Business Objects User Conference – Europe 2008

The 2008 Business Objects user conference is to be held in Berlin, Germany between May 19-21.

Apparently is will be held together with the SAP Sapphire 2008 conference.

Further information can be found on the Business Objects website.

BusinessObjects XI Release 2 – Fix Pack 3.3 released

Business Objects has released Fix Pack 3.3 for it’s XIR2 software today.

Further details can be found here.

SABE210 – Pass!

I recently took the SABE210 Business Objects Enterprise XIR2 Administering Users & Content exam, and passed! It’s a relief to get the first one out of the way.

The exam consists of 40 multiple choice questions, and you are given 80 minutes to complete the exam. I found that this was more than enough time to go through all the questions thoroughly, and leave sufficient time at the end to review any outstanding questions.

The pass grade is 65%. You get given your score immediately at the end of the exam. As long as you get 65% or over, you have a ‘Pass’ and this is what counts towards the BOCP certification.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I did question whether this exam could be done without taking the classroom or e-learning courses. I think you can. However, I would stress that you need to have a very good working knowledge of BOE at Administrator level. Reading the relevant PDF guides (Admin, Deployment), which you can download for free from the BOBJ support website, will also help.

Having said that, the elearning course does help. It presents the information in a logical manner and provides you with tests at the end of each section. These are of a similar format to the final exam. I found that the elearning course fills in gaps in your knowledge. I also learnt a couple of new things which I plan on implementing on client site.

I’m going to start on the SABE310 Administering Servers elearning exam in the next few days. The SABE310 course looks far more substantial and appears to focus heavily on architecture and configuration. I suspect this means learning about the various parameters that can be set for each server and how they all talk to each other. While I am familiar with what the servers do and process flows, I have to admit that I don’t know all the server parameters by heart.

Due to this, I will be taking this as an e-learning course. Worth noting that this elearning course is more expensive than SABE210, and is normally presented as a 3 day classroom based course. The SABE210 course is normally a 2 day classroom course.

Further updates later in the week.

Business Objects Certification – Part One – SA210

As mentioned in an earlier post, I enrolled on the SA210 Business Objects Enterprise XIR2 Administering Users & Content e-learning course. This, together with experience and the various PDF guides available from the BOBJ Support site, should give me enough material to pass the SABE210 exam. Although I can’t confirm this, I have read in the BOBJ forum that the e-learning material is based on the same material as that used for the classroom based course.

The course itself is delivered via the web. It is broken down into a number of easy to manage lessons. Most lessons have practical exercises with worked examples. These are quite simple and reiterate material presented in the lesson. At the end of each lesson, you are given a short test ranging between two and eight multiple choice questions. If you have gone through and understood the material in the lesson, these tests shouldn’t pose much of a problem. You can go through the lessons and tests as many times as you like. Note: the test scores do not count towards the final exam!

The material is quite thorough and plenty of examples are provided throughout. To further expand your knowledge, I would suggest reading the XIR2 Admin and Installation PDF guides. These can be downloaded from the BOBJ support website.

To be honest, all of the material presented in the course is available in these guides. However, the course material manages to extract the key elements and present it in easy to manage lessons. You also don’t have the benefit of the practical exercises or tests.

On the positive side, the course is comprehensive, offers plenty of detail, has practical exercises and contains handy tests.

Two downsides in my opinion. Firstly, cost. In the UK, the course will set you back £580. This is not a trivial sum of money, particularly for a web based course. While it is half the price of the equivalent classroom based course, I do feel it is expensive, particularly if you compare this to a similar IT course of the same duration. Secondly, you don’t get any printed materials. While you do have access to the web course material for one year, it would be incredibly useful to have the printed materials. Considering the cost of the course, surely BOBJ could have stretched themselves to providing the same printed material as handed out in the classroom course?

I do wonder whether it is possible to pass the SABE210 exam solely based on experience and the Installation and Admin guides alone. I should be able to answer that in the next few days. I’m going to be taking the SABE210 exam shortly. While I won’t be able to post any details about the exam, I should be able to give an indication as to whether it is worth taking the course.

Sparklines

Following on from a recent post about dashboard design, you must take a look at Bissantz’s Sparklines.

I am amazed at how much meaningful information can be displayed in such a small footprint.

Bonavista Systems have also implemented their own version of Sparklines and have integrated Stephen Few’s bullet graphs. They have called their product Micro Charts.

Sparklines are based on works by Edward Tufte. Edward has written a highly regarded book in the area around visual presentation of data called Beautiful Evidence.

One for the wish list.

Book: Information Dashboard Design

I’ve just finished reading Stephen Few’s excellent book Information Dashboard Design.

It makes for very interesting reading. Stephen points out many of the visual failings of existing ‘dashboard’ products from most if not all dashboard product vendors. He goes on to create a version of a dashboard which will surprise you in how simple and clear information can be presented. I certainly will be taking much of his thinking on board when designing reports.

This book is well worth the investment, particularly if you work with dashboard products or develop graphical reports.

It’s also worth taking a look at Stephens website perceptualedge.com for further examples. He also writes a interesting blog which is well worth reading.

Posted in Dashboards. Tags: , . Comments Off on Book: Information Dashboard Design

XI 3.0 certification

As I start out on the road to BOCP-BOE XIR2 certification, I can’t help but wonder whether it was worth waiting for the XI 3.0 certifications to come out.

However, most clients appear to be on XIR2 or planning to migrate to XIR2, and I don’t think we’ll see much in the way of a mass migration to XI 3.0 for at least 12 months.

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