BI in Brussels (Against Economic Turmoil)

I’m just returning from Brussels (actually, the new SAP Lounge venue at Vilvoorde), where I was invited to give the keynote presentation at a “Reporting and Business Intelligence Session” for SAP customers, on the theme of “How to use Business Intelligence to Counter Economic Turmoil.”

(Side note: This post was composed and uploaded over the free wifi while traveling at around 190 miles an hour – I’m proud to be European!)

Apart from my presentation, Kenneth Stevens did the introduction, Jean-Francois Dierckx gave a great demonstration of Polestar, WebIntelligence, and Mobile BI, and Frank Croket and Vinh Vu Hong of Accenture gave a presentation of their work using SAP BusinessObjects on SAP Business Warehouse at Eurovia, a French €7.7bn transport infrastructure construction company. Later in the afternoon, there were breakout sessions on the SAP BusinessObjects Products, for customers with or without existing SAP Netweaver BI installations.

I also had two great conversations with Alain de Fooz, Chief Editor at Solutions IT Magazine ( and and Jan-Frans Lemmens of and Some of the topics we covered included:

BI 2.0

Trends in BI

  • More companies taking a strategic, global approach to BI, now that it is provided by their “strategic vendors”
  • BI embedded into processes, using context and other available information to automatically suggest suitable analysis
  • Back to DSS (decision-support systems): providing more support for the decision-making process, not “just” gathering and displaying information

BI and Marketing

  • Embedded BI in SAP’s CRM application
  • Using BI to help credibility and relationship with sales and other organizations
  • Using information to provide add-on services to existing products (extranets)
  • Using profitability and cost management to segment customers
  • BI to analyze and improve social media marketing efforts