If you’ve attended more than a few Business Analytics conferences you’ll have seen numerous non-vendor presentations which fall into one of two categories.
The Honeymoon Presentation chronicles the experiences of a solution buyer. It’s often co-presented or sponsored by a software vendor, and is very common at vendor-organised forums such as user conferences. It covers the identification of a business problem, the formation of a project team, the creation of a business case, the development of business requirements, the challenges of stakeholder management, the discovery of trade-offs, and the resulting criteria and process by which a supplier was selected. It closes with ambitions and plans for the future. It may not be explicitly stated by the presenter, but nothing has been rolled out yet. That is, it reflects the perspective of an organisation in the early stages of Business Analytics, having followed the default, top-down, project-based, IT-centric model.
The Proud Parent Presentation comes from this same perspective but is delivered after a project phase has been successfully completed. As such it will typically relay much of the above narrative, adding an overview and some screenshots of the system that has been implemented and closing with some ‘lessons learned’ in the process. Most Proud Parent presentations are fairly interchangeable in terms of the generic outcomes described. In the BI context, typical outcome claims are things like “now our business users have more information at their fingertips” and “for the first time we have one version of the truth”. What varies most are the characteristics of the presenting organisation: industry, size, products, customers, and so on.
There are two types of presentation you most want to see but never do. The first is the Failure Presentation. Rather than being a story of general success sprinkled with a few tips and tricks picked up along the way, it’s about the hard lessons that only painful reflection on resounding failure can teach. Then there’s the Arms Race Presentation, in which an organisation reveals the inner workings of how it competes on analytics, manages its strategic threats, and stays a step ahead of its adversaries. I have never seen either of these presentations at public conferences, but they do exist. They’re the most informative, but for obvious reasons the least likely to see the light of day on the conference circuit.
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