The Microsoft Business Intelligence Conference 2007 has been a good conference. Not very good, probably as a result of its success.
Microsoft wanted to send the message "we are serious in the BI market" with this event. From my perception, half of attendees were "technical" and the other half were "manager" (or something else not so technical). If the goal was to reach only this second half, it has been partially achieved. Or fully - in fact the conference had more attendees than expected.
I think with a few corrections, the next conference could be better:
- More technical sessions: no level 400 in this conference, even if chalk talks partially replaced this lack of high level content.
- More comfortable rooms for chalk talks.
- More design sessions: not only from an implementation point of view, but also from a business-case perspective.
- More communities involved (there was very few in the exhibitor area) - not SQL but BI oriented (BI includes a lot of products, these virtual communities today are scattered across many different products-oriented communities
- Put a books shop: any conference has one!
There is also something that was very good and I wouldn't change:
- Exhibitors hours: having an exhibitors pavillon opening time not overlapped with breakout sessions is very good. This is not always true for TechEd / PDC and I liked it (even because I was in the exhibitor area, yes...).
Something in the middle:
- Keynotes of Michael Treacy and Robert Kaplan was very good. However, not every attendee was really interested (I think the more technical people - it was a rumor I heard). May be that some overlapping activity (like hands on lab) could be useful, but a study of the feedback forms could give better indications.
- Some more info about future directions: I understand that in this conference Microsoft was more interested in products that will be released within 2007, but considering that in less than a month at TechEd some more info will be released, I think that giving more detailed announcements for BI-related features of Katmai would have been good. But I agree this could confuse a novice...
Other general comments by Chris Webb and Patrice Truong.