THINK 2018 Must-Attend Sessions

Like all years, there are always so many sessions that I want to see. But let’s go through my agenda, day by day.


I’m landing Sunday, and heading straight to the conference, and hopefully I’ll make it to the IBM Cognos Analytics Jam Session. I’m not 100% certain what a “jam session” is, but it sounds sweet. You should be super jelly if you can’t attend.


08:30 – IBM Cognos Analytics 11: Discover What’s New.
There are instances of this session, but I feel I might as well get it over with at the beginning.
10:30 – What’s New and What’s Next for Business Analytics.
The speakers will go over the recent and planned enhancements for Watson and Cognos. They better not change the name to IBM Analytics Cloud Watson; that would make me IBMAnalyticsCloudWatsonPaul and that’s a mouthful.
12:30 – Interactive Reporting for Business Users
With the focus on self-service reporting, I may soon find myself obsolete. But, if I can help train the end users to better build their own dashboards, I could retire early.
13:30 – Being GDPR-Ready with Cognos Analytics
General Data Protection Regulation is coming into affect in May 25 in the EU. I view this as applied data security, which is always interesting.
13:30 – Proven Architecture Styles with Analytics with Real-World Demos
Double-booking for me! This is hard, both the 13:30 sessions are single time only, and they’re both very interesting. This session goes into several real-life example analytics patterns. Learning how to avoid the pitfalls other people have encountered is incredibly important.
14:30 – How to Get the Most from Embedding Analytics in Your Applications
I’ve had projects where we’ve embedded Cognos into existing applications. The description downplays the technical aspects, which I’m especially interested in, but it looks like it will show some practical examples.
15:30 – Certifications!
One of my goals here is to get some more certifications. I’ve been crunching the SPSS manuals, and I _WILL_ get at least one cert with it.

11:30 – Upgrading to IBM Cognos Analytics.
I’m working on an upgrade project right now, and I’m hoping to get some insights to make the process a little smoother.
11:30 – FleetPride and Cresco International Change the Supply Chain Game with IBM’s Cycle of Analytics
My good friend Sanjeev is going to be giving a talk on the work he did with FleetPride!
13:30 – Ready for Business: Building a Spectrum of Capabilities for Analytics at a Milwaukee Manufacturer
That’s a mouthful of a session title. This appears to be a very quick session, lasting only 20 minutes. But I know what they manufacture and I’m interested to see what they’ve done. Also, a little bit of self-promoting never hurt anyone, if they use Cognos, I live not far away!
14:30 – All Aboard! Experience Onboarding to Cognos Analytics on Cloud
The cloud is the future. Let’s be honest, maintaining your own servers is a pain in the neck, and in the wallet. I’m going to learn how to ease the pain of cloudifying (enclouderating?) Cognos environments.
15:30 – User Experience: Future Design for IBM Business Analytics—Moving from Optional to Essential
This sounds intriguing, “Soon, the way you interact with IBM Business Analytics will be tailored to your cognitive profile”. Exactly what does this entail? Will the front screen of Cognos be a dynamically generated dashboard that matches my most commonly viewed objects? I’m honestly very curious about this.
19:30 – Barenaked Ladies!
’nuff said.

09:30 – Front Row Seat to the Future: Ticketmaster’s Journey to Cognos Analytics on Cloud
Real examples of cloudifying Cognos. There are a lot of pros to doing this, and plenty of possible pitfalls. I’m looking forward to seeing how they did it.
10:30 – Roadmap Alert! See What IBM Business Analytics Has in Store for You
The description has, “augmented intelligence for personalized analytics” and “with features such as conversational analytics and chatbots” and “infuse traditional analytics with capabilities like machine learning”. How will this actually work with Cognos? I’m very excited to see this session.
11:30 – Meet the Designers Behind IBM Business Analytics
Very important. The people behind the latest UI changes to Business Analytics. I’m planning on talking, calmly and rationally, about the removal of the toolbars in CA.
11:30 – Communicating Effectively with Reporting, Dashboarding and Storytelling: Now and the Future
Another double-booking! Very painful, because I really want to see this too. They’ll be talking about how they plan on making dashboad contents easier, and visualizations more effective. Someone send me notes from this session!
12:30 – Contextual Analytics Using SPSS Text Analytics and Cognos 11 Visualizations in the Airline Industry
This is fascinating. I’m currently studying SPSS, so I’m looking forward to seeing real examples of taking SPSS and converting the data into dashboards.
15:30 – How to Flat Pack the Cognos Analytics Migration—The IKEA Way!
The description doesn’t say what IKEA was migrating _from_. An earlier Cognos build? A different platform altogether? I’m curious about the thought processes that went into the decision. There are so many cases where companies migrate to a new tool, but want everything to remain exactly the same.
16:30 – Gamifying Success: How GameStop Shifted from BI Producers to Analytics Enablers
Giving end users access to self-service tools is never an easy process. There’s always a learning curve, resistance, and many false steps. It sounds like they have a successful self-service environment, and I’m looking forward to hearing how they implemented it.

08:30 – Upgrading to Cognos Analytics: Secrets from Nordic Customer Deployments
Another upgrade session. This looks like it’s more technically focused than the others. They go into how they handles depricated features, like portal pages.
09:00 – Ready for IBM Analytics: What’s in It for Me? What’s in It for My Clients
I might miss this one, but I’d prefer not to. Gartner has shown that Cognos has taken a massive approval hit with the latest version, and this might show some answers.
11:30 – Increasing ROI in Pharmaceuticals with an IBM Cognos Analytics Upgrade
One of my previous clients was a pharmaceuticals company, so I’m always curious about how other companies structure their reports. Also, the session goes into the complexities of upgrading to CA with CQM-DQM and JavaScript migration. Both issues I’ve dealt a great deal with recently.
12:30 – Building a Self-Service Environment Command Center in IBM Cognos Analytics
A client of PMsquare! I haven’t had the opportunity to work at Baxter, but several of my colleagues have. From what I understand they built a supercharged auditing environment to track usage. It sounds awesome!

Did I miss anything important? You’ve got about 24 hours to let me know!