A Look Behind the Scenes by Marie Alami
It’s Show Time! by Avery Horzewski

imagesWhat do you get when you bring the Optimal Optimizers, Big Data Theory, Dashboard Divas, and Bollywood Spartans together? An evening of gospel singing, nerd talk, sassy women, and Indian dancing – all in one place, otherwise known as the Developer Wars. Now that’s entertainment!

What exactly is the Developer Wars? In a nut shell, various teams compete against each other to create the best dashboards using data from a chosen charity. This year, it was City Year, an organization dedicated to helping students and schools succeed. You can find all the nitty-gritty details on how the challenge works on the ASUG SAP BusinessObjects User Conference website.

A Look Behind the Scenes

What’s not clear on the SBOUC website is just how hard the teams work day and night to create their masterpieces. “Imagine controlled chaos,” said Isabelle Nuage, a member of the task force behind the event. “Four teams, one room, and only 27 hours to complete their entries. The fuel? Pizza and caffeine – including plenty of five-hour energy drinks.”

At 5:30pm on Sunday, City Year Senior Vice President and CIO, Welles Hatch, gave each team the dataset on USB keys and explained the organization’s business needs.  Here’s a photo of workflows in the making.


Some of the competitors didn’t even leave the room until 9pm on Monday, working on little sleep.

Watch this short video of Tracy Wagner from the team, Dashboard Divas, giving you her first impression of the craziness behind prepping for the competition.


The teams were judged based on four criteria, each worth 25% of the score:

  • Effectiveness in answering the business question
  • Analytical functionality and performance
  • Live presentation and fun factor
  • Ease of use, design

All the teams put in 500% effort, across all four areas, including the fun factor – complete with costumes, make-up, and skit rehearsal.



It’s Show Time!

Jamie Oswald emceed the event for the second year running. It’s hard to imagine anyone else in the role. No one can get a crowd going – nor keep competitors on track – like him.



First up, defending champs – The Optimal Optimizers. “Can I get an AMEN brothers and sisters?!” To fully appreciate that statement and the creativity exhibited by all the teams, watch this highlight reel of the performances (about two minutes).


First, apologies to The Big Bang Theory for not including them in the highlight reel! Can you say technical difficulties? Second, do you see what I’m talkin’ about friends? The evening was fairly oozing with creativity and fun. I’m just glad I wasn’t a judge!

Back to Optimal Optimizers. Just check out the dashboard they delivered.











Next up – The Big Data Theory, geekiness at its best. The A-B-C’s of their dashboard – math and literacy net impact for @CityYear. My favorite quote during the judges review came from @Dagira_Tweets, “I’m explaining it all to Timo what you’re doing.” Apparently, Timo never saw The Big Bang Theory. ;-) And it’s worth noting, that the guys who put this together are free agents, not part of a work team.











The third team to strut its stuff was the Dashboard Divas. And strut they did! Welles Hatch from City Year called it right after seeing the Divas’ last screen, “You rock my world.” I just loved the emotion of these gals. Their passion shined through. And check out that reclaimed earnings number! #MakeBetterHappen











And the clean-up batter was none other than the Bollywood Spartans. Emotive music, swaying hips, singing – and a gutsy move to boot. They brought the City Year CIO on stage to test drive their dashboard live, unrehearsed, for the first time. What did he have to say? “I’m thinking this is pretty slick.”

What do you think?











And the Winner Is….

….The Bollywood Spartans!



But the real winner is City Year and the kids they help. Not only do they benefit from seeing the possibilities available to them through analytics – thanks to the collective genius of the teams – SAP, a key sponsor of the Developer Wars, made it possible for them to bring that analytics in house.

@Shekhariyer111, GVP BI and Predictive Analytics at SAP, announced SAP is donating $150,000 and the software solutions (SAP Lumira™, SAP Predictive Analysis, SAP Crystal Reports®, and SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards) used in the competition to City Year – enough for all its 25 locations. That’s just so cool!

If you want to help out City Year, too, visit www.cityyear.org/donate.

A Great Big THANKS

And to close out this long (but definitely warranted) post, a big shout-out to all who made this possible – it really does take a village to raise a Developer Wars:

  • Optimal Optimizers: Scott Sigsbey, Graylin Johnson, Trey Morrow, Tom Rudnick
  • Big Data Theory: Josh Tapley, Gustavo Hernandez, Rajesh Ponnurangam, Marc Schnoll, Mark Richardson, Tony Calhoun
  • Dashboard Divas: Yolande Grill, Lori Wagner, Runalis Ghosh, Tracy Wagner, Bree-Anna Mustad
  • Bollywood Spartans: Ashish Goyal, Probodh Chiplunkar, Rajiv Vellore, Pallavi Ramnarain

Make sure to check out great video interviews with Timo Elliott and a member of each team post-competition through the links above.

  • The Developer Wars taskforce: Jim Brogden, Jennifer Cofer, Tammy Datri, Ryan Goodman, Dan Grew, Ken Hartman, Dallas Marks, Isabelle Nuage, Gabe Orthous, Jamie Oswald, Dave Rathbun, Bhavin Shah, and Simon To
  • The judges: Welles Hatch (City Year CIO), Chris Crone (Pentair Water, ASUG BoD), Timo Elliott (SAP), Shekhar Iyer (GVP BI & predictive analytics, SAP), and Dave Rathbun (PepsiCo and Father of BOB)
  • ASUG and its volunteers

All of you ROCK!!