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September 9, 2010

Mobile BI growing in interest

Former Gartner analyst, now president and founder of Dresner Advisory Services, Howard Dresner, researched business interest and adoption of the perceived benefits and drawbacks of mobile BI applications. Listen to his summary Podcast here.

That is more inline with what I see & hear from customers and businesses. I highlighted a story in the same online publication,, last month that said there was a LACK of interest. See it here. That was tweeted from my Twitter account here.

BTW, if you enjoy playing with and building Mobile BI apps, check out Derek Comingore's piece on mobile BI from our SQL Mag BI Blog series here.

Posted by Mark Kromer at 5:15 PM | Comments (4)

July 2, 2010

Moving back to Microsoft

Starting Tuesday, July 6, I will official become a Microsoft employee, again. I spent 2 years with Oracle helping them to take to market applications focused on rich project & portfolio management capabilities, focused on data warehouses, BI, analytics and SOA architectures for those products.

I spent 3 years with Microsoft previously, mainly as a product manager on BI solutions for SQL Server that served all LOB applications and industries.

In my new role with Microsoft, I am going to focus on all areas of database & BI. I am not certain if I am going to keep up the PPM BI blog here at BYE Blogs since my focus will no longer be on the project portfolio management industry.

I think I will wait and see if there is a need to keep writing about this space, if I receive a lot of requests for it, and whether or not I will have the time to devote to this blog going forward.

Thanks for reading!!

Best, Mark Kromer

Posted by Mark Kromer at 2:30 PM | Comments (0)

Oracle BIWA presentation

The Oracle BIWA user group SIG team host posted up information from my session last week on Oracle's Primavera P6 Analytics. This is our package analytics and BI product for project portfolio management using the Oracle BI (OBIEE) product stack.

Posted by Mark Kromer at 2:15 PM | Comments (0)

June 20, 2010

Oracle's BIWA to feature new analytics product

Oracle has a special interest group for their BI & DW users called BIWA.

On Wednesday, June 23, we will be holding an online webinar where I will be joined by my colleague Karl Prutzer to dive into details of how we used Oracle's OBIEE to build out a brand-new project portfolio analytics product for Oracle using their business intelligence, dashboards, analytics and data warehouse technologies.

If you would like to join us, registration is free. Just click here. This will be a deep-dive into use of the tools & technologies and not a discussion of the product's value proposition or competitive positioning.

See ya there! Thanks, Mark

Posted by Mark Kromer at 9:15 PM | Comments (3)

June 17, 2010

BI PPM from Oracle

Just completed the launch of a new analytics solutions for Oracle based on the Primavera P6 product for project performance management. If you want to see what we did and how we incorporated the best practices and areas that I cover in this blog around BI for PPM, click here.

Posted by Mark Kromer at 10:00 PM | Comments (0)

May 21, 2010

IT Project Performance Management with Oracle

Here is a link to my Slideshare slides that I used for the Oracle Applications User group locally here in the Philly area today.

It shows examples of BI PPM in OBIEE and with our new P6 Analytics product. It also shows a few examples from Oracle Project Analytics and other BI Apps samples.

Yes, it is very Oracle-centric, but this was the Oracle user group, after all ... However, you may find it useful in terms of best-practices ideas and what a sophisticated analytics portal would look like in your organization.

No matter what vendor you use for project & portfolio management, reporting, analytics and BI, having a single, interactive, easy-to-access and navigate solution for executive sponsors, team members, finance, etc. to gain visibility and transparency into your project and PMO performance and processes is a critical success factor.

Posted by Mark Kromer at 3:30 PM | Comments (3)

May 9, 2010

Packaged Analytics and BI for Project Portfolios

Well, we finally made it to market with our Oracle BI application for Primavera's P6 product which we are calling Primavera P6 Analytics. You can find screenshots and more details on my Oracle EPPM (Enterprise Project Porftolio Management) blog here.

Since I blog about BI for PPM here on this Beye Blog, I am obviously thrilled with this annoucement. When you click over at the product details from the above link, you'll see the samples and screenshots from out-of-the-box dashboards that use Oracle's OBIEE product for presentation.

The ETL is pre-built and pre-configured and uses both and ODS as well as a star schema dimensional model. Since we are using only Primavera's P6 data bases as a source, we can exercise greater control and ensure data quality from this model.

I would love to hear your comments and feedback!

Thanks, Mark

Posted by Mark Kromer at 12:45 AM | Comments (0)

April 27, 2010

BI Solutions for Small and Medium Sized Business

I came across a story on that interested me because it was about affordable BI solutions for SMBs:
click here to read it.

Strangely, it focused almost solely on using Microsoft products for affordable BI, particularly focusing on Excel & PowerPivot.

What was missing? Any mention of open-source solutions.

So, for those of you who want a truly enterprise-ready BI solution that goes beyond spreadsheets, take a look at these 2 top-notch open-source BI vendors which is a great way to reap the benefits of enterprise BI, data warehouses, business analytics and predictive analytics without breaking the bank: Jaspersoft & Pentaho.

Posted by Mark Kromer at 2:30 PM | Comments (0)

April 11, 2010

Metadata Driven ETL

Time for a short posting off the beaten path of my focus for this blog, which is BI for project portfolio performance.

I spent a few hours last week speaking with both Oracle & Microsoft ETL PMs about one my favorite topics in the BIDW world, metadata-driven ETL.

What is metadata-driven ETL? IMO, it is ETL that can be derived partially automatically from an analysis of source & target, preconfigured transformations and historical metadata. The intent is to make ETL generation quicker, easier and more flexible. How often do you find ETL routines that break because something changed on a source?

I found a very nice description of metadata driven ETL here on this blog from Aditi. If you are interested in metdata driven ETL, I highly recommend reading it.

It is nice to see that Microsoft has set-up a council to maintain CodePlex which is where you can find a metadata driven ETL framework for SSIS that I used and participated in when I was a PM @ Microsoft called MDDE. It is on CodePlex and maintained by a former colleague of mine, David Reed. It is a pretty decent (still several shortcomings) framework for metadata driven ETL for SQL Server.

Posted by Mark Kromer at 5:15 PM | Comments (2)

March 21, 2010

BI Visualization Matters

Visualization of data matters in BI. There is now an expectation by business system stakeholders that BI is finally moving beyond just the realm of "reporting" and that a BI solution will provide value to the business with easy ways to find root-cause, manage by exception and to report on the state of the business. But you must not set the expectation that the business users need to have PhDs nor should they need to be statisticians. At Microsoft, the PerformancePoint GM used to call this "BI for the Masses". Here at Oracle, I'm referring to this in the domain that I work in currently (PPM) simply as "knowledge tools for the decision maker".

I had written quite a bit about the business value of visualizing business intelligence, trends, history and scorecards in a compelling way with MSDN here. If you search on the blog, you can see my examples of using Silverlight for BI dashboards to provide a more interactive and exciting experience for decision-makers. I also put an example of using Tufte's Sparklines in Excel. Let us all not forget the power of using Excel for uncovering business data trends and for making excellent decisions!

And I want to come back to this as I am completing work on a project that is wrapping up where we are releasing a new earned value and project performance pre-built BI application for Oracle's Primavera product line.

Let me give you an example of 2 of my favorite BI visualization packages below. First is Crystal Xcelsius as used by solverUSA and second is Tableau.

Yes these are very busy and dog & pony-show style for the dashboard UI vendors. But what I particularly find appealing about Tableau is that they remain an ISV in the BI space where Outlooksoft, Proclarity, Applix, etc. got scarfed up, they keep on cruising and are very easy to use.

And then Crystal has done a very nice job of capturing the idea of easy-on-the-eyes compelling visualizations while also making it easy to consume, particularly with their inclusion of knobs & dials to tweak values in a what-if simulation environment.

Alright, so that all being said and introduced, let me sum things thing up with a quick list of 3 high-level aspirations that your BI solutions should ensure is baked into your UI, regardless of who or what you use for your visualization:

1. All reports have actions associated: drill-thru, drill-down, drill-up, jump to URL, etc.

2. All dashboard pages have 1 or more filters that control the perspectives & slicers for all reports on the page.

3. Real-time simulations should be included on dashboards for user interaction and what-if scenario planning.

Posted by Mark Kromer at 2:15 AM | Comments (2)