Interviews with Microsoft Data Community Speakers and Leaders

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.

Spontaneous Interviews at PASS Summit 2017

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.

Interview with Pinal Dave at PASS Summit 2017

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.

 

Modern Reporting with SSRS 2016 & 2017, and Report Tool Options – PASS Sessions

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

Modern Reporting with SQL Server 2016 and 2017 Reporting Services full day pre-conference session

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

PASS Business Analytics Conference Hands-on Micro Workshop

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.

Really looking forward to seeing you there!

Get To Know D&B MVPs and SQL Server MVPs

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:

Posted by Kim Schmidt 5votes on December 19, 2014

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:

D&B MVP Program Manager Kim Schmidt

D&B MVP Argenis Fernandez

D&B MVP Karen Lopez

D&B MVP Mark Tabladillo

D&B MVP Stacia Misner

D&B MVP Kevin Kline

D&B MVP Ryan McKnight

D&B MVP Tamera Clark

D&B MVP Thomas LaRock

D&B MVP Paul Turley

D&B MVP Tim Radney

D&B MVP Joey D’Antoni

D&B MVP Arnie Rowland

D&B MVP Andy Leonard

D&B MVP Denny Cherry

D&B MVP Jose Chinchilla

D&B MVP Kendal Van Dyke

D&B MVP Tim Ford

D&B MVP Luis Figueroa

Davide Mauri of Italy

Join us at the PASS BAC Unconference Pizza Night

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

There is limited space so sign-up to reserve your spot on Thursday, 8 May 2014 from 7:30 PM to 9:30 PM

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.

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