The conference is going strong, but there are still a few problematic areas.
The keynote from the chairman was interesting, but it can boil down to a few salient details. IBM is investing heavily in AI, but not to replace humans, but to work with humans. No matter how smart we make the systems, it will always lack the critical biases necessary to actually make it truly useful. The second thing is blockchain, but that’s a little outside of my area of interest. The full video can be found here. You don’t really need to watch it, listen to it while you work. Guests from Verizon, RBC, and Maersk have things to say.
The first session I tried to attend was the “Upgrading to Cognos Analytics”. I’m currently in the last phase of an upgrade project, C10 SSAS on CQM to C11 SSAS on DQM, and it’s been very challenging. I was hoping to pick the experts brains. Unfortunately the session actually took place in the Expo, and they weren’t provided with a sound system. The end result was shambles, the people in the back (including me) couldn’t hear anything, and the people in the front were complaining the presenter was yelling. Ultimately I switched to attending the Cresco/FleetPride session. It was fairly interesting, and they have their own case study on the IBM website.
Next I made it to the Harley-Davidson session. I like near their headquarters and decided to attend to support the local economy. The session, again no microphone, was hard to hear. The focus was mostly on showing process of an internal IT team acting as a consulting group. They showed how by managing the workflow, and expectations, they would improve the deliverable. It was a little less technical than I would have liked, but interesting none-the-less.
Finally I attended a “Experience onboarding to Cognos Analytics on Cloud”. This was pretty much the only quasi-technical hands-on lab for Cognos, and possibly the most informative session I’ve had all week. It basically guided you through gathering the information you need to get Cognos working on the cloud. It also walked you through the basic architecture of how a cloud-based Cognos system works, and how it connects to the local databases. Long story short – get the VPN and database connection details ASAP. Network guys are apparently all overworked, underpaid, and under appreciated, and it the biggest blocker is making sure they have time to get you the information you need.
I spoke to a few interesting people in the Expo today.
The Weather Company (now an IBM Company), has a pretty interesting data set. Wind currents, temperatures, precipitation. Exposed as API or in an App. Subscription based data. You could, in theory, set up a web service datasource f.rom Cognos. Practically I think it would be easier to just pull the data you need as part of an ETL build. I can think of a dozen use cases for this. Shipping, manufacturing, farming. The granularity is a 4KM grid over land, but they can model the data to work with streets, and with predictive forecasting.
And finally, a big shout out to Arul from American Airlines and Kandha from Bloomfield. Bloomfield made an awesome application at American Airlines. A mobile device, for Android and iPhones that connects to your Cognos instance. It can monitor server state, and lets you remotely restart (and schedule restarts) for your Cognos environment. You can have it test the latency for logging in, and various system state settings. When you do have it restart a distributed environment, it’s smart enough to do it in order.Cosmo_Screenshot_Samples.pdf (298 downloads)
And lastly (you didn’t think “and finally” meant the last thing, did you?) on Wednesday I’ll be hanging out with the IBM Champions at around 11:30. We’ll be talking about Cognos. So if you’re at Think, make sure to stop by. I’m not a champion yet, but I will be very glad to participate in any discussions!