What is the key to advancing your career in the Microsoft data platform? Here is some advice from some of the most successful people in the industry…
Every year we have some big community events that bring together community leaders from all over. These are international user group and community leaders who write books and speak at conferences. we had our local Oregon SQL Saturday “SQL Train” which is a chartered train – some coaches that one of our speaker’s chartered to bring all of our speakers and attendees up to the PASS summit after Oregon SQL Saturday, and then the big PASS summit (the big conference up in Seattle). I had a chance to sit down with a number of our speakers, community leaders and attendees and just ask questions about what brought them there, and advice that they would give people in the industry about how to get the most value out of that experience …and this is what they said:
Well-run monthly user group meetings and big annual events local events like SQL Saturday don’t just happen by themselves. It takes a lot of planning, a lot of volunteers and a lot of coordination to make these events successful. Part of that effort are the annual leadership planning meetings that we have during the week of PASS summit. Here are some short clips from those meetings where several hundred local leaders from all over the world got together to share ideas, to exchange notes and to coordinate to be able to make these events successful. Leaders cross-pollinate, exchange ideas and they work together to make this a great community. Why? …because somebody did that for us when we were getting started and we want to give back to the community. So, get involved; join the leadership committees at your local user groups, volunteer at SQL Saturday. Volunteer to do a short speaking engagement. Just get up and talk to some of your peers. Get started by volunteering in the community so that you can be part of the ongoing great community we have around the Microsoft data platform.
Since starting the Guy In A Cube series over three years ago, Adam Saxton has become the front man for Microsoft Business Intelligence feature announcements and Power BI how-to tutorials. Joined by Patrick Leblanc last year, the Guy In a Cube series features over 200 short video tutorials with at least two new clips added every week. The Guy In A Cube YouTube channel currently has over 13,000 followers.
I always look forward to spending time with both of these guys at community events. I first met Adam several years ago when he was a Senior Support Escalation Engineer for Microsoft who helped with a number of tough BI server setups. Patrick did senior level consulting work for customers in the field before joining Microsoft as Data Platform Solutions Architect. Adam and Patrick are natural born entertainers. With their deep knowledge and expertise with database technology, security and the entire BI, analytics and reporting stack; they offer one of the top online resources for learning and keeping up with the rapidly-expanding Microsoft BI platform.
At conferences and events, I rarely see Adam without a camera in his hand and so was a real treat to get them in front of my camera for this interview. We chatted about how they got started and how they continue to use their series to highlight new and important features, and to provide guidance to support the Microsoft BI community.
In this interview during the 2017 PASS Summit, we continue to explore the topic of this series of blog posts on Microsoft BI solutions for the enterprise. Patrick and Adam share their guidance about managing large-scale solutions, version control and multi-developer projects using Power BI, Analysis Services and SQL Server.
Conversations with Julie Koesmarno, Olivier Matrat, Aaron Nelson, Seth Bauer and Robert Bruckner captured in video interviews below…
Continuing my video blog series of interviews from PASS Summit, I had the opportunity to catch-up with several Microsoft BI and Data Platform industry leaders amid the crowds and between sessions. Stay tuned to this station for many more interviews and insider information about the Microsoft Business Intelligence and Data Platform.
I caught up with Julie Koesmarno in the Community Zone, a few days after travelling together on the SQL Train (aka “Oregon SQL Party Train to Seattle”) from Oregon SQL Saturday the weekend before Summit. She’s been a non-stop community advocate for several years, and continues to speak at events all over. Julie was an Business Intelligence consultant and user group leader in Australia and Southern California before joining Microsoft as technical evangelist. You might recognize her from the executive demonstration during the opening keynote at PASS Summit last year.
Olivier Matrat, Principal Program Manager (that’s Microsoft job title code for “in charge of a lot of important stuff”), talks about how they are hard at work integrating several products in the “Power *” suite. This is the first time I’d heard of all the “Power…” prefixed product names unofficially referred to as “Power Star”, but it makes perfect sense. Olivier said that we can expect to see tighter integration between tools like Power BI, Flow and Power Apps with more embeddable features for developers and solution integrators.
Aaron Nelson, Data Platform MVP and hard-core PowerShell enthusiast, spoke about some new capabilities he presented in his session about PowerShell for Business Intelligence. The new REST API will let Power BI and report server admins orchestrate server migrations and task automation with PowerShell CmdLets. He seized the opportunity to promote the PASS PowerShell virtual group that he helps manage, at SQLPS.IO. I’ve promised Aaron a follow-up post to demonstrate how the REST API works with PowerShell and the new MSBuild integration, so please watch my blog for that in the next few days.
I chatted with Seth Bauer, BI consultant and Data Platform MVP, on the escalator in the Washington State Convention Center between sessions. Seth has been on the front lines of the Power BI advisors community since the product launched. He cites Q&A Natural Language and Explain the Difference as examples of the most compelling features. He participates in PASS Summit for professional networking and to stay current with BI technologies.
Robert Bruckner is a Senior Architect on the Power BI team and long-time developer lead for Reporting Services. He told me that there are many exciting capabilities on the horizon for Power BI and other integrated reporting technologies that are still under NDA. He mentioned a recent announcement that the On-premises gateway will soon support single sign-on, delegation, load balancing and high-availability. It is truly exciting to see such emphasis on enterprise-scale capabilities for these tools.
While attending PASS Summit 2017 in Seattle, I had a chance to catch-up of several friends and industry experts, and I will be sharing these interviews in a series of posts. On the 1st of November, Pinal Dave completed his 4200th post on SqlAuthority.com – a landmark by blogging once per day for eleven years. Pinal shares this success story and humbly discusses his secrets about being the world-renound authority that we all know, along with some advice about tuning SQL Server.
Thank you, Pinal, for your time and all you do for the PASS community.
It’s official. The PASS Summit schedule was announced and I will be doing three sessions: A full-day preconference, a regular session and a panel discussion with other industry professionals. Come back to this post for follow-up information and selections of content from these sessions after the event.
The PASS Summit is my favorite event of the year and I always leave with so much valuable insight and information. PASS is my annual battery recharge for the rest of the year. It is a vibrant community of professionals and industry leaders who love to share and exchange learnings. Not just an opportunity to attend sessions presented by top-notch experts and product owners from Microsoft but Summit presents many real opportunities to sit and talk, meet and socialize with these industry influencers. My perspectives change and I go back to my clients, classrooms and projects with solutions and a fresh new approach. I’ve been going to the PASS Summit for twelve years and every year is literally the best Summit ever. In the industry, there is no better investment of time and energy compared with what you will gain by attending. I look forward to meeting many of you at Summit. Please introduce yourself and say ‘Hello’. Continue reading →
I am thrilled to be presenting a full-day preconference session before the PASS Summit, on October 31st. Please join me for a deep tour of the new capabilities and BI platform integrations for SQL Server Reporting Services 2016 & 2017. The session will also review the essential skills and tasks to setup and configure the report server and web portal, report design and modern report solution planning. Continue reading →
I’m thrilled to have been selected to deliver a session at the 2016 PASS Global Summit titled “Reporting Services 2016: The Force Awakens”. I’ve been speaking at SQL Saturdays and have done some training on SSRS 2016 this year but this new session has yet to be finished SO…. please let me know what you want to learn about Reporting Services in October. Please leave a comment in this post and let me know what’s most important and appealing to you. I’ll do my best to work the most popular topics into my session.
Here are some ideas:
What’s new in the web portal and how is it different then Report Manager
How is HTML 5 rendering different from previous versions
What browsers and devices are supported by SSRS 2016
What can I do (and can’t do) with mobile reports
How to use and create KPIs
How to create navigation paths with KPIs, mobile reports and paginated reports
How does SSRS integrate with Power BI
How does mobile reporting work and look with different types of reports and visuals
How have paginated report visuals changed and improved
Is there anything new or different about SSRS setup or configuration
Is programming with SSRS any different than before
I’m jumping on a plane bound for San Jose, California today headed to the PASS Business Analytics Conference (BAC). If you plan to attend my hands-on workshop, Tuesday at 2:00, the following information will help you prepare:
Bring your laptop running Windows 7, 8 or 10. Power BI will work, at minimum, on Windows 7 32 bit with 4 GB of RAM. A 64-bit OS with more RAM is better but not required. When you install Power BI Desktop on Windows 7, you may be instructed to install the .NET Framework 4.5. Please do this ahead of time.
Install Power BI Desktop Just go to PowerBi.com and install it from the Products menu. You don’t need an account to install Power BI Desktop.
Charge your laptop battery We will be meeting in a standard session room in the afternoon without additional power. Plan to spend the two hours running on battery power (and don’t use up your battery charge earlier in the day). I don’t have control over the schedule or meeting room facilities so please plan ahead. We also won’t have control of the wireless Internet connectivity which I hope to use to provide files and exercise instructions. Just in case of connection issues, I will provide files on USB drives.
If you do not yet have a subscription setup at PowerBI.com, that’s OK. In this shorter version of the workshop, we will spend most of the time working offline. If you do have a subscription, you can publish and work with the online features but this is not a requirement.
Bring your laptop and let’s build a real business intelligence (BI) solution using Power BI! In this deep-dive session, we build a complete solution. You will need the Power BI Designer (available for free at powerbi.com). You will learn how to cleanse and transform data from multiple sources with Power Query, model data for reporting with Power Pivot, and explore the model and build interactive dashboards with Power View. You’ll leave with a working BI solution.
SQL Server Upgrade Preconference Session: October 26
I will also be co-presenting a full-day preconference session on upgrading SQL Server, along with Tim Chapman, Jim Miller, Richard Waymire & Ron Talmage from SolidQ. We will cover upgrading the entire SQL Server feature set from every version since 2005 to newer versions (2012, 2014 & 2016). I be talking about upgrading SSRS, BI design tool and implementing SSAS Tabular.
Last year Dun and Bradstreet, the world’s leading business data authority, recruited leading SQL Server MVPs to help their customers integrate business solutions using D&B services, and conducted a set of video interviews with 18 members of the MVP program community at the PASS Global Summit in Seattle. Details about the program are on the D&B MVP Program web site here. Many of these fine people are trusted friends, associates, and long-time members of the outstanding SQL Server community. Following is an excerpt of the announcement on the D&B MVP Program web site:
Each year the Professional Association of SQL Server (PASS) Experts holds their annual SQL PASS Conference. This year it was held Nov. 3rd and 4th for Pre-Conference Sessions and officially the conference ran from Nov. 5th through the 7th in Seattle, WA.
We hired a professional Hollywood Videographer to tape interviews of as many of our D&B MVPs that we could, so you could "get to know them better" both in their areas of expertise as well as in their role as a D&B MVP. We taped 18 of our current 42 D&B MVPs.
I truly hope you watch this video series, even one per night (each one is between 5-9 minutes long). It will show you the collective intelligence we have in our MVPs, it will show you their fun and personable personalities, and tell you how you can contact them online.
If you are looking for the industry top experts to help with data management, Business Intelligence, problem-solving or how to use any of the business data integration services from Dun & Bradstreet, these are the people to go to.
Here are the D&B MVPs (and two others) that were interviewed that day, in the order of the video series:
Please join my associates and I for an all-day SQL Server Upgrade workshop on November 3rd
If you are planning an upgrade to a newer version of SQL Server, you won’t want to miss this all-day, preconference workshop.
Join John Martin, Sr. Technology Evangelist from Microsoft, will spend the morning discussing migration planning from SQL Server 2005.
In the afternoon, SolidQ mentors Ron Talmage, Richard Waymire, Jim Miller and Paul Turley will talk about and demonstrate upgrading specific workloads (projects and features) from older product versions to newer product versions. We will introduce the comprehensive SQL Server 2014 Upgrade Whitepaper that we recently wrote for publication by Microsoft.
Additional to upgrading specifically from SQL Server 2005 to SQL Server 2014, we will also talk about upgrading from SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 to SQL Server 2012 and 2014.
An upgrade and/or migration is far more than just a case of moving a database or installing a new version of SQL Server, there have been so many changes since SQL 2005 arrived that we need to do a lot of tasks to ensure we have a successful upgrade project.
This session will guide you through the process, looking at not only the technology but the methodology, processes and tools that we have at our disposal to make sure that when we do move from SQL Server 2005 to 2012/2014 or to the cloud with SQL Server in an Azure VM or Azure SQL Database that we do so in a way that we can be confident of success. We will take a special look at workload-specific upgrade needs for OLTP, HA, SSAS/SSRS, and SSIS environments.
In my afternoon section, I will demonstrate the capabilities of SSAS Tabular models and discuss upgrading and migrating Reporting Services from 2005, 2008 and 2008R2 to 2012 and 2014.
Thank you to the Microsoft MVP Program for awarding me MVP for six years running! I love this program and look forward to another year of great community events and opportunities to advise and mentor.
This year I had the privilege to speak at numerous SQL Saturdays, conferences and user groups, help develop a certification program for the University of Washington, contribute to books and papers, moderate forums, test new products and advise Microsoft product teams, direct the Oregon SQL PASS Chapter, and work with consulting clients to develop database and BI solutions using cutting-edge technologies. I’m planning the Oregon SQL Saturday this year and will be co-presenting a pre-conference at the PASS Global Summit.
I’m always looking for new opportunities to support the SQL Server and Microsoft Business Intelligence community. If you’re looking for a speaker, writer or need some help, please contact me.
I just received some bad news and found out that a friend passed away today. Reed Jacobson was one of the early leaders in the Microsoft Business Intelligence community. Somewhere around 2004-2008 I worked with Reed at Hitachi Consulting in Seattle where we travelled, taught classes and worked on client projects together. He was one of the earliest adopters and gurus in the BI community working for a small start-up called OLAP Train who helped bring SSAS (aka “OLAP Services”) to the masses. He spoke at many conferences and taught a lot of classes.
Not only was he one of the smartest people I’ve known when it came to solving business problems with Analysis Service & MDX but he was a kind, friendly man who really enjoyed helping and connecting with people. He wrote many books about data analysis with Excel & SSAS and he wrote the MDX training curriculum for Hitachi Consulting. He was my mentor. We co-taught some of those early classes and I spent some time with him on the road. He bent my brain intellectually and we talked about work, family, politics and religion. He was man of principles who asked questions and gave a lot of thought to his actions.
Reed left a lot more than a collection of old technical books behind. He had many good friends, customers and connections who appreciate his leadership, guidance and friendship. I am privileged to have worked with Reed.
A memorial will be held this Sunday, July 20 at 7:00 PM
Dr. Jose Rizal Park; 1008 12th Ave S, Seattle, Washington 98134
Watch below for live updates during the conference
Stay tuned and you’ll find out what’s going on during this week in San Jose. I’ll be blogging from the conference as announcements are made and as the rest of the community buzzes about new developments in the community and here at the BAC in San Jose, California.
If you haven’t downloaded the pocket Guidebook, do it now. Just go to http://guidebook.com/g/passbac/, install and then search for PASS Business Analytics.
Tuesday, May 6
I arrived this evening, flying in from Portland. I met up with my long-time friend and co-author, Grant Paisley from Sydney, Australia. It all starts to happen tomorrow with the all-day pre-conference sessions. This is where the deep learning takes place. Every year, people who have serious interest in learning to use a technology or business tool spend a full day with some of the most respected industry professionals. They go deep and thorough, usually showing how to apply bet-practice skills to build a complete solution or tackle some serious issues. Registration for the preconference sessions will still be open on Wednesday morning until the rooms are at capacity.
The Power BI iOS app will be available this summer Reporting Services will run in Power BI – by the end of summer Power BI will work with on-prem data sources without using scheduled data refresh
Forecasting & Time series analysis – line chart provides time-series prediction with error ranges & outlier correction adjustments – WOW!
Demo: Hawaii tourism survey:
Interesting insights about the spending per island and where visitors come from
Question: “why do Japanese tourists show more affection than other cultures?” – answer: More Japanese honeymoon in Hawaii
Julie, a volunteer from the audience, is doing the next unrehearsed demo…
WE HAVE HEAT MAPS in Power VIEW!!!! — Jun Underwood is hyperventilating
Drag a chart data point out to create another visual and drill-down – very cool!
Power View snaps and resizes
Bump and Shake gestures added – automatically separates a chart into multiples or combines two charts into one visual by dragging them together with two fingers on a touch screen.
In conclusion, the features shown today will be introduced in the next couple of months through Power BI in Office 365.
Attended a great session presented by Devin Knight for beginners about building an end-to-end BI solution using Power View
Devin is a very good presenter and was able to very clearly articulate the value of the Power Pivot and Power View toolset through live demonstrations.
Great quote from Gartner in Michael Trjedor’s session on Microsoft Analytics & Visualization: "By 2015, organizations that build a modern information management system will outperform their peer financially by 20 percent." – Gartner, Mark Beyer, "Information Management in the 21st Century"
Rob Collie: Your own Data Revolution
“It doesn’t have to be industrial scale to be industrial strength”
“The human prison”: The human brain is naturally trained to work within the boundaries established from past experience. If only certain questions could be answered by a system/report/spreadsheet/database/model/whatever, we’re not likely to ask other questions.
“apples and oranges”: Low hanging fruit…We often make unfair comparisons and establish benchmarks (e.g. KPI targets). There are often/usually more variables to consider in a comparison.
These tools & techniques allow our brains to thin the way they want to rather than the way they’ve been trained to think.
“The Data Gene”: 1/16 people have the data gene – in all demographics & at all levels of the organization.
You’re a data/business analytics conference… That’s not normal.
The people who mock those who built the pyramids are “normal”.
Data gene is an interest not a level of intelligence, no PhD necessary
There is no cure
Alberto Ferrari: DAX Solutions from the Field
“I’ve stopped believing in Santa Clause, the Tooth Fairy and Microsoft Marketing”
“The primary key in the fact table is your worst enemy”
The first step to optimizing performance should always be to reduce unnecessary distinct column values
Use Kasper’s memory size Power Pivot model to analyze the memory footprint of tables & columns
Use SQL Server Profiler, clear cache
Build the model with necessary columns
Find columns using the most memory
Dejan Sarka: Advanced Analytics in Excel 2013
if you would like to get a complete picture of the end-to-end data analytics capabilities in Excel, watch the recording of this session. Dejan covered all the essentials at an advanced level. This excellent presentation moved very quickly. Emphasis on data mining/predictive analytics.
It’s 8:05 AM Pacific Time on the 9th of May, 2014 and the keynote session is beginning…
This session is highly visual and to get the message, I will update this post with pictures that become available after the conference.
David McCandless, keynote speaker, is visualizing a billion dollars using a tree map/heat map
“Debtres” … animated tetris visual that assembles a heat map
Trendline example: what trends up in the Spring near Easter and Christmas and then a little each holiday and weekend?
…relationship breakups via FaceBook
Data must be visualize in context (e.g. pure sum vs ratio… )
Strip out the labels and leave the colors and shapes to set the visual context
I’ve seen a lot of interesting sessions and gatherings at industry conferences but this is one of the best ideas so far:
Introducing… The Unconference! …the anti-conference within a conference
Aside from the outstanding value I get from going to hear leading experts share their experience in structured sessions, some of the greatest learning comes from side conversations and informal encounters with people between the sessions. For me, a lot of those conversations happen when I bump into someone whose blog I’ve followed or book I’ve read with just a few minutes to spare between sessions. Unless we chat off-hours, we’re always rushed to get to the next scheduled event. And then to chat with a session speaker after their session to try to get an answer to that one critical question (you know, the main reason you went to the conference)… The way that usually goes is that at the end of a good session, everyone with questions runs up to the front of the room and lines-up to talk to the presenter as he or she packs-up and tries to get out of the way of the next presenter preparing for their session. You’re lucky to get 2 minutes of time with the expert before the next person in line.
The Unconference gives you two hours with the experts and no rules. No rules! This is an outstanding opportunity to spend some quality time with people who have real-world answers and deep insights in their respective fields of interest. For a lot of us, the most important reason for coming is to get quality face-time with the right people
This event is led by Denise McInerney, Data Engineer at Intuit, the agenda is created at the start of the evening. Anyone who wishes to initiate a discussion on a topic can claim a time and a space. Attendees are encouraged to share thoughts in open discussions with community-proposed topics.