Examining the ongoing challenges of delivering high-quality, value-added ERP services in Higher Education.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

OOW Day 4 Recap

Hectic Wednesday (the day exhaustion begins to set in) at Oracle Open World today. It turned out to be the strongest slate of the week:
  • How—and Where—Oracle Is Investing in Education and Research 
  • Supplier Collaboration with Oracle Payables 12.1
  • Personalize and Extend Oracle E-Business Suite Applications with Rich Mashups 
  • Oracle Sourcing and Oracle Procurement Contracts: Strategy, Update, and Roadmap 
  • Oracle Business Intelligence 11g Data Visualization Best Practices
The most compelling story of the day -- and the conference -- for me came from the San Diego Unified School District, an analytics success story that has been buzzing around on Twitter but I was glad to hear it first-hand. The abbreviated version is that they realized that because their revenue was tied to average daily attendance, even a minuscule increase would translate into real money: 0.01 increase = $70,000. Using Oracle Business Intelligence (and eventually powered by the Exalytics BI Machine) they deployed an analytic solution that provided real-time analysis on attendance by school, drill down to grade, individual classroom, and student, with drill-through to the detailed attendance record (with explanations) for that student.

I also really enjoyed the data visualization session. We have had some internal discussions at my office regarding data visualization, notably the work of Edward Tufte and Stephen Few, including the focus on dense visualization and the problem with pie charts. This session covered a lot of the same terrain, but using OBIEE's actual visualizations to talk about best practices. Many images from the latest OBIEE BP2 Sample Application were used, albeit modified by the presenter to better align with best practices for layout, color scheme, etc. I took some good stuff from this session:
  • Support for something I heard way back early in my consulting career -- avoid stoplights in case your audience is color blind!
  • ColorBrewer.org -- online Java applet to help you pick good color schemes based on the number of data ranges (designed for maps, but could be applied elsewhere)
  • Trellis charts can be awesome, but if each chart has its own scale... and users don't realize that and try to draw lines across... they might find themselves misunderstanding the story behind the data.
  • The consulting firm (Vlamis Software Solutions) giving the presentation has a slick service to provide an individual "lab" of OBIEE -- provisioned in minutes and expiring after five hours...
  • The OOW deck is not yet available for download, but here is a very similar presentation from earlier this year.
Sadly, since I was faced with a 6am conference call on Thursday morning, I cannot comment on the big Pearl Jam, Kings of Leon, and X concert over at Treasure Island; according to Twitter they put on quite a show!

Now off to hear Mark Hurd talking Business Analytics before a surprisingly heavy schedule. Red-eye tonight!


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