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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

TDWI Fall Conference - 2009

At first I wondered why anyone would schedule a conference to start on a Sunday at 8:30 am, but as I started my travels I quickly discovered that this was a blessing in disguise. The flight on Southwest Airlines was not only dirt cheap (less than $200 roundtrip) and non-stop, the two things that make a flight a good flight in my opinion, but it was on time and had many, many open seats. These are the things that make a good flight a great flight. This is when I started to hope that the people planning the TDWI Conference might know what they are doing. This hope was realized when I pre-registered and found everything, like my name spelled correctly, classes in the correct order, and books waiting for me. Classes started, ended, broke for breaks, and re-started on time, and there was even a back-up instructor ready when there was an emergency with the planned instructor.

The content of the two courses I have attended so far, "TDWI Data Warehousing Concepts and Principles: An Introduction to the Field of Data Wrehousing" (Day 1) and "TDWI Business Intelligence Fundamentals: From Datawarehousing to Business Impact," (Day 2) was packed full into the time alloted for the courses, 6.5 hours each. The information delivered was relevant to the subject area, and the only criticism I have is that the information from one course to the other overlapped quite heavily. And I'll admit as the class in Day 2 started, I asked myself, "Did I need to attend Day 1?"

While they two courses were very similar, Day 1 covered the process of developing a data warehouse/BI program (architecture, implementation, operation, etc) and Day 2 covered the infrastructure of BI (program management, change management, data governance, etc). And how do you cover these without at least touching some of the same subjects such as, business requirements, impact, data warehousing architecture? Day 2 also, expanded on Day 1 in some areas, for example while it was said in Day 1 BI should provide a measureable value (ROI), Day 2 provided different examples of what that value could be and that it is not always easily measured (e.g. more reliable information). Operational Data Stores were introduced to me in both Days, and while I understand the difference and use of them, I admit that there is still something puzzling about them or at least with the architectural structures they show them in.

All-in-all, TDWI did a great job of making sure things ran smoothly. I have only two gripes about the conference. First, the internet access was not free outside of the lobby area, and the lobby area was only free for the first three hours per day ($14.95 per day after that). Now, internet was not free in the hotel I booked either, but the free lobby did not havea time restriction on it. Second, parking was not free. Come on, for the price we have to pay for these courses, I think they could convince the hotel to let us park for free. That being said, this training has been very valuable to me. I have learned more about data warehouses, data architecture, the impact of BI on business, and dare I say, I am looking forward to my next course "TDWI Dimensional Data Modeling Primer: From Requirements to Business Analytics."