As with most of us, ‘B’efore I’ was a BI evangelist, BI consumer, BI purveyor of all things Business Intelligence, I had a typical – or maybe not so typical – start in the IT industry, one that goes back 26 years.
I started my journey working as a procurement agent for a computer manufacturing company that specialized in “Tempest” systems for the DOD and NATO. From there I wound up as an application developer and DBA for a defense contractor, then a systems analyst for an insurance company, an SQA manger for a consulting company…..whew, I need to take a breath. Then if that wasn’t enough I got to spend a lot of time in England working for a company marketing technical remediations for the “turn of the century scare”.
I had yet to venture into the world of BI – at least not in the way that I see it now – but we are getting close to my indoctrination. After working as a development manager for a major communications company I eventually ended up at Hughes Network Systems (HNS). It was here that I dipped my toe into the proverbial wellspring of the BI datastream and became a full-fledged component in the global BI ecosystem.
I was hired to establish and then manage a corporate enterprise business intelligence group, a new an utterly foreign concept to the organization. I was not hired because I knew what BI was or had years of experience in BI; after all, to me it was a buzzword, much like “paradigm shift”, or “game changer”. You see, the truth of it all is that my long meandering career path had one thing in common, one thing that virtually connects all of us in this industry together – I was working with data, all sorts of data. I was building applications and systems that allowed users to view, analyze, disseminate information and make strategic (and sometimes not so strategic) business decisions – do you remember the term Decision Support Systems? I was at the core of BI and didn’t really even get it, sort of the forest for the trees kind of thing. So here we are my first established BI role; Manager, Business Intelligence Applications at HNS. I was now empowered to establish a group that could maximize the use of data in a way that the organization had not experienced before. SAP ERP 4.6 was just being implemented, there were a number of existing Data Marts, Essbase Cubes, a custom billing database and PeopleSoft CRM system – a bounty of data that was just waiting to be mashed-up, blended and analyzed and I was tasked with finding a solution that could seamlessly work with all of these systems – a tool suite that was to become the backbone of HNS’s Enterprise BI solution. I spent ten years at Hughes nurturing the BI space, educating users on the system and tools (which just happens to be what is now called the SAP BusinessObjects BI Platform). The analysts at Hughes were now able to perform such analyses as evaluating the performance of their cost centers, ranking and analyzing what were the most common issues reported to a call center; performing predictive analysis of failed components on returned equipment and equipment out in the field to pre-emptively replace equipment that had the potential for early failure; they were able to do data-mash-ups between their Peoplesoft CRM and SAP Sales and Delivery applications; provide formatted and custom usage and failure reports to their customers; proactively monitor product builds and procurement buys to ensure that component deliveries were able to be expedited or delayed based on changes on the manufacturing line saving the company form additional inventory costs.
I have since moved on from Hughes, but not from BI. Over the last 16 years I have been active in the BI ecospace – I have presented at SAPPHIRE and BusinessObjects User conferences, am actively involved in the BI community, had the opportunity to sit as a Steering Committee member on the Global BusinessObjects Network (GBN), became an SAP BusinessObjects Ambassador and ASUG volunteer, and had the opportunity to become an SAP Mentor for SAP BusinessObjects. All in all, my BI story has been a great and continually evolving journey. I have worked with, networked, and befriended some of the most influential and incredible people in the industry. I have had opportunities to share my ideas and my experiences, to inspire others to push farther that I have gone, and have been be pushed by my peers to go farther myself. This is my story; “I” am an integral component of the BI ecosystem.