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What is a Business Intelligence Conference?

By C. Mitchell
Updated May 16, 2024
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“Business intelligence,” or BI, is widely defined as the intersection of business tasks and technology. It includes everything from the use of computers in scheduling and employee management to new ways that radio frequency tags can be used to track inventory, or ways that smart phones can be used for data warehousing. New technologies emerge on an almost constant basis. These technologies are often presented to business at business intelligence conferences. A business intelligence conference is a meeting, often taking place over several days, where executives and BI industry leaders can network and learn about new trends and technologies.

Most of the time, major technology firms or business intelligence software developers host BI conferences as a way of reaching out to the BI community. When done correctly, a business intelligence conference brings together some of the most innovative business leaders with some of the most cutting-edge business trend analysis. The conferences are usually touted as a way for businesses to learn, to grow, and to keep up.

A typical business intelligence conference begins with speakers and presentations. The conference organizer will generally contact potential speakers several months in advance. A potential speaker might be a business intelligence consultant, a business intelligence analyst, or a company president who can speak to the difference BI has made to his or her company. The presentations are usually on new trends, new techniques, or case studies of how certain technologies have worked in specific business sectors.

Breakout sessions and small group workshops are another common business intelligence conference feature. In large conferences, participants can often choose between several paths, or tracks, of learning opportunities. Participants can focus their conference experience on introducing BI to their business, for example, or they can focus on business intelligence management, certification, or advancement. They can focus on BI privacy, BI for inventories, or BI for employee management, to name a few.

Some conferences offer participants the chance to meet specific educational requirements, particularly with respect to BI consulting jobs and technology certification programs. In order to act as a business intelligence analyst or consultant to a company, one must normally have palpable experience implementing BI practices in a corporate setting. Often times one must also hold certification as a business intelligence specialist. Depending on the conference, experience modules, certification classes, and exam opportunities may be offered.

A hallmark of most every business intelligence conference is a new products exhibition. Business intelligence software and business intelligence management product vendors often sponsor booths at a BI conference’s exhibition. The vendors provide information and often demonstrations of the products’ capabilities in an effort to get samples — and ultimately sales contracts — into the hands of the business leader attendees.

Business intelligence conferences are held several times a year all around the world. Organizers usually select locations for the conference that will attract attendees, and often try to conduct conferences over long weekends, so as not to disrupt the ordinary flow of business. There is usually plenty of time for socializing and networking, and many BI conferences are billed as being as much about meeting business leaders and building a professional network in a relaxed setting as they are about learning new material.

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