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MicroStrategy World 2017, Washington DC

- Jorge I. Jimenez

MicroStrategy World 2017 has come and gone almost like a blur. As new projects get under way, we talk to customers, prospects and employee candidates; it’s worth taking a few moments to share the experience by attending this event, which many of us in the BI industry look forward to every year.

I joined InfoCepts in March of this year; I want to say I have been very impressed by the talent and the energy I have found in all of those I have met so far. Many things are remarkable about the company, and it’s evident in our interactions with others in the Business Intelligence industry. One remarkable fact is that we have the largest number of MicroStrategy certified consultants in the industry, with over 450 certified associates!

This became quite clear to me during MicroStrategy World 2017, the 20th in the series; as I heard some comments in the hallways along the lines of:

- "Everybody is saying that InfoCepts is the right partner to implement MicroStrategy projects"
- "InfoCepts always delivers highly polished presentations"
- "The guy who presented Big Data really knew his stuff, can I have a copy of the Whitepaper?"

So, as you can see, I am quite honored and enthused to have joined this team and will do my best to uphold this reputation!

Let me first say that this is an annual event, and MicroStrategy World 2017 will bring thousands of product experts, thought leaders and MicroStrategy users together for three days of technology-focused discussion, with over 200 sessions and 80 customer speakers. During these action packed days, MicroStrategy experts and technology partners explore the latest topics in data analytics and BI in a number of technical sessions, covering a wide range of topics around technology, process and services.

This year, the MicroStrategy World event itself began much like other conferences. Residing in Washington DC, I extended help to our marketing team in getting our booth ready, setting up our screens, demos, brochures, badge scanners and everything else needed to dazzle our visitors and gather those valuable leads.

After the initial Keynote address, the attendees had to make some hard choices between the different tracks. This year was one of the largest MSTR World events, both in the number of attendees and the number of tracks being offered. It really was a conscious decision to attend a set of lectures on a topic of interest.

Notable mentions were the tracks dedicated to Big Data, Advanced Analytics, Self-Service BI, Enterprise Ready deployments and Internet of Things (IoT) applications; as well as many workshops. There is now a tremendous amount of information on the sessions page of the event web page and presentations are becoming available for download. InfoCepts joined Vertex and PPL in sessions where these customers talked about their applications and the benefit they derive from them. They were happy to share their experience and talk about how the product technology, together with the right implementation team have made the right combination to deliver on their analytics initiatives. Before I forget to mention, InfoCepts’ hands-on workshops on Advanced Analytics and Big Data were very popular, well attended and received great feedback from the participants.

This is a good time to talk about some of the big and prominent features that MicroStrategy has communicated as key to the success of their platform in the near to mid future. There are enhancements on accessing big data sources, like Hadoop, that take advantage of new approaches and technology to reduce overhead, such as using Spark and reduce the overhead as compared to previous approaches based on Hive; thus, improving performance significantly. A very popular way to take advantage of the faster data retrieval capabilities is to use the Prime technology in the MicroStrategy engine; and load partitioned intelligent cubes in memory to handle millions of records responding to queries in sub-second response times. Another major area of enhancement for MicroStrategy is in the presentation layer, that expands the visualization capabilities into a dossier format. This format leverages the newspaper paradigm, where within a single document, you can have all of the data organized to analyze the relevant aspects of your business. One could be talking about a book of business for each member of the sales team or the complete business objectives view of the company for the CXO review meeting. The list of recent and upcoming enhancements is long, and you can get the full details on the MicroStrategy what’s new pages.

One very welcome realization is that InfoCepts enjoyed a very prominent space at the event, which helped promote a lot of traffic on the exhibitor floor to our booth. We received many visitors that wanted to know more about InfoCepts and the services that we offer. I enjoyed relating to them about our on-shore/offshore model; which is one of our biggest competitive advantages and differentiators. One of the greatest benefits of this model that may not be immediately apparent to customers and prospects is the fact that many of our employees are co-located physically in India. This gives access to knowledge and resources, builds practices and teams that share knowledge and just simply help each other resolve technical challenges and find answers for our customers.

This message was very well received by everyone I spoke to. There were old friends who stopped by and also quite a few prospects. It was interesting to talk to them and find out where they were along the path of a BI maturity model. Some of them had just purchased the MicroStrategy platform and were looking for guidance on how to get their users from Excel Spreadsheets into a planned development and release cycle of their BI application. Other customers were looking to take their implementations to the next level, having had the product for five or more years, where they may be hitting roadblocks in terms of capacity or scalability. These customers came to ask for assistance with performance assessments, looking for ideas to improve their end-user adoption and also how to demonstrate the ROI brought by the applications they have deployed within their enterprises. It was great to be able to bring up success stories and use cases of the things we have done at previous customers.

InfoCepts is being recognized for the value of our different practices, our expertise in the entire lifecycle of a BI application, including the different BI tools, our architects, our resource management, solutions, and project management groups; among other things.

Still the biggest and most valuable take away from the event are the people that I met, the friends I reconnected with, and the many meaningful conversations that we somehow managed to have in the hallways and at the social activities; like our InfoCepts Presidential Party on Wednesday night. We had a great time meeting and talking to customers, prospects, partners and other InfoCeptians. Check out a few of the pictures of the event.

I realize that not all of us have the opportunity to attend these events and hope that with this note you can get at least a sense of what it was like being there. There were a lot of positive things that we got out of MicroStrategy world as individuals and as a company. Many leads to follow up on and phone calls tom make. We learned many things and got a lot of ideas for new initiatives. You will see many of these things reflected in our practice charter and the plans that we have for this year and even beyond that. It is good to know that we are all part of a big team and we are going to have many successes together.

Feel free to visit MicroStrategy's World 2017 page for access to the keynote and track presentations from the event: