Returning After a Long Absence

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything on this blog, and for that, I apologize. For the last year, I’ve been involved in several projects that haven’t done much to inspire new posts here. This year, 2015, I promise to post more, as I learn new tips and techniques with BusinessObjects.

I’ve also been bad in approving comments over the past ten month, or so. And for that, I also apologize. I’ve now gotten caught up on approving comments, and have even replied to a few. I promise to be more attentive to comments. I appreciate all of them. Well, at least the ones that aren’t spam.

I’m planning some new posts, and should have some ready soon. But I’d also like to get some ideas from others. If you have any thoughts on topics that you would like to see covered here, feel free to comment to this post. I will give serious consideration to all ideas.

Thank you for sticking with me though this last year of silence. It’s time to break that silence, and start making some noise again. Who’s with me?

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Sessions at SAP BusinessObjects User Conference

Will you be attending the SAP BusinessObjects User Conference in Orlando this year? If so, I’d love to meet you. I’ll be speaking at a couple of sessions. Please come and say hi to me. 🙂

Building a Data Warehouse: Building a Universe

In this session, we will look at the fundamentals of building a universe on a star schema data warehouse. Participants will watch as a universe is built, incorporating best practices in universe design. Topics will include basic concepts, SQL tricks, contexts, common mistakes, and documentation. Look at the best ways to make the universe user friendly and designer friendly.

Key Learning Points

  • Hear why good preparation is 80% of the work.
  • See why there’s more to building a universe than entering SQL.
  • Learn how to make sure that the users will understand this universe.

Note that this session is part of the Building a Data Warehouse series.

SAP BusinessObjects Security Made Easy

If you have worked with SAP BusinessObjects security, you probably have experienced a fair amount of pain trying to get it right. Yes, it can be confusing. However, there are some cool tricks that you can implement to make it much easier. This presentation will go over the basics of security, including some fundamental concepts. From there, you will explore some little-understood features of the Central Management Console (CMC) that can make security much easier. Some of the key concepts will include:

  • Setting security at the root folder
  • Using access levels
  • How to use the “Everyone” group
  • Dual security architecture
  • Best practices

ASUGNEWS Studio

In addition to my sessions, I’ll be joining Jamie Oswald and Dave Rathbun in the ASUGNews Studio for a live interview session on Tuesday morning at 9 AM. The studio will be located on the Show Floor. It should be fun, as the three of us in one place could mean non-stop laughter.

DSLayered Podcast

Eric Vallo is planning on recording a podcast from the conference, all about the early days of BOB. So, he’s pulled together a group of folks that have been there from the beginning, including Amy Miller and Susan Collins. They ran the List Serve that predated BOB. Of course, it will also include Dave Rathbun, Steve Krandel, myself, and perhaps a few special surprises. Note that this may be recorded after the conference, depending on everyone’s schedules, and a few technical details.

The Bottom Line

So, the bottom line is that I’d like to meet as many people as possible at the conference this year. So, look me up. I’ll also be attending the BI4 Launch Party, sponsored by Steven Lucas and Miko Yuk. See you there!

The Demise of Social Skills

My job takes me on the road quite a bit, and, over the years, I’ve grown accustomed to, and even started to enjoy, spending my evenings alone. I eat dinner in a restaurant alone, and sit in my hotel room alone, sometimes working, sometimes doing personal chores. I enjoy the time to catch up on reading, and writing.

But I also enjoy observing other people while I’m out for dinner. And I’ve noticed a trend that has sparked this article. It started a few months back while I was waiting for a table at a popular restaurant. There I was, in the waiting area of this restaurant, along with twenty or so other people waiting for tables. Most, if not all, of these people, where in groups ranging from two to five people. However, instead of chatting amongst themselves, the majority of these people where staring at their phones. Perhaps they were reading, or posting on Facebook or Twitter. Perhaps they were texting other friends who weren’t with them. Perhaps they were surfing the net, or playing games.

While all of these things are fine, I was reminded of a scene in the movie Wall-e in which the residents of this space ship had learned to communicate with other people strictly through holographic screens which floated in front of them. They even used these screens to chat with people who, little did they know, where right next to them. They had lost all knowledge of the world around them.

Since that night, I have seen this same, or similar, scenarios being played out by people time and time again. In the most recent case, I was at another restaurant, and I was watching a nearby table containing a party of six people, four of whom where staring at their phones. On another occasion, I observed a couple, at dinner together, both of whom were using their phones extensively.

As a society, are we losing our ability to interact with people on a face to face basis? And, if we are, is that a bad thing? I look at our high school and college students today, and see a generation that is being defined by their devices. The next generation is not only learning to socialize through devices, but they are losing the ability so spell correctly, use correct grammar, or even use punctuation properly. Instant Message abbreviations have replaced complete words, not only in text messages, but throughout online forums, emails, and even articles.

Of course, some might argue that all languages evolve over time, and the most important thing is that the writer is understood by his or her audience. And, let’s face it, this younger generation has no problem reading each other’s poorly written communications. And, as long as the message is conveyed correctly, is it really that important that traditional writing skills are being abandoned? After all, hasn’t there always been a communication gap between generations? When I was young, my parents complained of the unintelligible language of my generation. But we understood each other.

I recently heard on KNX News radio that a study found the following increasing trend: Young people, after a job interview, would send a text message to the interviewer, often in abbreviated language, thanking them for the interview. The text might be something like this: “Thx 4 the chat”. The study found that managers who had received such text messages found them to be annoying. That doesn’t surprise me. Most managers are from a generation that values correct spelling and punctuation. Personally, I find it annoying to have to read a sentence several times trying to decipher the meaning. This is very common on sites like Facebook and Twitter.

I have to admit, I’d rather send an email, than pick up the phone and call someone. My wife is just the opposite. She hates typing an email. She would much rather have a phone conversation. I find that, in business, email is better, as you have documentation of what was said. In today’s business environment, we don’t need people denying what they said. We don’t have that issue with email.

However, at the same time, I miss the days when spelling, grammar, and punctuation were important. Even when I send a text message, I spell out full words, and include punctuation. I think that helps make the message clear. Am I showing my age? What do you think?

Starting a New Job

After 8.5 years as a Business Intelligence consultant with Westbay Solutions Group / Idhasoft, I decided to join the team at Claraview, which is a division of Teradata. The years that I spent with my team at Westbay, and then Idhasoft, are years that I will cherish. I couldn’t ask for a better team with which to work. Over those years, I had the honor and privilege of working with some of the most talented people in the BusinessObjects arena. I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

As a Professional Services Consultant with Claraview, I will have the opportunity to take my expertise to a whole new level. Being a division of Teradata, I will have the opportunity to work on projects with folks from Teradata. I don’t have a lot of experience working with Teradata databases, and am really looking forward to getting my feet wet on this. However, Claraview isn’t tied to Teradata technologies. Claraview, as a Business Intelligence firm, is committed to working with any and all technologies that the client needs. So, I will continue working with all the technologies that I know so well, in addition to learning some new technologies. It’s the best of both worlds.

I also like that Claraview is a small company, with a big parent. So, I get to enjoy the intimacy of a small company, while getting the benefits of a large company. Again, it’s the best of both worlds.

So my first day with Claraview was on Monday, 3/14/2011. I spent most of that day doing paperwork, and new employee training, as well as getting my new laptop set up. The next morning, I was on a plane to Northern California, to go on-site with a client for my first assignment. That’s what I call hitting the bricks running! In this project, I am joining an existing team of consultants from Teradata, to help improve performance with their BusinessObjects system.

So far, what I’ve seen of Claraview, and Teradata, has impressed me. They treat their employees and customer very well. I could get used to this. 🙂