BusinessObjects Expert BI 2012

What happens in Vegas… could transform your business intelligence strategy. Join me in February at BI 2012.

In just a few months, I’ll be speaking at SAP Insider BI2012 in Las Vegas, a conference sponsored by WIS Publishing and BusinessObjects Expert. The conference features more than 200 sessions and labs, a packed agenda of networking events, and hundreds of demos showcasing the latest updates and best practices for business intelligence solutions.

Follow the hashtag #BI2012 on Twitter to get live updates about the conference.

UPDATE: Check out my December 16, 2011 interview,  Security Access Concerns for Administrators to Tackle, with Scott Wallask, Managing Editor, BusinessObjects Expert

There’s an incredible wealth of talent speaking at this year’s event – experienced voices like Chris Greer, Alan Mayer, Dave Rathbun, Jay RiddleEric Vallo, and Michael Welter. A full list of speakers and their presentations is available from the conference web site or brochure.

The BI2012 conference will be my first appearance at a WIS Publications event. Three of my four breakouts will be about SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0. The fourth is about user adoption, a pet topic of mine.

What happens in Vegas… could transform your business intelligence strategy. Join me at BI 2012 for expert sessions and professional networking that can change the way you use Business Objects Business Intelligence.

Here are the abstracts from my BI2012 sessions.

Ensuring a successful Business Objects Explorer deployment — A systems perspective

This session offers a system architectural perspective on how to plan, install, and configure Business Objects Explorer. View a system architecture diagram and workflow to see how Business Objects Explorer fits within the overall context of your landscape. Explore various options for Business Objects Explorer installations, from single-server deployments with Business Objects Edge series to larger, multi-server deployments. Examine criteria to evaluate and determine data sources. Understand when it makes sense to leverage existing universes for your Business Objects Explorer environment, and when it makes sense to invest in SAP NetWeaver BW Accelerator or SAP HANA. Get advice for managing key security considerations, including tips to set custom access levels in Business Objects Explorer specific to power users and casual business users. Walk through a detailed demo of how to create, secure, and personalize Business Objects Explorer Information Spaces. Get best practices for deploying Business Objects Explorer onto mobile devices.

A comprehensive introduction to the Business Objects BI security model

This presentation offers an introductory look at the Business Objects BI security model, along with guidelines and technical best practices for ensuring your SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise or Business Objects Edge Series landscape is secure. Get an overview of the key components of a Business Objects security model, including functional security, data security, and infrastructure security, and understand which should be implemented first. Explore options for defining custom access levels to simplify user and application security, including tips for assigning multiple access levels to a single user. Prevent unexpected access rights for groups and users with tips to establish varying levels of inheritance. Learn how to leverage the scope of rights component to assign specific access rights to sub-folders. Understand how to use Central Management Console (CMC) features like Permissions Explorer and Security Query to identify and troubleshoot potential threats to your security model.

Guidelines to secure and personalize your BusinessObjects universes

Learn how to leverage the new information design tool in SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0 to secure and personalize universes using security profiles to address the security needs of distinct user groups within your organization. First, review key differences between the new information design tool and the previous BusinessObjects universe design tool — including the separation of data layer and business layer and support for multiple data sources in a single universe — and gain insight into how these differences impact universe security. Understand how to restrict access to sensitive KPIs in the universe. Walk through live demos to understand how each restriction type configured on the back-end impacts user interactivity on the front end with tools like SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence, SAP Crystal Reports, and SAP Dashboards.

E-learning, help desk, and more: Picking the right training and user adoption approach for your user base

This session explores various user training and adoption methodologies for report end-users and provides criteria for selecting the best approach for your business and user needs. Step through examples that weigh the pros and cons of user training methodologies, ranging from traditional classroom learning and e-learning, to one-on-one mentoring. Get tips for analyzing and revamping the relationship between your organization’s user base and help desk to ensure users are getting the right information at the right time. Explore the benefits of creating an internal user group program to increase user self-sufficiency and address common help desk calls. Get tips for leveraging power users as addendums to local and national user group meetings. Understand the importance of routine user training — such as weekly or monthly — rather than just a one-time post-implementation initiative. Evaluate criteria to choose the most appropriate user training method based on your organization’s training budget and geographical make-up. Take home a sample agenda for a user group meeting to reference back in the office.

How to Write Great Abstracts for SAP BusinessObjects User Conferences

Tips on how to write a great abstracts that get accepted.

As a frequent speaker at ASUG and SAP Insider conferences, I’m often asked for tips on how to write a great abstracts that get accepted. Obviously, your number one objective is to convince the selection committee that you have a great presentation. Ideally, you’ll already have a presentation in your back pocket that you’ve developed for customers or your local user group. However, that isn’t necessary – all you need at this stage is a clever title and abstract. The abstract is typically around 100 words, which requires focus. Don’t bother counting words until you’ve written an abstract that you’re satisfied with – then figure out later how to edit it down to the conference host’s word limit.

Your number two objective is two-fold – you’ll want conference attendees to be enticed enough to register for your breakout session. But- and this is important- you also want to be clear about what you are talking about so your attendees aren’t disappointed. I’m always nervous about the first 10 minutes of my breakout because that’s when many folks decide to bolt out of the room and head to their “plan B” session. For example, my 2008 presentation was entitled “CMC Essentials”. And although my session description was fairly clear, I could tell from my feedback that “CMC Security Essentials” would have been a better name. I dealt mainly with security topics, not a general overview of the Central Management Console.

Here’s a third objective – be specific, if not downright narrow. I’m sure that the committee will receive many presentations called “Crystal Reports Tips and Tricks”, “Web Intelligence Tips and Tricks”, or “Xcelsius Tips and Tricks”. These abstracts are difficult for the selection committee to evaluate and may jeopardize your selection because yours doesn’t stand out from the crowd. During your breakout, you only have about 40 minutes to talk and 5 or 10 for questions. It’s not really as much time as you think. Which is a gift. Pick something specific and cover it thoroughly.


Here’s my own story about becoming a conference speaker. After attending my first conference, Insight 2005 in Orlando, Florida, I was totally blown away by all of the great speakers from organizations from Integra Solutions (now integrated into Quorum Business Solutions) so I decided to submit a single abstract for Insight 2006. I was surprised as anyone when I received notice that I was selected to go to San Francisco, California. But I picked something that I thought was fairly unique and that the selection committee would either love or hate. After being selected, the conference organizers revised my title into something catchy and made some minor edits to the abstract. This was the final result:

Getting Personal with Publications and Profiles
If you’re considering effective ways to process and distribute personalized reports to a large audience, this session is for you. Learn how to use BusinessObjects XI Release 2 publications to minimize database resources through single-pass report bursting, and how to personalize reports according to individual user or group profiles. See live examples of both methods of traversing profiles (Tree Walk and Walk-and-Merge), and investigate several Desktop Intelligence features that will take your personalized report distribution to the next level.

And here’s another example, my abstract for Insight 2007 in Orlando, Florida:

Secure Universes Using Restriction Sets
Do you need to tailor universe security to specific users or groups within your organization? Attend this session to learn about restriction sets and how they can apply security to selected groups or user accounts for the universe. Hear how applied restrictions can control objects, rows, query types, and connections. See live demonstrations on how to use each type of restriction and the effect they have on user Web Intelligence documents.

For those of you who are IT professionals, notice that both of these are a bit “sales-y”, not just a dull technological rant. Try to make your topic as sexy as possible. But not too sexy. Yeah, I know – universe restriction sets aren’t exactly sexy. But they are useful and my presentation was able to help lots of people with real project requirements.

One last thought – I have been a consultant for most of my professional career. Consultants probably have some extra incentive to practice becoming good speakers. But non-consulting IT professionals shouldn’t feel slighted. Despite how jacked up you may think your employer is, there are always things that your team does well that other organizations struggle with. If you don’t believe me, hang out at your local user group – you really do have something to contribute. Feel free to bring your practical experiences as well as your business domain (CPG, manufacturing, retail, etc.) in to your presentation.

What do you have to lose by writing an abstract? Nothing! What do you have to gain? Some valuable experience and a free conference pass. Good luck!

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