TDWI (The Data Warehouse Institute) Conference in Chicago

Today was day 1 of the TDWI conference in Chicago. The conference came highly recommended by some associates at Lifeway (Lifeway.com), and so far its been very good.

Arrival in Chicago
We arrived in Chicago Saturday night after a short flight from Nashville. During hotel check-in, I noticed very quickly that it had quite the “international” flavor. While in line, I met a fellow from London and another from Canada. Since that time, I’ve met several other Canadians, heard session input from a another European, and bumped into several Japanese speaking guys. (Note: I’m a Japanese movie fan, and I was tempted to try out some words I’ve picked up. Passed on it today, but maybe tomorrow.)

The First Day
The session format was a bit different than what I’ve experienced at other conferences. While other conferences I’ve attended consisted of broken up and disconnected sessions, the TDWI conference has been more of a classroom setting. From 9:00 am until 5:00 pm, we stayed with the same instructor and the same “students”. I really appreciated how this format allowed the instructor to take us through introductory material and right into practical application. It was obvious there were some very sharp people in the room. The session was geared to involved them creating a dynamic discussion involving the entire room.

The other thing that stood out this morning was the amount of course material provided. Normally when attending conferences, I get “a workbook”. This morning, I received 3 workbooks. 1 for each day to coincide with the three 1 day courses I chose. You can also choose 1/2 day courses which would provide you with a course book per course. (see pictures below) The material consisted of every slide in the presentation and very detailed notes with the speaker’s comments. It would have been nice to have some color examples, but other than that, the materials were great.

Also Included
As with most conferences, you get a goody bag. The TDWI “goody package” also included 4 white paper publications about business intelligence bound “magazine style”, a copy of Information Management, and a nice marketing piece from SAP. All high quality materials.

A Few Takeaways From Day 1 – Performance Dashboards
Performance dashboards exist in 3 flavors for the organization. 1) Operational – for the guys doing the work, 2) Tactical – for the middle managers, 3) Strategic – for the business leaders. These 3 each have major distinctions in several ways. One obvious point of differentiation is the frequency that the report requires updating. Operational should be updated daily. Tactical should be updated at a minimum of weekly, and Strategic should normally updated monthly.

From the audience and instructor, it seems that the dashboard adoption in an organization is a very interesting beast. In many cases, it seems to be pushed from 1 area of an organization and resisted by the rest. It requires and executive sponsor to really take hold. It also requires monitoring of usage and even a marketing plan for it to become really valuable in the organization.

Instructor: Wayne W. Eckerson

Looking forward to tomorrow’s session! Fundamentals of Business Intelligence

Business Intelligence Whitepapers
Business Intelligence Whitepapers
Business Intelligence Course Materials
Business Intelligence Course Materials
The Chicago Tribune
The Chicago Tribune

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