Archive for September, 2011

Two weeks ago I was luckily enough to join our general manager for a Business Architecture review in Dubai. This was my first trip to the UAE and I was in for a few surprises. First up as an “eye examination” at 01:00am in the morning. Apparently all the chaps with ZAF passports have really poor eyesight for some reason. Needless to say my eyes weren’t tested. My form got stamped and I was told to re-join the first queue I had stood in. Next up was the heat, a cool 35 degrees when we were picked up at the airport. Temperatures managed to get to 45 degrees at their peak making it less than pleasant to go for a stroll outside. Mind you, the humidity was pretty insane as well. And then finally, the cost of food and booze. A Heineken will set you back around 60 ZAR and for a 300g fillet – anything between R400 – R650. Eish.

On the brighter side were the friendly people, amazing buildings and malls you could never even dream of – full with ski slopes, aquariums and 1,200 stores!

Ok, so why were we out there? A potential client had asked us to review their infrastructure, business processes and technical implementation with the core focus relating to operational efficiencies. I was there more from a technical perspective and had the exciting job of building out a few POCs while we were on-site. This is where I have to give credit to the Microsoft stack, especially to PowerPivot. In just a few hours one is able to mash up multiple data sources and present back analysis that the client thought would take a very long time to complete. Our rapid BI development tool, timeXtender, also came in very handy when building out a finance cube on a subset of the client’s database.

These tools not only accelerate the ability to quickly create POCs, but also significantly reduce the development time for full-scale projects. The company I work for has recently had numerous success stories where ROI has been realised very quickly, sometimes within the first month of going live! The common denominator – timeXtender.

The review came to an end all too quickly but I was happy to be back in SA again. There is nothing quite like your own bed. Well, we’ve compiled an exciting roadmap for the client – let’s hope they want us to partner with them on the journey.


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