This morning's first keynote had content about Katmai, the next release of SQL Server. (there was other stuff before that, about the BI platform and pervasiveness and yadda yadda.)
SQL 2005 SP2 includes stuff for Excel for data mining. This tool takes an ordinary spreadsheet and applies a data mining algorithm to it, such as categorization. It submits the data to SSAS, builds a mining model, trains it with the data, and adds the results of the mining as a new column in the spreadsheet. All without the user needing to know anything about mining, other than what kind of scenario they want.
I remember seeing this in yesterday's keynote, where a tall, blonde, smart woman (she may have been from Canada, I saw her at the MS Canada thing at Fox Sports Bar last night) demoed a scenario. She took a table in Excel which was a list of prospects and their demographics. Someone who generated the list had started ranking the prospects, but we didn't know how he decided their ranking. he had maybe 10% of the rows ranked. She took those rows as an example, submitted it for data mining, then it determined the rest of the rankings for the other rows, based on the example rankings. Very cool.
This morning's demo showed another bunch of marketing prospects and their demographics. He submitted them for mining, asking it to categorize them into three groups. Group 1's demographics suggested that they were good prospects for SUV's (#children, age, income). Group 2's demos was more "poor student" starter vehicle types, and the third group was good for selling bicycles to.
The coolest thing I thot was that this used the data mining engine in SSAS without needing a cube or anything, it left the spreadsheet as a plain spreadsheet, and the user didn't need to understand all the data mining stuff to do it.
Katmai will be shipped in 2008. He didn't say WHEN.
Some new datatypes natively supported - filestream, spatial coordinates, new date/times. It will include an Entity Data platform in .NET managed types, and LINQ of course. It'll support the occassionally-connected database (like mobile databases) and handle the synch stuff better.
Microsoft bought OfficeWriter from Artisan, which is a set of tools that lets users author reports in Excel or Word, using the features of Word/Excel, and then publish the report to Reporting Services. Very nice. It was a "whyt didn't I think of that!" moment. Seemed simple enough to do.
The spatial datatypes will be supported in the query optimizer and the indexes, so you can do geographical queries very quickly.
Dr. Robert Kaplan, Harvard Business School, creator of the Balanced Score Card methodologies.
Balanced score cards help business determine/measure their performance on more than just financial metrics. It helps to measure the more intangible assets, like quality, customer relationships, employee skills.
There is a BSC for non-profit organizations too, which adds the mission perspective (how do we have an impact?)and support perspective (how do we attract resources and support for our mission?).
Most organizations do not know how to execute a strategy.
1. Mobilize change through executive leadership.
2. Translate strategy to operational terms.
3. Align the organization to the strategy.
4. Motivate to make the strategy everyone's job.
5. Govern to make strategy a central process.
Mission - why we exist
Values - what is important to us
Vision - what we want to be
Strategy - our game plan.
Usually there is a gap from the Strategy to operations. We need to link the strategy to the operations (and it is a two-way street). the balanced scorecard and the strategy map are ways to bridge the gap.
Not all loyal customers are profitable. With time-driven, activity-based costing, you determine the actual cost of your customers. 20% of most-profitable customers generate 180% of the profit, and 20% least-profitable customers lost 80% of the profit.
Strategy map has perspectives: Financial, Customer, Process, Learning.
Motivate so strategy is everyone's job.
CEO walkthrough with strategy map - asks a random employee, what is this? (should identify the strategy map - if not, it indicates a problem with that employee's *supervisor*). Can you explain it to me? Sorry I interrupted your work. How does what you were just doing link to the strategy map?
Communicate the strategy seven times, in seven ways. Brand the strategy!