Wrapping Up TDWI – Agile? You Bet. And You Should.

I’ve posted twice about TDWI’s San Diego event, and I still haven’t exhausted the thoughts I wanted to share. That’s a measure of just how important and successful I think the show was. Three things jumped out at me:

  • The audience is back, and it’s ready to spend. The event was buzzing; I was told by organizers that the numbers significantly exceeded expectations. That was easy to see; speeches, booths, and hallways were packed. Vendors told me booth traffic was great, and that visitors (although typically not budget holders) were in or preparing for projects and product acquisitions.
  • The hunger for content continues. In my session and in others, I saw show-of-hands responses to questions like “how many of you have been here before?” “How many of you have built this kind of system?” “How many of you have been trained on [pick a DW-related topic]?”  The responses made it clear that like other TDWI events I’ve been to, this one was packed with people who were new or intermediate users with training in mind. TDWI’s basic training mission has never been healthier.
  • Agile matters. A lot. My first post on the event was put up rather quickly and as the event progressed, I heard the theme flesh out well, with real stories from users who applied the techniques to their projects. My initial impression that we might be looking at another buzzword poorly applied was wrong. Agile’s real, and TDWI’s coverage and guidance is rich and well worth investigating. The vendors? Well, they’re doing what they always do. Caveat emptor. I repeat: it’s not an adjective.  Learn what it means and apply it. You can’t buy it. Read more of this post

TDWI Event Focuses on Agile BI. What’s That?

I’m at the Data Warehouse Institute’s San Diego conference this week, and experimenting with an incremental approach to blogging for this event; I’ll try to get on a few times in the next 2 days (unfortunately that’s all the time I’ll have here) and communicate some quick thoughts, as opposed to my more typical style, which is longer and more in depth. That will no doubt follow on many of the topics later.

I begin with the keynote from Wayne Eckerson this morning, where he offered his thoughts on Agile BI. Agile is a loaded word; for developers it means a very specific set of techniques and methodologies. Data folk are not part of that culture in most cases, and they use the word as an adjective. Wayne attempted to bridge the gap in a few places, but by and large, his hints at best practices were not particularly new, or surprising, or tied closely to the Agile playbook. Read more of this post

IBM Shows Broad Mobile Portfolio at Largest Lab

IBM employs 45,000 software engineers worldwide, and like all large firms, has been greatly expanding its overseas contingent, leading some in the US to complain that not enough is being done “back home.” In mid-June, IBM provided an answer with the opening of a new lab facility in the Boston suburb of Littleton, Massachusetts, one of 70 IBM Software Labs around the globe, and its largest in North America.  It has “more square footage than Boston’s Fenway Park or the TD Garden,” IBM noted, and employs fully 10% of the firm’s software engineers. Since 2003, IBM said, it has acquired 14 Massachusetts-based companies, partnered with more than 100 VC-backed small firms, and has more than 1,600 business partners in New England. This investment was not lost on the Deval Patrick, Governor of Massachusetts, who joined IBM SVP and Group Executive Steve Mills for the lab opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony. In a bid to demonstrate the breadth of his portfolio, Mills assembled the heads of several of his software brands to discuss mobility, a primary focus of the Littleton lab. Read more of this post

IBM Touts Software’s Role in Infrastructure Security, Efficiency

In April, IBM used two events to roll out important software elements of its Dynamic Infrastructure strategy. On the 20th, IBM chose the RSA Conference in San Francisco, the world’s largest security event, to highlight its progress with integrating products from existing brand families like Tivoli and Rational – with special focus on the Internet Security Systems (ISS) line and its X-Force R&D team, a preemptively focused organization whose work underpins much of the security innovation taking place.

A week later, IBM hosted a summit for hundreds of executives and a few industry analysts to roll out a series of products and initiatives, principally from the hardware side of the firm, but again featuring software from several company brands and IBM Research efforts. Common to both events was the increasing focus on end-to-end, suite-based deliverables with substantial services offerings from IBM’s own Global Business Services team as well as training, certification and support efforts for partners. IBM’s aggressive acquisition strategy was also much in evidence, as the integration, extension and rebranding of acquired products from 2007 and 2008 was showcased frequently. Read more of this post

InfoSphere Streams Is A Game Changer

IBM has made it clear that InfoSphere Streams, the commercialized part of the System S research project that has been underway for some years, is a priority, and they are committing substantial investments to it.  In fact, the release was hurried a bit, as I noted in my (hopefully) humorous post about naming for complex event processing (CEP) and related technologies. At a major financial analyst meeting in May 2009, CEO Sam Palmisano called it out as an IBM opportunity, and Software Group honcho Steve Mills listed it as one of four themes within his topline Information Agenda message. That kind of push makes things happen. Read more of this post