A Roundup of the Pacific Northwest BI Summit

I recently attended the Pacific Northwest BI Summit, an exclusive, invite-only Business Intelligence summit held in Grants Pass, Ore., by Scott Humphrey of  Humphrey Strategic Communications. This conference was at an interesting juncture as Business Intelligence is at the early stages of figuring out how to best take advantage and incorporate social data into their Big Data solution offerings.

With such an intimate conference, we had the opportunity to have in-depth conversations about what is happening in Business Intelligence. Here are some of the themes that came out of the conference:

Big Data Analytics
Big Data is such a buzz word that is used frequently, but as we were talking about it — no one knows exactly how to define what Big Data is. What was generally agreed upon was that perhaps Big Data Analytics is what should ultimately be talked about — how you analyze the data sets you do possess. It is more important to understand how people are effectively using Big Data than to bandy the term around without understanding its meaning.

Business Intelligence Incorporating Social Data
Social data has the opportunity to play an important role in Business Intelligence but social media data is still siloed from other data sources. Social media analytics need to be incorporated into the rest of Business Intelligence, but enterprise is still struggling with this. Business Intelligence is trying to incorporate social media, but at the same time must fight a perception that social media can be hyped up. Some believe that companies will only incorporate machine data (e.g. items such as satellite imagery), but Business Intelligence is best when it incorporates multiple sources of data. It’s not a win all approach as more value comes from a hybrid with multiple sources.

Data Scientists in the Enterprise
Data scientists within the enterprise is evolving from one single data scientist to a team of data scientists. Like social data, the data scientist can be siloed but we’re starting to see where data scientists are working with multiple departments to share insights.

Collaboration on the Go
One discussion centered around the mobility of workforces and how this plays into Business Intelligence. What many people forget when discussing mobility is that a laptop is a mobile device. With Business Intelligence, there is the opportunity to make information available on the go, but the downside is the many interfaces of mobile to design for — multiple versions of phones and laptops. What is needed is a simple interface to provide insights for a workforce that is increasingly mobile.

At the end of the conference, we gave our predictions for 2012 and TechTarget covered our Business Intelligence predictions.

I really liked this quote:

“The winner will be social data,” Shawn Rogers of EMA said. “It’s going to become a first-class data citizen for most enterprises. We’ll see stories that go well beyond the silos they’re stuck in now with customer care, brand analysis and marketing.”

Ultimately, it was great to be able to have great in-depth discussions about Business Intelligence with the  thought leaders from some of the leading Business Intelligence organizations and some of the more respected BI analysts. Beautiful location with a truly unique agenda and the ability to create an incredible experience.