I had the opportunity to attend IBM's Data and AI forum this week. This was formerly known as Analytics University and it has a definite Cognos slant. It was in steamy (steamy, really steamy) Miami and it brought together customers, partners, and IBMers in a celebration of Cognos (and AI but for me, mostly Cognos).
I've been to a bunch of these conferences in the last few years and this was by far the best (well, other than PMsquare's BACon, of course). Here's why I thought it was so good:
1. Every IBMer I spoke to was very authentic. It did not feel like the content was being "sales" focused. It felt like a really honest description of what they were doing, what was coming, and why they did what they did. I will post some details on what I learned (my favorite session was at 8:30 am this morning with Rachel Su and she gave us the dirt on Reporting). I'm going to write up a big post with this but let me leave this here - NEW PROMPTS - in the next 6 months. We've only been begging for this since Reportnet released in 2003. I'm so excited. Honestly. Really excited.
2. The product. Since the release of 11.1, it's been good. With 11.1.4 releasing last week, it's REALLY good. It's been a stressful few years defending what I know is an amazing product and finally, it feels like something great again. Go Cognos!
3. My team. Man, I love the people I work with. A lot. So smart. So fun. We hosted an amazing pool party for all conference participants by the pool on Tuesday night. In spite of the nearly 100% humidity (or maybe because of?), it was a great night and I had a lot of interesting conversations around the pool. Lesson learned, even if it's a party - Cognos people are going to talk Cognos.
4. My customers. I had quite a few customers at Forum this year and it was so great to catch up and see what they were up to. One of our customers, did a presentation about how she's engaging her internal customers by giving them direct access to their data using spreadsheets, data modules, and dashboards. I'm going to try to get her to post something here telling you all about it.
5. The conversations I had. I talked to a lot of people who are in various stages of Cognos upgrades and implementations. I talked so much that I'm pretty sure I'm losing my voice.
6. I did my very first big conference presentation. I do a bunch of presentations each year at our BACon conference but this was the big leagues. I presented with Ryan Dolley on the topic "Is it finally time to move away from Framework Manager?" Controversial, right? We had a full house. The night before, IBM's Jason Tavoularis (a senior offering manager) talked about Data modules and basically said everything (almost word for word) that Ryan and I were going to say. We did a last minute switch up and did some demos of data modules new features that finally address some of the reasons we feel it is time to make the big move (more on this to come). Session ended but people stayed so I think it was pretty successful.
Ok. My flight is boarding and I'm heading home to not steamy weather.
I'll update more over the next few days to share all I learned.