A New Day, or Microsoft All the Way?

A New Day, or Microsoft All the Way?

To steal Microsoft’s tag line, it’s a new day for BI. At least it’s a new day for business intelligence conferences. Microsoft Business Intelligence Conference 2007, the company’s first-ever large-scale BI conference, will be May 9-11 in Seattle. You can find complete details at http://www.microsoftbiconference.com, and an open call for presentations is active through February 9 at http://www.microsoftbiconference.com/callforpresentations.aspx.

Sessions have not been finalized, but the conference will have the following five tracks:

Track 1: Microsoft BI Platform and Infrastructure Track 2: Microsoft BI Clients and Applications Track 3: Business Value of Business Intelligence Track 4: Customer Best Practices Track 5: Sponsoring Partner Solution Sessions Track 6: Partner Training Track

In addition, the lineup features keynotes from senior Microsoft executives and other leading industry experts.

Have you built a really cool Microsoft-based BI solution but don’t want to talk? Well, you might want to consider having yourself nominated for one of the Microsoft BI customer awards that will be presented at the show. You can get more details about the awards and nomination process at http://www.microsoftbiconference.com/awards.aspx .

According to the site’s marketing blurb, the event is designed to educate customers and partners about every aspect of Microsoft’s “pervasive BI and Performance Management” offering. This event, which is planned for 2,000 attendees, isn’t a small boutique conference, and it will be interesting to see whether the “first-ever” Microsoft BI conference becomes the first-annual Microsoft BI conference. Historically in the United States, Microsoft puts on a few large annual conferences, such as TechEd and the Professional Developers Conference (PDC), but leaves plenty of opportunity for third-party providers to offer their own conferences. Three of the major United States SQL Server conferences not produced by Microsoft are the Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS) Summit, SQL Server Magazine Connections, and the SQL Server Live show. Third-party shows have historically been able to play the role of honest broker, offering content that might not be “politically correct” to see and hear at a Microsoft show. However, the market for SQL Server conferences presumably has a finite number of potential attendees. It’s easy to imagine a 2,000-person conference organized by Microsoft eating into attendance of the non-Microsoft shows. And although these other major shows do offer BI content, they simply don’t provide the depth that a multi-track, three-day, BI-only show could offer.

I know that many of my colleagues plan to attend the first-ever Microsoft BI conference. I suspect many of them would plan to attend the event every year if Microsoft has a successful first year and puts an annual event in place. I’m sure that the show will offer great value to the Microsoft BI community, and it will certainly be interesting to see what, if any, affect this type of show has on attendance levels for the other major SQL Server shows.

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