Power BI Contest

Be sure to get your vote in the for the Microsoft Power BI Contest.  67 entries were submitted by the Jan 15th deadline and now it’s time to vote and learn about all the cool stuff you can do with Power BI.  There are several great video demonstrations, and these are not all of them, but here are a few of my favorites.  These links will take you to the official site to view all the entries.  Make sure you view all and then cast your vote.

Melissa Coates


Devin Knight


Dan English


Julie Koesmarno


Jen Stirrup


Jason Thomas


Mark Vaillancourt


Chris Webb


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A Conference Call in real Life

When a colleague sent this to me last week, my first impulse was to SPAM it by email to just about everyone I know but thought this was a better forum.  If you participate in online meetings in any form – as I do on a regular basis, this will drive you to tears.  Heads up; there is a sneaky ad at the end but the content is still priceless.

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PASS Business Analytics Conference Discount by January 18

Fellow Oregon SQL members and blog readers

Are you considering attending the second annual PASS Business Analytics Conference in San Jose, May 7-9?  Are you still thinking about whether you should attend?  Perhaps this will help…

As a member of Oregon SQL (or if you’re reading this blog post), you are eligible for a $150 registration discount.  That means that if you register before January 18, the registration cost for the full conference is just $1,245.  This discount can still be applied but the registration cost goes up next week so don’t wait.

The PASS BA Conference brings together analysts and IT pros from the world of BI and analytics to connect, share experiences, and learn more about the power of data to transform business with more than 70 sessions planned by the world’s top BI and BA experts.  Last year’s first-ever BA conference brought nearly 1,000 data and business professionals to Chicago and this year promises to be even bigger and better with session tracks that include: Analytics and Visualization, Advanced Analysis Techniques, Information Delivery, Big Data, Strategy and Architecture.

To get this discount and save on early registration, visit the registration site and apply the code: BA4K8P

We hope to see you in San Jose!

Your Oregon SQL Directors

PASS BA Conference 2014

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Mastering Reporting Services Expressions – SQL Server Pro eLearning Series

I will be presenting a series of three online sessions for the SQL Server Pro Magazine eLearning series titled “Mastering SQL Server Reporting Services Expressions”.  Please join me for live chat sessions during the presentations on the 12th of February at 11am, 1pm and 3pm Eastern Time.

If you do any report design with SSRS, this is an essential skill for all types of reporting solutions.  SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) is a very capable and mature reporting tool that has been part of the SQL Server suite for more than 10 years. It’s fairly easy to create basic reports with no programming and only fundamental technical skills if you keep things simple, but if you have to build highly-functional reports, you need to know how to write and use expressions. With some essential expression skills, you can take your report designs to the next level and give your business powerful reporting and analytic capabilities.

Instead of having many different reports for all of your users’ needs, wouldn’t it be great if just a small number of reports were flexible enough to meet the needs of different business users? That would make the choice easier for users with fewer reports to maintain.

Have you ever created a report that doesn’t export to Excel in a format that works for the user? Wouldn’t it be great if the report were smart enough to know how it was being viewed or exported – and formatted itself accordingly? You can do that with expressions.

Attend this training to learn how to:

  • Use parameters to drive dynamic report features with selectable table columns, chart elements, and data measures.
  • Conditionally visualize data elements to highlight threshold values and outliers using color, size, fonts, and icons.
  • Build one report to visualize and format data in different ways, based on a variety of requirements and conditions.

After you have mastered expression basics, you can apply the same techniques in more advanced and creative ways, such as:

  • Defining custom drill-through targets, allowing users to navigate to different detail reports under different conditions.
  • Creating one report with dynamic filtering that responds to user-interaction.

Who should attend:

  • IT professionals and developers who use databases to create report solutions for business users. Users should have a fundamental understanding of query languages like T-SQL and functions in any expression or programming language.
  • Business analysts who access various data sources to analyze and understand business information. Financial professionals who need to produce balance sheets, profit and loss statements, reports, and invoices. These users should understand essential database concepts like tables and fields, or how to browse an analytical cube with dimensions and measures.
  • Business users should be proficient using Windows software, working with files, and documents. Some prior experience with SQL Server Reporting Services is recommended. Experience with other reporting tools such as Access reports or Crystal Reports might be helpful for new users.

Session 1: Introducing Expressions in Basic Report Design – 11am ET

  • How expressions work
  • Visual Basic.NET expression fundamentals
  • Parameter basics and incorporating parameters in expressions
  • Decision making – IIF() and SWITCH() functions
  • Handling empty values and evaluation errors
  • When to use calculated fields and calculated values
  • Making properties dynamic

Session 2: Extending Report Features with Expressions – 1pm ET

  • Dynamically changing report content
  • Hiding and showing table columns
  • Managing group visibility
  • Dynamic chart element colors
  • Modifying query logic with expressions

Session 3: Dynamic Report Features & Creative Designs – 3pm ET

  • Expression best practices
  • Reporting Services design patterns – working with the tool
  • Managing complex expressions and writing custom functions
  • Defining selectable drill-through targets
  • Creative ways to visualize information
  • Creating an interactive dashboard
  • Customizing report exporting and dynamic formatting

Analysis Services 2012 Cookbook Published


I’m please to inform you that our new Analysis Services 2012 book is now available for download and purchase.  The book is titled SQL Server Analysis Services 2012 Cube Development Cookbook. I had the pleasure of co-authoring this book with Baya Dewald and Steve Hughes, both active members of the SQL Server and Business Intelligence community.

This is a good book for beginners and those with intermediate skills who need to round out their skills with all features of the Microsoft BI stack.  The cookbook series from Packt Publishing are brief and easy to follow.  I enjoyed writing the chapters in this book because they are concise and to-the-point.  Each chapter contains a series of recipes that address specific skills and product features.  Instructions are provided so you can perform these exercises on your own.  In most cases, you can go to each recipe and focus only on that specific skill.

Topics cover all aspects of SQL Server Analysis Services in the SQL Server 2012 editions including solution design, implementation, management and troubleshooting.  Of particular note in this new version, we cover Tabular model design, DAX calculations and expressions, and DAX queries.  We wrote specifically about optimizing, troubleshooting and managing Tabular models and solutions

I welcome your comments, feedback and questions.

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