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Postcard from Orlando

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Florida upside down house - Photo: David NorfolkHello, from the Information Builders (IBI) summit in Orlando! Some interesting new ideas here, from people who've been in large-scale BI for some 30 years - how about BI embedded in workflow applications written in BPEL (when you receive an order, you can fire off a BI report on stock levels/locations, and fire up a request to the stock controller for action, with the BI report appended)?

Or, from a company which focuses (no pun intended) on BI for the masses, a thin-client power-user interface, WebFOCUS Power Painter, that also claims to be the industry's first AJAX product in this space?

There'll probably be more on these later, and on Information Builders' iWay adapter company, which is now, apparently, rebranding itself as a SOA middleware company complete with ESB.

But I thought I'd just blog a couple of throwaway lines, which bear some thought:

First, the initial focus of BI should be on customers outside the firewall, not on top management in your company. Think of going into a discount warehouse to buy a TV and discovering that it's out of stock. You go next door and pay a little more. But someone in that first company had a BI report showing stock levels and expected delivery. Perhaps your TV was coming in tomorrow and, if this BI report was made available to you, the customer, over the web, you'd have waited to purchase, you wouldn't have had a wasted journey and you'd have saved some money (this from Daniel Schultz at IBI).

Second, don't think of orchestrating Web Services, which implies that you know in advance what's going on and how they'll be used. Think of choreographing them - an agile dance around unexpected issues leading to a desired result....

Now, I must get back to the sessions...®

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