Perhaps the best exchange came as former Gartner BI analyst and current Hyperion poobah Howard Dresner quipped that business intelligence has gone mainstream although—contrary to popular opinion-- it involves a lot more than Excel.
That statement caused Steve Sinofsky, the Microsoft Office poohbah who just so happens to drive the massive Excel business, to sputter indignantly.
In Dresner's view, "real" BI requires a "consistent view of the business" which is hard to do in companies that may have dozens of definitions of a customer, for example. Real BI requires "master data management" and other rather muscular-sounding processes, he maintained.
Sinofsky's response was a variation on Microsoft stock--and still effective—schtick: He mocklingly bemoaned "those darn end users who don't want to go to IT to get the official version of a customer."
He's got a point. As Microsoft creeps up the BI stack to the new "Maestro" Scorecard server and beyond, it'll be interesting to see if that tune changes.