08 April 2008

Heroes Happen {here}

I just got back in from a day at the Heroes Happen {here} launch event hosted here in the DFW area. It's interesting to see the roadmap that Microsoft has put before us as we move forward in our industry. One of the points from the keynote that most intrigued me is the idea of changing the 80/20 rule. This is the rule that states in most IT departments, 80% of your time is maintenance and only 20% is innovation. The new goal for the 2008 line of server products is to try to move IT from a cost center to a strategic asset in the company. This means that the 80/20 rule would still apply, but now 80% of your time is innovation. Personally, I don't see this is an attainable or realistic goal. It is a good one, but the reality is that most IT departments spend a large chunk of their time recovering from poor communication between the user and the IT professional. Until users and IT professionals can begin speaking the same language, there will always be a level of communication missing. One thing that didn't seem to be a factor in this new 80/20 idea is cost. While it would be great to spend 80% of your time in innovation, that also means you are potentially spending more to attain that innovation. With that stated, I think the new line of server products will be a great boost in the right direction. There is a feature that has excited me with SQL 2008. In SQL 2008, the SQL Report Designer has been transformed into a stand-alone application. This means that the report designer can be placed on a desktop as a stand alone application, enabling business users to create reports from data housed in SQL 2008 databases. As a developer, one of the things that bothers me most is the continual request for new reports. By giving the end user a tool like this, I can now forcus my time on building the complex reports while allowing the business user to tweak the reports. Also, SQL 2008 Reporting Services also includes gauges for use in your reports. I believe this is a new addition to the platform, and one that has been needed for quite some time. Don't go looking for fancy new color schemes or exciting graphically diverse charts though. They still look very similar to the charts found in 2005. Unfortunately, the only break-out I was able to attend was the first session of the developer track. While informative, since we have migrated our team to Visual Studio 2008 it was rehashing all of the things we'd already discovered or heard from other Microsoft events. There were some other tracks that looked interesting, but I had personal obligations that I required me to leave (and since it is an hour trip from Dallas to Fort Worth by train, I had to leave). Overall, I'm excited about the possibilities of this new product line, but I'm going to have to spend some time diving deeper into the new features and resources for these products. Having just recovered from being on the front edge with Office 2007, SharePoint 2007 and Windows Vista, I think we're going to give these products a year or so to mature.

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