of value out of each workshop. Check out my events page to find out about upcoming dates or simply drop me a note. Hope to see you soon!

Categories
Events Finance

Vienna calling!

Harald Hornacek
A famous host: Harald Hornacek

Greetings from Vienna: home of the schnitzel, yummy dumplings and lot’s of amazing history. But Vienna is also the hub of many successful companies. Today is the third European IBM Finance Forum 2011. We have had a great day so far. Lot’s of attendees from the Finance & IT departments of different Austrian businesses and government agencies. The agenda here is once again packed with Finance content. And as in all the other locations, we also have some great speakers. The event in Vienna is hosted by Harald Hornacek, chief editor of the popular business magazine Succeed. The magazine is distributed by Austrian Airlines and flyers love it for its fresh and meaningful content. Harald is quite famous in the Austrian and European business community for exactly that reason. The attendees have a great time listening to his insightful comments and questions. But let me back up for a quick second. There was another Finance Forum in Zurich last week.

HIGHLIGHTS IN ZURICH

The Dolder Hotel, Zurich

The Finance Forum Switzerland was held at the famous and gorgeous Dolder Grand hotel. It is situated high above the city with breathtaking views left and right. Steve Morlidge, the author of ‘Future Ready‘ delivered a refreshing keynote about best practices in forecasting. He will be speaking at many different Finance Forums across Europe this year. We also had a customer speaker from a 500 year-old company (can you believe that?): Mr.Binzegger from Orell-Fuesseli talked about their innovative use of SPSS software to develop highly accurate credit ratings for companies. We also heard Mr Wirth from Nycomed talk about how to build an effective reporting and information strategy in a global environment. The Dolder Hotel staff also served up some amazing food and coffees during the break. Great event.

VIENNA CALLING

Back to the event here in Vienna. It’s been a bit of a mad rush for me in the background. I left home on Sunday morning to run two Rolling Forecast workshops with close to 40 CFOs from different companies in the Middle East on Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday morning we found out that one of our customer speakers in Vienna ended up calling in sick and I jumped in with a different presentation last minute. We are about to start a panel discussion between different customers and experts.

NEXT STOP BUCHAREST

Hopefully you will get the opportunity to join one of the IBM Finance Forum events in the next few months. As you can see, we always have great speakers, great content and also lot’s of valuable discussions. Knowledge exchange and networking is a critical part of this. My next event is scheduled for May 4th in Bucharest. To see more photos from all the different events click HERE. See you soon!

20110414-015537.jpg
Vienna: Vista 3 - The location fro Finance Forum
20110414-015607.jpg
Finance Forum: Many great discussions
20110414-015715.jpg
Collaborative BI: A real-life scenario
Categories
Events Finance

Finance Forum – EMEA v1.0

Just a quick hello from the road. It’s one of those very exciting yet extremely busy weeks. The IBM Finance Forum events finally kicked off in Europe. The first event was held on Wednesday in the beautiful town of Wiesbaden in Germany.

Which door would you take?

Wiesbaden is known for three things: It is the capital of Hessen, there are some natural springs that have healing effects and there is one of the few well known casinos in Germany. It is the beautiful casino building in the heart of Wiesbaden where the first Finance Forum for the season kicked off. We had a great crowd of well over 250 finance & IT professionals. I had the honor to deliver the IBM keynote. Delivering the keynote at these events is always exciting. But it is especially exciting this year: there are so many great and game-changing things to show.

Apart from many interesting customer & IBM speakers, we also have a few really interesting external keynote speakers. In the US, David Axson will be delighting the audiences. He is a true performance management visionary and inspirational speaker. Make sure to check out his latest book called ‘The Management Myth Buster’. In Europe, Steve Morlidge (author of the book ‘Future Ready’) will be sharing interesting insights about how to improve your forecasting processes. And there are some other speakers as well. Stay tuned for updates. Check out this link to find out about all the dates.

Below are some impressions from the day. I really hope to see many of you at our upcoming events. My personal schedule is update on this website.

Soundcheck at 7:30am
How cool is that? Multi-touch planning powered by TM1.
The Kurhaus in Wiesbaden...how nice is that?
Categories
Analytics Project Management Workshops

Business Analytics in action….a seriously cool workshop

BUSINESS ANALYTICS EXPERIENCE

Have you ever wondered what it was like to run a large company? Have you ever wanted to make big risky business decisions with worrying too much about the results? Well, I have some good news for you!

Purchasing and implementing enterprise software like IBM Cognos can be a complex undertaking. It starts with finding the right vendor, understanding how the software can help fix business issues and it continues with obtaining buy-in from the business. Especially the last issue is not trivial. I have personally spent countless of days and nights working with different client sponsors on crafting careful messages about how the new processes and the software will help the business. My personal lesson learned is: selling change is not easy.

THE EXPERIENCE FACTOR

But there is a recipe that works in many cases: Rather than show and tell, let the business experience the difference. This is something we can learn from a car salesman: A car salesman does not spend time talking about the benefits and cool features of a car. No, he offers a test drive. During this test drive, I am able to experience the benefits hands-on myself. I am able to visualize how the new car can help me. If I like the car, I like it. And I know when it feels right.

THE BUSINESS ANALYTICS EXPERIENCE

How does all that related to Business Analytics? Very simple: Together with Roland and Patrick Mosimann (authors of the popular book the Performance Manager) we created a business simulation workshop that allows you to run a fictitious company using the IBM Cognos platform. And let me tell you: This is one fun workshop because you get to run a large company. It is called: The Business Analytics Experience

THE CONCEPT

Future ChipsThe workshop is typically run with groups of 8-16 people. We split the participants into competing teams. The objective for each team is to run the fictitious company ‘Futurechips’. Together with the group facilitator, we start by analyzing the situation of the company. The Cognos 10 platform provides vital information such as a financial review, overview of products, markets, etc.. This helps answer some critical questions such as: Why was the prior management team let go? What is the financial situation? What are the opportunities for the new year?

ENTER THE SIMULATION

How is Futurechips performing?

There is a lot to discover. Futurechips seems to have a bright future but the prior management team made some strange and short-sighted decisions. And it is fun to make these discoveries. The teams therefore get fully emerged into the game after a few minutes. After a short while solutions and ideas spring up. The teams start discussing. And it doesn’t end here: We actually get to make some critical business decisions. What markets do we want to focus on? Which products do we want to invest in? How should we adjust our pricing models? What is our overall strategy for the fiscal year? We do this by developing short strategic plans in IBM Cognos 10. The data that we enter is then fed into a sophisticated simulation engine that provides detailed feedback.

THE COMPETITION HEATS UP

Business Analytics Experience WorkshopAt this point, it is not untypical to see some serious competitive behavior (all in good fun!) between the groups as we compare the results from the first few quarters. We find out that we did some things right. We also find that the teams missed a few points. Plans and strategies are refined. And so it continues. There are more decisions to be made and the simulation continues to provide feedback.

THE BENEFITS

Ok. That sounds good? But what does that have to do with Business Analytics and what does that have to do with selecting software and implementing it? Very easy. The workshop allows the participants to experience how Business Analytics software can help them make better business decisions. Just to be sure: we do not talk about the software itself during the workshop but we use Cognos 10 to perform our analysis, to prepare our decisions and to help develop the detailed plans. The participants use the Business Analytics tools to gain insights and to prepare their decisions.

WHO, WHAT, WHEN?

Who should attend the seminar? Anybody who wants to learn more about business analytics (sponsors, project managers, CIOs, CFOs, business managers) and all those of you who are already implementing the software and who need to sell change within their organization. The workshop is a fantastic way to let business users experience how their work can change. It is just like test driving a new car!

Does that sound interesting? It really is. I LOVE running these workshops. It is a simulation and a game after all. As a matter of fact, we have many returning customers that want to participate over and over again.

Check out IBM’s website for more information and a current schedule of events. Our team is also happy to run these business analytics workshops in-house. Hope to see you at one of these workshops soon!

Categories
Analytics Events

Two days @ the Gartner BI Summit

London Heathrow, Terminal 5. 6pm GMT. I am tired. Really tired. Museum visits, shopping trips and conference whirlwinds belong to a category of highly rewarding and fun activities, yet they also belong to the category of activities that can only be classified as “Holy smokes, why am I so exhausted?” type of things.

THE GARTNER BI SUMMIT

Gartner does a fine job of producing highly relevant and engaging events. The 2011 EMEA Summit was no different. Over 700 people attended the well organized event at the Westminster Plaza hotel in London.

OPENING DAY

The opening day offered some great presentations. I liked the Gartner keynote which highlighted some of the key themes that are happening in the market. A few interesting things that came up include:

  • 62% of all EMEA organizations have a BI strategy. That is a positive change from the prior years.
  • BUT…only 1/3 of all organizations have a real BICC. But Gartner highlighted that a BICC is somewhat of a ‘secret sauce’ for success in BI.
  • Organizations are very interested in Predictive Analytics, In-Memory, Master Data Management & Dashboarding
  • Success means going for BIG BI: not just platform but rather a complete view of people, process & technology.

PANEL DISCUSSION

Nigel Rayner hosted a great and fun panel session with participants from the main BI vendors. Peter Griffiths represented our IBM Cognos team. Nigel did a great job with the panel and he got the audience actively involved by voting on certain topics. A few interesting points:

  • iPads everywhere

    A big majority of the participants believe mobile BI will play a huge role in the future. Not a big surprise.

    Collaboration & social media will change the game for BI

    Many people believe that a large portion of BI spending will go SIs instead of software vendors.

  • 90% of the audience members believed that predictive analytics will become accessible to a broader user spectrum
  • Many delegates are unsure whether BI hardware & software should be bundled

OUR KEYNOTE & WORKSHOPS

On the second day of the conference, Leah Macmillian and I delivered the IBM keynote. It was great to see so many people in the room. We spent almost 50% of our allocated time on showing Cognos 10. Many people in the audience seemed surprised as we were the only vendor to show product. A bit of a surprise to me. Why would you spend so much time talking about future direction instead of showing what you can do now? Everybody has great ideas but at the end of the day we need to deliver value now. Right? No surprise: We did get a ton of questions following our presentation.

CONCLUSION

Kudos to Gartner. It was a great event. Excellent content and excellent participants. I really enjoyed the networking with so many great people. It was cool to see that our IBM portfolio pretty much covers all the main trends that were discussed at the Summit: Mobile, Collaboration, In-Memory, Predictive Analytics etc.. Cognos 10 is a great platform. Gartner’s assessment of IBM’s position in the market clearly highlighted this.