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This past week was BI+Analytics in Nashville. This is the first year it was produced by Eventful Conferences, but the 10th year of the conference overall, starting in 2008 in Dallas. This year the conference was in Nashville.

Monday started with a Track Chair Briefing.  We were given the speaker biographies, and instructed to encourage attendees to evaluate sessions.  Over 500 attendees were at the conference.


Kyle Tate, Eventful conference producer, kicked off the conference saying there was 52.5 hours of content and reviewed the “pillars of content”:

Photo by Eventful

Chris Foster, director of NHL digital business development, was the first keynote speaker.  He said “welcome to Smashville” – I didn’t know Smashville was for Nashville Predators, who were in the Stanley Cup finals this year.  Chris reviewed their SAP NHL case study, covering fan engagement, real time analytics, and social media.  Chris said there are “5 million data points per game that the NHL tracks”.


During the conference, Eventful asked that we share what we hoped to get out of the conference.  One said “Looking for an understanding of the SAP BI roadmap.”  Another said “Data Governance and BI Strategy best practices”

Left: Bryan Massie, Adam Mohr, Lockheed Martin

The first session I moderated was Lockheed Martin’s Predictive Analytics story.  They discussed self-service tools and return on investment.  I got to chat with Bryan and Adam before their presentation and learned that Bryan attended University of Texas and Adam is a Cornhusker from the University of Nebraska.

Next I introduced SAP Mentor Ingo Hilgefort, “Expert recommendations for picking the right BI tool”.    The bio I was given was a page-long – I didn’t read it.  Some important quotes from this session “"Your role is to LISTEN to the requirements - do not make suggestions" and “Start with trying to solve business problems, not the data structure” and “SAP's Strategy, audience, technical feasibility, roll out important to use the right tool”

On the show floor, Ina Felsheim, SAP, was running a Hybrid Analytics feedback forum.


Photo by Eventful

Day 2 started with Kyle Tate and ASUG CEO Geoff Scott holding a brief question and answer.


Then SAP’s Mike Flannagan gave the first keynote of the day.  Mike said “The problem isn't about having enough, it's about having too much data”.  He also said “We used to talk about the big data problem but it's the little data that's really the problem” and “Only 5% have mastered digital” and another “62% of decisions are made in real-time, but how do you get data into these decision makers hands?” and “Leaders don't just think about the technology - they think about cultural aspects of Digital Transformation”.  Another statement was “The applications are going to adopt to us rather than the other way around”

Photo by Eventful

Next on the keynote stage was the Royal Canadian Navy

Commander Tim Gibel, pictured above, has 20 years of service Royal Canadian Navy

“Defense is a complex business, by the numbers Royal Canadian Navy”

Royal Canadian Navy is around the World, with “cylinders of excellence” and is a “ close partner of US Navy”

As an accountant, I very much liked their message of not doing “SALLY” aka same as last year and moving to plan, execute, measure, control, and trust.

Source: Royal Canadian Navy

Next session, I was honored to introduce Commander Gibel and Lt. Commander Sargent of the Royal Canadian Navy

Source: Royal Canadian Navy

Cmdr. Gibel said “everyone wants analytics”.  He discussed the need for analytics, sharing their lessons learned.

Source: Royal Canadian Navy

Royal Canadian Navy deploys "SAP at sea" and faces bandwidth dependencies

Source: Royal Canadian Navy

End state - governed agile self-service analytics at Royal Canadian Navy

Source: Royal Canadian Navy

Phase I transformation at Royal Canadian Navy; the speakers said phase I was “communicate, communicate, communicate”.

Source: Royal Canadian Navy

Phase II at RCN is business process integration

Source: Royal Canadian Navy

Phase 3 at the RCN is to stabilize process sets and connect analytics

The next session I introduced SAP Australia’s Pierre Cassano on BI Strategy.  Pierre suggested using design thinking

Next, L3 Technologies Jason Shearer gave an impressive presentation, where he had a “cartoon” of himself on video

He covered how is company is using Lumira and SAP Analytics cloud.  He said Digital Boardroom is “Apple easy”.  Regarding SAP Lumira, Jason said “the ability to prototype in real time with the business is a whole new ballgame”

At the end of the day I attended another feedback forum on Analytics Hub.

Source: Jessica Buchanan

Left: Matt Epenshade, FBI Agent, Jessica, and Matt’s daughter in Nashville

The keynote at the end of the day was Jessica Buchanan, who was held hostage for 93 days back in 2011 by Somali rebels and rescued by US Navy Seal Team Six.  It was an emotional keynote, and one that will stay with me a long time.  She covered how she held on to hope in times of despair.  When she was rescued, she said “One of the guys comes over to me and he gets down on his knees and he gives me a folded American flag. And he looks me right in the eye and he just says very simply, ‘Welcome home, Jessica.’”

She ended the keynote by saying “God Bless America” and to a standing ovation.  In the audience was the FBI agent assigned to her case and his daughter.  She said “if not for Matt Espenshade, I would not be here.”


Jessica wrote a book Impossible Odds: The Kidnapping of Jessica Buchanan and Her Dramatic Rescue by SEAL Team Six  and of course I just purchased it and I highly recommend it.

I tweeted to Jessica about her keynote and she replied back:


The final day was a great keynote by Jorgen Rasmussen.  I hope to share more about what he did in a future blog.  It was excellent.

Here's the social media activity on twitter for 7 days:


Some pictures:


Joyce Butler, ASUG Volunteer, was very active on twitter.  Above she is pictured with fellow ASUG volunteer Dell Stinnett-Christy. (photo by Joyce)

Next year the conference will be in February in Huntington Beach, as shown in the picture above with ASUG volunteers Derek Loranca and Jennifer Cofer.  (photo by Derek)

An animoto of my pictures is here.


Until next time...

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