The conference started with a classic keynote with cameras, enormous screens, demos and some high-level managerial talks from Sanjay Poonen and Jason Rose. The only things I can remember from this were the various very cool iPad apps that were nicely demonstrated and that there were 1400 people attending the event (BI2011, HR2011, GRC2011 and Financials2011 combined).
So I expected to hear some informative things in three areas at BI2011: HANA, SAP BW 7.3 and SAP HR reporting with SAP BW. The sessions for first two completely succeeded in this, the SAP HR reporting area on the other hand was a big disappointment. Based on the session’s descriptions I expected to learn more on SAP HR data in combination with SAP BW reporting, since this would be very helpful for my current project. Unfortunately only SAP queries where discussed in the first session and the second session just went through the standard BW tooling, without any actual reference to SAP HR data. Maybe my expectation level was completely off, but this was just a waste of time.
The sessions on BI4 that I attended (WebI & Analysis) could have been more detailed but were okay overall. The session on Crystal Report was cancelled last minute because the speaker couldn’t make it to Amsterdam in time. Too bad.
I loved those tips & tricks sessions! This is where you really learn things. Top two here were the session of Jesper Christensen on data load improvements and my final session on the last day by Shell on their experiences regarding the SAP BusinessObjects integration with SAP BW. Very good job guys!
In the exhibition hall a number of companies tried to show off their solutions. The only booth I got excited about was Conesprit. Here we got a nice demo of a tool called BI Director that was able to generate documentation from a SAP BW system which looked very nice and helpful.
At the SAP Press books booth you could buy their books with a nice 25% discount (and no exorbitant shipping costs). Here I found this book Practical Data Modeling With SAP NetWeaver BW by Daniel Knapp which gives a detailled example for modeling HR data within BW. So after all I did get my info on SAP HR reporting. 🙂
I still can’t believe how many SAPinsider people worked at this event. Every session room even had a guy or girl sitting in front of it to collect the evaluation forms. So it’s now getting clear to me why these events are so overpriced. Why not just record a webinar for each session and put this up on SDN or SAPinsider.com so we can watch it on-demand? No more need for all the travel and you don’t have to skip sessions because at two interesting presentations are planned at the same time.
Overall I think BI2011 Amsterdam was okay, but I expected a bit more of it: More technical and in-depth sessions and less high level blabla. Most presentations were good, but almost without exception I saw Powerpoint slides filled with text from top to bottom. Bah. 😉