Power to the Power of Power

16 December, 2014 (11:00) | Power BI, Power Pivot, Power Query, Power View | By: Mark V

2886083112_68c27e8a60_oI love Power tools. My father was a carpenter in his spare time and used a table saw, drill press, band saw, etc to make furniture and novelty products like a pencil holder shaped like the head of E.T. (I drew that design when I was kid). He sold quite a few of those. Times change. My power tools are quite different from his. I use Power Query, Power Pivot, Power View, and Power BI. However, the names of those tools don’t relate as directly to their function as my dad’s tools did. For most people, when you mention a table saw, they have a pretty solid idea that it is used for cutting. And a drill press, well, that puts holes in things. That’s pretty clear, too. From talking with other people in the Data world, particularly some of my friends on the DBA side of the house, it is just not clear what the Power tools are and what each one is for. So, my goal with this post is to help those folks out.

In the Excel BI stack, sometimes called the Power BI stack, we have a number of power tools:

  • Power Query
  • Power Pivot
  • Power View
  • Power Map
  • Power BI
  • Power Azure (Just kidding… This one does not exist. I just couldn’t resist.)

Let’s take a brief look at each one.

Power Query

Power Query is an add-in for Excel (both 2010 and 2013) that provides the ability to not only bring data into Excel from a number of sources, but also the ability to shape it, clean it up, and do some modeling on the way. Many people (myself included) have defined it as a Self-Service ETL (Extract, Transform, and Load) tool, a much simpler to use SQL Server Integration Services. And it is that. But it is so much more. I feel like that description just does not capture the power (can’t help it) of this fabulous tool. When all is said and done, Power Query is like a machine that takes data in on one side, does stuff to it, and spits it out the other end into Excel.

Power Pivot

Power Pivot was first released as a free add-in for Excel 2010. It was baked right into Excel 2013. Power Pivot lets you build an Analysis Services style data model IN Excel. You can augment that model with DAX (Data Analysis Expressions) to do powerful (I’m at it again, aren’t I?) calculations. It is Power Pivot that lets you drag join columns together to create relationships between tables in your model, thereby eliminating the need for doing VLOOKUP expressions. Power Pivot uses the xVelocity column-store engine to hold the data in the model you design. The data in Power Pivot is extracted from several different data sources (or sent to the model via Power Query). Power Pivot is a container that you design and fill with data. In addition to providing a means of self-service BI, Power Pivot is a fantastic tool for creating prototypes of larger BI solutions. You can put something in front of users in a few hours and make sure you are on the right track with what they are looking for. Just awesome.

Power View

Power View is a data visualization tool that is meant for end users. It is VERY simple to use. It was first release as a web part in SharePoint 2010 and later baked directly into Excel 2013. A key design tenet of Power View was “Two click to ROI.” If it takes more than two clicks to use a feature, it’s probably not worth it. This is a huge contrast from tools like Report Designer (in Business Intelligence Development Studio and SQL Server Data Tools) and Report Builder. Both of those tools have lots of menus within menus within menus. It can take a dozen clicks or more to do one thing. These tools provide much more functionality than Power View, but that functionality adds complexity. Power View is designed to be simple. A key feature of Power View is the cross filtering that happens automatically. Sometimes Power View gets a bad wrap because it is not as robust are Reporting Services; but it is not meant to be. It was not meant to replace (and does not replace) existing tools like Reporting Services. It complements them and is a great tool when used appropriately.

Power Map

Power Map is a tool for creating visualizations of geo-spatial data. While Power View supports creating maps, Power Map supports creating 3-dimensional maps. You can record the use of your maps as short videos called Scenes and play them back. While Power Map looks really cool and provides great eye candy, I must confess I have not played with it all that much.

Power BI

Power BI is an add-on service for Office 365. It provides a specially configured SharePoint Online site that enables some very exciting functionality. Once you have created a data model in Excel with Power Pivot and optionally created Power View reports against it, you can upload that file to a Power BI site to share it with others within and outside of your organization. An exciting feature of Power BI is called Q & A. It lets you use natural language to query your data and get results formatted in a appropriate visualization. If you have sales data up in Power BI and ask for sales over time, if will put your results into a line chart in order to highlight the trend you are likely seeking. The licensing of Power BI is currently very confusing. I can assure you that Microsoft has heard the feedback on this.

So, to sum up VERY simply:

Power Query extracts, transforms, and loads data into Excel.

Power Pivot models and stores data in Excel.

Power View and Power Map visualize data in Excel (Power View is available in SharePoint as well, though).

Power BI shares what you created with the tools above and adds other cool functionality, too.

I hope this helps clarify things a bit. My goal is to do a blog series on each of these tools. I never thought I would say this, but, any day I get to work with data in Excel is a good day for me. These tools provide so much capability for helping people make better use of what they already have. These tools certainly don’t replace the Enterprise BI tools like SQL Server Analysis services. We will need that for quite some time to come. But they do offer an option for enabling better decisions with a much lower barrier to entry than learning to develop cubes and write MDX. Microsoft Senior Technical Fellow Amir Netz has said many times, “BI doesn’t just have to mean Business Intelligence, it can also mean Basic Intelligence.” So much of BI is about making things simpler. These tools do that and more.

PASS Summit 2014 PASS Board Q and A

17 November, 2014 (10:00) | Interviews, PASS, Summit | By: Mark V

At PASS Summit 2014 in Seattle, I attended a couple Q and A sessions with the PASS Board of Directors members. There were three such sessions. I missed the general Q and A as my Summit presentation was at that same time. Rather than try to capture the play by play of everything, I decided to distil all my notes into a single post that is more of an article. I have not really tried this type of journalistic article before, so I hope you will bear with me.

For the past two years, the PASS Board election process has been somewhat less than smooth from a Community perspective. Last year, there was uproar over the fact that people with multiple sqlpass.org accounts could vote from each account, thereby allowing them to vote multiple times. To try to rectify that situation prior to the 2014 election, PASS instituted a policy that required people to update their PASS profile in order to be eligible to vote. The plan was to also look for duplication in the accounts and have people with multiple accounts choose a single one to serve as their account. As listed in this post by PASS President Thomas LaRock (Blog|Twitter) on the PASS blog, PASS communicated this requirement many times on many different channels. Despite this, there were many members that did not receive the message and/or take necessary action to ensure their eligibility to vote in this year’s election. Once again, there was a massive outcry against PASS over this situation. When asked about this situation, PASS Executive Vice President, Finance and Governance, Adam Jorgensen (Blog|Twitter) replied, “A significant amount of work went into the communication plan on this. People didn’t get an email, but email was not the only thing.” Given the fact that PASS tried so many avenues of communication, Adam wants to ask PASS members the following: “What is the BEST way to make sure, when we communicate with folks, that they read it AND take action? What is the best vehicle? What channels are most effective for them?”

All of this outcry started once the election began and people discovered they were not eligible to vote. There was an understandable amount of frustration for people whose reactions suggested they felt they were being disenfranchised. The PASS Board responded to this outcry by extending the election to allow people more time to update their profiles. I asked what went into making that change. Adam explained that the PASS organization is governed by Bylaws as well as the laws of the state of Illinois. As such, it is not going to be able to turn on a dime. According to Adam, “We had to decide if wanted (and if so how) to change things and extend the election. This required 12 people in a very short time. HQ did a great job to help coordinate that. We had to talk to our legal counsel to assess the ramifications of changing things midstream.” Denise McInerney (Blog|Twitter), PASS Vice President, Marketing, added to this, “HQ did an amazing amount of work during that election change. A lot of credit goes to HQ for enabling us to do this as quickly as we did.” Adam went on to describe some of the thinking that was involved in this process. “Is it good governance or bad governance to extend or change the election in the middle? LOTS of conversation on that.” In the end, the Board made a conclusion that I agree with: “[It is] bad governance to change the election, BUT governance isn’t just about trying to err on the side of good or bad governance, but also about keeping a community what we want it to be.” The Board decided it was more important to keep the community whole than to perfectly adhere to policies they had enacted.

Another topic that has ben on people’s minds is the decision to commit to continuing to develop the Business Analytics (BA) Conference. At the Blogger Q and A, Thomas LeBlanc (Blog|Twitter) asked why this investment was going to continue given the challenges it has faced. Thomas LaRock gave the first response. “Three years ago, Microsoft came to us and said, ‘You guys have built something incredible. Can you go find the Business Analytics folks?” Basically, PASS has helped to build and foster an amazing community around Microsoft data technologies in terms of those who develop tools, and provided the services for others to do so. Microsoft asked PASS to try to do the same thing for the people who consume those services and that data. In the age of Self Service and tools like Power Pivot, there is certainly some overlap in terms of people enable analysis of data and those of perform that analysis. But largely, the audience for the BA Conference is one that PASS has not really targeted or served before.

Regarding the fact that the BA Conference has not really found its footing yet, Denise contributed, “You learn as you go. We didn’t quite hit the mark on getting the program and audience matched up. We tried to be too many things to too many people.” She added that PASS does Community very well. I have to agree on that. And that Community really helps people develop and learn. Attendees at PASS events often have great experiences of learning something cool and saying, “I’m going to try this at work on Monday.” According to Denise, “We want to create THAT experience for the business data user.”

Adam acknowledged that there have been questions around why PASS didn’t just do a BI (Business Intelligence) conference. “It’s not about BI. And if you do a BI conference, where does half of Summit go?” He then added what I feel is a great point, “We don’t want to split audiences up; we want to bring them together.” This is key as it reinforces that understanding that many of us have that the audience for the BA Conference is not really a subset of the existing PASS Summit audience; it is a different group of people that PASS has not served before. As Adam explained, “Are we taking something away? We’re not. We are building something new that is additive.”

Regarding BA Conference location, the first was in Chicago. Last year was held in San Jose, CA. Next year will be in Santa Clara CA. 2016 is back in San Jose. Thomas LeBlanc asked why the BA Conference is not as mobile as Summit. According to Denise, “Silicon Valley was strategic. Silicon Valley is on the leading edge with what is happening with Analytics. By locating there, we thought we would have access to a pool of speakers that would be local to the conference.” The idea is that this would make it easier to get speakers. Locating in Silicon Valley is not just about speakers, though. Denise continued, “Lots of the target audience lives there. Exhibitors would be nearby and it would be easy to get them.”

The topic of Speakers brought forth the topic of the decision NOT to have a Community Call For Speakers for the BA Conference this year. Instead, the speakers will be invited only. For many, this is seen as a problem. I, myself, being a speaker who has content appropriate for business users, was disappointed by this decision at first. But the more I thought about it, the more it made sense to me. In the existing PASS Community, we have a lot of presenters with content around BI. But we have very few with analytics topics. My own content around showing people how to use Power Pivot is still BI, even if it is aimed at the business user. It is still about enabling analytics as opposed to performing analytics. Adam pointed out that when Summit first started, there was not Community Call For Speakers. According to Adam, “We have looked at the [evaluation] results over the past few years. People liked it but the program was mis-targeted to them.” Some have asked why the board did not choose to do a community call for a percentage of the sessions. Adam indicated that the board discussed that and arrived at this though: “What percentage is acceptable to be NOT OK with attendees? That would be zero.” I have to agree with Adam, here. That is also why I totally understand why I did not receive an invitation to speak. I have not demonstrated that I have content appropriate to an Analytics audience.

At this point it is appropriate to bring in some comments from the separate Q and A about the BA Conference. Jen Stirrup (Blog|Twitter), Director-at-Large, Virtual Chapters, gave further explanation behind the decision to keep forging ahead. “We did a lot of research with the BA Conference. People are really excited in Microsoft products, so that will continue to be a base. But, Tableau, for example, has its own user conference. We don’t want to just create another Tableau conference. I have spoken at those. They were much more sales driven and about user stories. With PASS, the main emphasis is on practicality. Learn on one day and apply it on the next.” She then put a key difference between BI and Analytics that I had not heard before: “BI projects focus on deliverables. BA stuff focus on business value.” That makes sense to me. With BI, we work to produce some object, whether it be a data model, cube, report, dashboard… As Jen added about Business Analytics, “[it] is less time-boxed and more value oriented.”

Amy Lewis (Blog|Twitter), Director-at-Large, PASS Programs, made a fine point here as well: “One thing we did poorly before was focusing on the tools. We saw we need to stop focusing on the architect perspective and more on the data analyst standpoint.” When asked about the personas present in the intended audience, Denise added, “We have come to understand it is not about job title. It was about what they do all day. What they have in common is Find Data, Make Sense, Produce Something With Impact.” Denise went on to point out that there were marketing issues in the past. “As far as Marketing, last year people thought it was a SQL conference. It has its own site, now. All the messaging is consistent now to clarify that.” Head on over to the new website to learn more about the new and improved messaging.

I want to close with a direct request from the Board. Adam pointed out that the PASS Board are fairly reachable people and are happy to respond to questions they receive. He stressed, “I would request that if you want to know the answer to a question, ASK THE QUESTION. We are happy to have conversation, but the judge, jury, and executioner style is just NOT productive.” Adam gave a great example of a blogger who wanted some facts for a blog post and ended up having a great conference call with several board members to get the information he needed. Tom then added, “I have really enjoyed this blogger Q and A at Summit. We should find a way to do this more.” We discussed the idea of doing this quarterly or something and in a format like #DataChat on Twitter happens now. That sounds like a good plan and a good way to help people who may feel they are not being heard to have another avenue to speak out.

I hope you found this helpful. I certainly feel better about these topics having attended the Q and A sessions and put in the work to write this up.

My Remaining 2014 Presentation Schedule

13 November, 2014 (14:00) | PASSMN, Presentations, Professional Development, SQLSaturday | By: Mark V

Greetings. Since I do a fair amount of presenting, I like to keep people up to date on when and where I will present. Below are the presentations I have left in 2014.

SQL Saturday Winnipeg – November 22

In addition to serving on the committee that is organizing Winnipeg’s first SQL Saturday, I will be giving two presentations:

Analysis Services Terms and Concepts for the DBA

MDX Trek: First Contact

Minnesota BI User Group – December 2

I will be presenting a Case Study along with someone I worked with at a client. This is a make-up for September when a back spasm prevented me from delivering this presentation.

Case Study: Monitoring SSAS Usage with Extended Events

How do you measure the success of a Self Service Business Intelligence initiative? While the answer to that question has several components, a vital one is Adoption. Are people using the assets created for that initiative? Since Business Intelligence is using data to make better decisions, why not use data to help answer this question? At Capella University, we did just that.

This case study will describe how we used Analysis Services Extended Events to track the usage of Tabular Models that Capella built for Self Service BI users. We will demonstrate the following:

The business case for capturing asset usage

The particular goals Capella had in this case

How easy it is to get started with SSAS Extended Events (far easier than it looks)

The end-to-end solution created: from the event trace itself thru to the Power Pivot model created for analysis

Lessons learned (some learned the hard way)

We hope you will come away from this presentation with less trepidation around SSAS Extended Events as well as a foundation you can use for your own solution.

Minnesota SQL Server User Group (PASSMN) December Meeting – December 16

I will be participating in an Improv-style group presentation based on the format of the TV Show Whose Line is it Anyway? with other speakers from the Twin Cities.

 

Pragmatic Works Free Training Series – December 18

 

Analysis Services Terms and Concepts for the DBA

This is a make-up for September when a back spasm prevented me from delivering this presentation.

 

So, that’s it for the rest of 2014. Overall, it has been a pretty busy year as far as presenting goes. I hope to continue that in 2015.

PASS Summit 2014 Live Blog – Keynote Day 2

6 November, 2014 (10:10) | SQL | By: Mark V

Good morning. It is time for the fabtastical Day 2 Keynote here at PASS Summit. Attendees are filing and we will get started in a few minutes.

10.14

I love the smell of #SQLServer in the morning. Smells like Awesome.

10.16

Adam Jorgensen taking the stage. #HiAdam #sqlpass

10.18

Adam: PASS Summit generates .9 Million in revenue. The PASS BA Conference generates .3 Million. #sqlpass

10.21

Adam: Starting in Fiscal 2015, we will budget budget summaries. #sqlpass

10.24

Sorry for the silence. Having connectivity issues… #SadPanda #sqlpass

10.25

Grant Fritchey joining the board on January 1. #ScaryBoardMember #sqlpass

10.25

PASS TV makes Summit a global experience. #sqlpass

10.26

Denise: PASS is a great enabler for personal growth. #Truth #sqlpass

10.28

PASSion Award Winner: Andrey Korshikov! #sqlpass

10.29

Andrey is a PASS Regional Mentor and organizer of several Russian language PASS Events. Awesome! #sqlpass

10.32

PASS Business Analytics Conference 2015 in Santa Clara, CA April 20-22 #sqlpass

10.33

Denise: Make sure to update your member profile on sqlpass.org to find out opportunities to volunteer. #sqlpass

10.34

Make sure to bring your attendee badge to get into the Community Appreciation Party tonight. #sqlpass

10.34

PASS Summit back here in Seattle October 27-30 2015. #sqlpass

10.36

Rimma Nehme, Principal Engineer at Microsoft Jim Gray System Lab, taking the stage. #sqlpass

10.36

Cloud Databases 101: Cloudy with a chance of more clouds, all with data. #ThingsAreLookingUp #sqlpass

10.38

Rimma: Trying to be a man is a waste of a woman. #Awesome #sqlpass #WIT

10.39

Rimma: I know a little bit about databases. #Understatement #sqlpass

10.39

Rimma: I’m a HUGE fan of the PASS community! #LoveIt #sqlpass

10.41

Rimma: Why cloud computing? #sqlpass

10.41

Rimma: With cloud technology being relatively new, it creates “Shiny Object Syndrome” #sqlpass

10.42

Rimma: Cloud = Service. On demand, anywhere, anytime. #sqlpass

10.43

Rimma: Blame networking people for the name Cloud Computing. #sqlpass

10.44

Rimma: Cloud Computing = On demand self-service. #DoItYourSelfYo #sqlpass

10.45

Rimma: One person and a credit can tap into the largest computing resource pool in the world. #sqlpass

10.45

Hm. I wonder what my Data Credit Score is…. #sqlpass

10.46

Rimma: Cloud computing reduces dev time and effort as you don’t need to spin up your own infrastructure. #sqlass

10.47

First wave of Massive Computing started in the 1960s with Super-Computers and Mainframes. #sqlpass

10.49

Rimma: The future of the Data Center is shipping containers full of servers. #ModularDataHomes #sqlpass

10.51

Rimma: Resources are NOT infinite. Optimizing for energy efficiency is leadership. #sqlpass

10.54

Take advantage of Evaporative Cooling. #DataScience? #sqlpass

10.56

Rimma: So that is Why Cloud. Now, what is Cloud DB? Take Earthed DB and add Service. Voila! #sqlpass

10.59

Rimma: Pizza as a service. On prem: you do it all. #sqlpass

10.59

Rimma: The other extreme is Cloud: Dining Out. The vendor manages everything. #sqlpass

11.00

Showing Pizza as a Service with no Pie Charts! Woohoo! #sqlpass

11.04

Dr. Nehme giving so much awesome information, I am having trouble keeping up. #GoodProblemToHave #sqlpass

11.05

Dr. Nehme: Maybe you will invite me back for another Keynote. #YesPlease #sqlpass

11.07

Dr. Nehme: starting up the bathroom analogy for virtualization. #sqlpass Hard to share efficiently.

11.07

Dr. Nehme: With virtualization, you lose direct access to computing resources. #sqlpass

11.08

Dr. Nehme: Virtualization is wonderful, but you have to keep in mind the trade-offs. #OftenWorthIt #sqlpass

11.09

Dr. Nehme: Server consolidation can lead to great energy savings as well. #sqlpass

11.11

High Availability with Pizza: If your delivery person gets lost, you still get the pizza from another. #sqlpass

11.13

Dr. Nehme: If application independence is VERY important to you, avoid the share schema approach of Multi-Tenancy. #sqlpass

11.14

Dr. Nehme is making the complex simple through great analogies. Fantastic job and a great example to follow. #sqlpass

11.15

Dear presenters: Please not that Dr. Nehme has not read to us. Not even once. :) #sqlpass

11.16

Dr. Nehme: a quick peek at the Azure SQL DB architecture. (I will try to keep up). #sqlpass

11.17

Dr. Nehme: Designed with High Availability in mind. #sqlpass

11.18

Azure SQL DB includes layers of abstraction to that you don’t need to deal with it. #DatabasesToTheMasses #sqlpass

11.20

Dr. Nehme: SQL Node architecture – The log files are shared across multiple databases. #SomeSharing #sqlpass

11.21

Dr. Nehme: The SQL Azure Gateway Service manages the traffic to make Azure SQL DB work. #sqlpass

11.22

Dr. Nehme: Do we still need a DBA in the Cloud Era? YES. ABSOLUTELY. #StretchToCloud #sqlpass

11.23

With Cloud Era, the on-premise story does NOT go away. There will be lots of hyrbid solutions REQUIRING on-prem. #sqlpass

11.23

Dr. Nehme: DBAs should add Cloud expertise and start calling themselves a Cloud DBA. #sqlpass

11.25

Dr. Nehme: You DBAs will become the Cloud DBAs. Embrace it! #sqlpass

11.26

Dr. DeWitt joining Dr. Nehme on the stage. “He has been a great mentor.” #NoDoubtAboutIt #sqlpass

11.26

Thank you, Dr. Nehme. That was fantastic. #sqlpass

11.27

Dr. Nehme received a well-deserved standing ovation. #sqlpass

11.28

Dr. Nehma: All you guys in kilts, please come take a picture with me in front of the stage. That is really cool. #sqlpass #SQLKilt

11.29

That wraps up the keynotes for Pass Summit 2014. Thanks so much for following. #sqlpass

PASS Summit 2014 Live Blog – Keynote Day 1

5 November, 2014 (10:01) | SQL | By: Mark V

Good morning from Seattle. I will be live blogging the Keynotes today and tomorrow. Things will get started shortly.

10.06

The Show will be starting in about ten minutes.

10.11

It’s great to see so many attendees filing in taking pictures of the room and the crowd. #SQLPASS

10.17

Today’s Keynote speakers include high level Data Platform executives within Microsoft. #WhereAreWeGoing #SQLPASS

10.19

James Phillips is the head of Azure/BI. This includes owning the direction of #PowerBI #sqlpass

10.20

Joseph Sirosh heads up the Information Management and Machine Learning group. #sqlpass

10.20

Ranga Rengarajan leads the Database and Big Data engineering business. #sqlpass

10.21

I love that Microsoft sees the value in #sqlpass and takes it seriously. #WeArePass

10.22

Today’s Theme: Evolving Microsoft’s Data Platform – The Journey to Cloud and Continues #sqlpass

10.23

PASS President Thomas LaRock on the stage. #HiTom #sqlpass

10.24

Round of applause for the makers of the “Best Data Platform on the planet” #DigIt #sqlpass

10.25

I want to thank the PASS Board Members for the hard work they put in to make PASS awesome. #sqlpass

10.25

PASS Board Q&A on Friday at 1 pm in Room 307-308 #sqlpass

10.26

First PASS Summit in Chicago in 1999 with 1200 attendees. #sqlpass

10.27

Today, PASS summit has 5899 attendees! #sqlpass

10.28

Tom: Community = Opportunities #sqlpass I am living proof of that. PASS has been HUGE for my career.

10.30

Tom: I challenge you to get involved. #sqlpass #DOTHIS Networking at Summit is AMAZING

10.31

The SQL Clinic is a spectacular place to get help with the products. #sqlpass

10.32

New This Year: Abstract workshops with speakers and Program Committee. #sqlpass

10.32

I will be at a Business Intelligence focused table at the Birds of a Feather lunch tomorrow. #sqlpass

10.33

PLEASE make sure to visit the Exhibit Hall to give the partners/sponsors a big THANK YOU! #sqlpass

10.34

Tom: Give vendors/sponsors a hug. #ChuckHuggers cc/ @sqlboywonder #sqlpass

10.36

Tom: PASS has been the cornerstone of my career since 2004. #sqlpass

10.40

Ranga taking the stage. #sqlpass

10.41

Ranga: We’re the only company that has this hyper scale cloud and the Enterprise presence to do magic. #sqlpass

10.42

Ranga: I love maps. I became a member of AAA when I found out they gave me free maps. #sqlpass

10.43

From maps to MapQuest…. #GrowUpStory #sqlpass

10.44

Ranga: Our success at Microsoft in the data world is because of YOU. #sqlpass

10.44

Ranga: EVERY YEAR, there is 41% more data than there was the year before. #sqlpass

10.45

Ranga: Data is the thing that is going to light up future productivity. #TRUTH #sqlpass

10.46

Ranga: “Data Culture” happens when people get the data they need and want when they need it. #sqlpass

10.47

Ranga: The Microsoft data platform enables that progress toward Data Culture. #sqlpass

10.47

Ranga: I am going to focus on the Capture and Manage parts of the data story. #sqlpass

10.48

Ranga: Microsoft is a data platform that doesn’t require you to make compromises. Culture of AND. #sqlpass

10.49

Ranga: Do more; achieve more. #sqlpass

10.50

Ranga: Capture diverse data; Achieve elastic data; Maximize performance & availability; simplify the cloud. #sqlpass

10.51

Azure DocumentDB: NoSQL DB service in the cloud, schema-free, ranging from ACID to eventual consistency. #sqlpass

10.52

Ranga: every application that is made expects a Search window. #Yup #sqlpass #DudeWheresMyData

10.53

Ranga: We think combining On-Premise and Cloud is necessary for the whole data story. #BestOfBothWorlds #sqlpass

10.54

Ranga: Scale Up = on prem SQL Server 2014 AND VMs in Azure. Scale Out = Azure SQL Database. #sqlpass

10.54

Ranga: Use the best tool for the job. #sqlpass

10.55

Tracy Daugherty of Pier1 Imports taking the stage. #sqlpass

10.56

Tracy: One thing we have a LOT of right now: orange pumpkins. #NoDoubt #sqlpass

10.56

Tracy: Azure Search lets us enable “fuzzy” search matching with great ease. #MakeItSimple #sqlpass

10.57

Tracy: Azure Search allows for a Scoring Profile so you can control how results are returned. #sqlpass

10.57

Ranga: Scoring Profile lets you weight the relevance of Search results. #sqlpass

10.58

Azure Search lets you squash the amount of code you need to find pumpkins…. #CouldNotResist #sqlpass

10.59

Tracy: JSON for the win. #sqlpass

11.00

JSON (Java Script Object Notation) is a very popular format for sharing data across platforms. #sqlpass

11.01

Watch me use #PowerQuery on Friday to consume JSON with ZERO CODE with a few clicks. #sqlpass

11.03

Tracy showing how they use Sharding in Azure SQL Database to scale workload easily. #sqlpass

11.05

Tracy is configuring Geo Replication for the main Pier 1 database easily in the Azure Management Portal. #sqlpass

11.06

Geo Replication: Where in the world is my database? There. AND There. AND There. #sqlpass #CultureOfAND

11.07

Ranga: Azure SQL Database has a 99.99% SLA. No one else has that. #sqlpass

11.08

Ranga: When we engineers at Microsoft run a million databases EVERY DAY, we learn things very quickly. #sqlpass

11.08

Ranga: lessons from the cloud enhance the On-Premise products. #CloudFirstFTW #sqlpass

11.09

Ranga: Use the right tool. Sometimes that is cloud. Sometimes on prem. We want that to be seemless. #sqlpass

11.10

Ranga: Take the data from wherever you find it, put it in the RIGHT engine and leave it in the cloud. #sqlpass

11.11

Ranga: Stackoverflow is a key customer. They have broken through limits on SQL Server using clever techniques. #sqlpass

11.12

Ranga: Stackoverflow takes advantage of In-Memory technology and uses it well. #sqlpass

11.13

Ranga: Samsung has seen 24x performance boost using SQL Server In-Memory technology. #sqlpass

11.15

Great to see Microsoft really embracing the idea that Relational is not everything. #PickTheRightEngine #sqlpass

11.15

Ranga: over 1.2 million downloads of #SQLServer 2014 #sqlpass

11.16

Ranga: Announcing a major update to Azure SQL Database. Will be in Preview by end of 2014. #sqlpass

11.17

Ranga: new features include leap in TSQL compatibility, parallel queries, Extended Events, In-Memory ColumnStore #sqlpass

11.19

Ranga: Introducing Mike Zwilling to show some cool stuff around Pier 1 Imports. #DatabaseEngineGoodness #sqlpass

11.19

Mike: People want real-time analytic queries on transcriptional data. #IWantItNow #sqlpass

11.20

Mike: I need your help to generate some load: go to http://aka.ms/gopass to help this demo out. #sqlpass

11.21

Mike: you are generating load on a beck-end SQL Server running In-Memory OLTP. #sqlpass

11.22

Mike showing LIVE analytics on top of transnational database we are hitting. Really cool. #sqlpass

11.23

Mike: we have a combination of the In-Memory engine AND a non-clustered ColumnStore index on the SAME table. #sqlpass

11.25

Mike: that ability to STRETCH a table to reach from On-Premise to Azure. The SAME table. #sqlpass

11.26

While the table is being stretched, you can still query it. #sqlpass

11.27

Looks like Ranga bought a “Hug Chuck” T shirt. #ChuckHuggers /cc @SQLBoyWonder #sqlpass

11.28

Mike: When you stretch a table, the bulk of the work happens with resources in Azure, not On-Premise. #sqlpass

11.29

Mike: we lost the on-premise server. I need to restore JUST THE LOCAL portion of the database. #sqlpass

11.29

In a few seconds, the on prem was restored and synchronized from Azure and we are back up and running. #sqlpass

11.30

Ranga: With this technology, you get the benefit of the Hyper Scale cloud in an invisible way. #sqlpass

11.30

Joseph Sirosh taking the stage to talk about Machine Learning, etc. #sqlpass

11.31

Joseph calling on the crowd to do the wave. #ContinuousIntegration #sqlpass

11.32

…and people actually did it. #sqlpass

11.33

Joseph: You want to understand the past, analyze the present, and predict what’s next. #sqlpass

11.34

Joseph: Azure Data Factory is in-Cloud data movement for moving data around. #sqlpass

11.35

Joseph: ANNOUNCING Free Azure Machine Learning at azure.com/ml #sqlpass

11.36

Joseph: We are democratizing data and capabilities. #BIToTheMasses #sqlpass

11.36

Sanjay Soni taking the stage to lead a demo around Pier 1. #sqlpass

11.37

Do we see a Pier 1 Import/Output Wizard in the future? #Joking #sqlpass

11.37

Sanjay showing In-Store Analytics using Kinect as a source…. #sqlpass

11.39

Sanjay showing heat map in #PowerMap visualization the customer movement in the store. #sqlpass

11.39

Sanjay showing how they used Azure Data Factory. “Think of SSIS to the power of X in the cloud.” #sqlpass

11.40

Joseph: You’re seeing a browser-based authoring environment. #sqlpass

11.41

Joseph: The speed at which you can get Data to work for you using this tool is amazing. #sqlpass

11.41

Joseph: all this through a browser and JSON documents. #sqlpass

11.42

Joseph: The data is flowing into Azure via Kinect sensors, ADF, and Azure Streaming Analytics. #sqlpass

11.43

Sanjay showing real-time (seconds) data visualizations about what is happening in the store RIGHT NOW. #NoPieCharts #sqlpass

11.44

Sanjay: How many lines of code to make this happen? FOURTEEN. #sqlpass

11.44

Sanjay: Azure Machine Learning is my new favorite product. AWESOME! #sqlpass

11.46

Sanjay now showing a Pier 1 app on his phone. #sqlpass

11.47

It’s not an iPhone. #JustSaying #sqlpass

11.47

Pier 1 was able to send Sanjay recommendations to his phone, with speech. #sqlpass

11.48

Sankay using speech recognition to find what he asked for and display it on the in-store map. #cool #WhereDoYouWantToGoToday #sqlpass

11.49

Since he searched for glasses, the app determined he might also be interested in other table ware. #sqlpass

11.50

Joseph: We are trying to make the BEST platform to analytics across On-Premise and Cloud. #sqlpass

11.50

James Phillips taking the stage. #PowerBI #ILoveIt #sqlpass

11.51

James: We want to bring insights to more people – faster #sqlpass

11.51

ANYONE that makes decisions can make better ones with better information. Not just for the C-Suite anymore. #sqlpass

11.52

James: Simplify data discovery. #PowerQuery #PowerPivot #sqlpass

11.53

#PowerQuery has had over 320,000 downloads since February of 2014. #sqlpass

11.54

James: Do more; achieve more: Simplify data discovery; deliver faster insight; connect to on-premise; enable data culture. #sqlpass

11.55

James: ANNOUNCING: Interactive Query – from Power BI, connect back to on-premise SSAS while keeping the data on prem. #sqlpass

11.55

James: Data sitting at rest has potential. We want to unlock that. #DataDividends #sqlpass

11.56

James: LIVE OPERATIONAL DASHBOARD #sqlpass

11.57

This is a NEW Power BI, not the same one we know and love right now. #sqlpass

11.57

The current one is NOT going away. We are just getting a new story to go along with it. #PowerBI #sqlpass

11.59

James is not using Q & A to create new visualizations based on corporate data and “pinning” them to his dashboard. #sqlpass

12.00

YOU get a dashboard. And YOU get a dashboard. And YOU get a dashboard… #Oprah #sqlpass #PowerBI

12.01

James: I don’t like Pie charts so I am going to make this a tree map, instead. #Winning #DataViz #sqlpass

12.01

James just signed into One-Drive and is connecting to an Excel Spreadsheet FROM POWER BI IN THE CLOUD #sqlpass

12.02

James combining charts by dragging one chart onto another. #Boom #sqlpass

12.03

James: This new #PowerBI is in private preview and will be hitting public preview soon. PowerBI.com #sqlpass

12.04

Ranga: Try Azure Machine Learning to day for a free trial with a Live ID. #NotTotallyFreeIfItIsJustATrial #sqlpass

12.04

Ranga: Be the hero of your data-driven business. #sqlpass

12.06

That wraps up the PASS Summit 2014 Keynote day 1. Thanks for following along. See you tomorrow morning! #sqlpass

PASS Voting Extension

30 September, 2014 (11:31) | PASS | By: Mark V

Greetings. PASS announced over the weekend that they were extending the deadline for updating your PASS Profile in order to be eligible to vote in the current Board of Directors Election. See the announcement from PASS President Thomas LaRock.

It is important that we all have our chance to cast our vote for the open Board positions. In case people are having issues receiving emails about this from PASS, I have pasted the steps present in the email I received. Please take a moment to make sure your voice is heard! #WeArePASS

 

Extension to Voting Period for 2014 PASS Board of Directors Elections

To address issues around voting eligibility for the current PASS Board of Director elections, the PASS Board voted today to extend this year’s registration and voting period to ensure that as many members as possible have the ability to cast their ballot. Here are the key dates in the extension:

October 5: All PASS members as of June 1, 2014, who have not already registered to vote by updating their myProfile on myPASS will now have until October 5 to update their profile.

October 6: We will pull an updated list of registered voters and filter for duplicates.

October 7: We will send all newly registered voters an email with their ballot link.

October 14: All voting will close at noon PDT.

How does this decision affect you?

If you already voted

You don’t need to do anything. All votes currently cast will remain valid, there will be no need to recast any votes.

If you already received a ballot but haven’t voted yet

You can cast your vote any time until the deadline on October 14 at noon PDT.

If you established your PASS profile after June 1, 2014

You are not eligible to vote in the current election, but you are already eligible to vote in next year’s elections if you have an up-to-date profile.

If you had a profile prior to June 1, 2014, but have not yet updated your profile

Please follow these steps in order to register and received a ballot to vote in this year’s elections:

Step 1: Update your PASS membership profile by October 5, 2014, 11:59pm PDT.
New mandatory fields were added in January, 2014. Please log in to confirm your PASS profile information is correct and fill out the new mandatory fields, including: Job Function, Industry, Country, Region, City, Zip Code/Postal Code, and Time Zone.

Step 2: Click ‘Save’ and make sure you see the words ‘Profile Updated and Voting Eligibility Recorded’ appear underneath the ‘Save’ button.
If you update your profile by October 5, 2014, you will receive a ballot on October 7, 2014.

Thanks for your patience and feedback as we work through these voting changes, and we apologize for any inconvenience.

To help PASS communicate important news and reminders, and in order to receive future voting ballots, please take the following steps to ensure our messages can reach you:

  • Ensure the PASS IP address is whitelisted on your company or email address provider’s servers: 68.232.200.32.
  • Add hq@sqlpass.org to your safe sender list and as a contact.
  • Check spam folders regularly for important messages.
  • If you believe that you are not receiving PASS emails, please contact helpdesk@sqlpass.org to let us know!

We Are PASS

27 September, 2014 (09:10) | PASS | By: Mark V

If you have been following the recent difficulties around the PASS election of Board Members, you will no doubt have noticed a climate of negativity and sometimes bashing. This has made me really sad to see in a community that I care a lot about. Rather than provide yet another blog post that goes into the details, I instead want to say Thank You to a lot of people.

Thank You to the people that have been raising issues and offering ideas. While I may not agree with the way in which these issues were raised, or the tone present, there were some good points made. You Are PASS.

Thank You to the PASS Board of Directors that worked through/around so much negativity to keep the Community in mind while striving to implement solutions. You took a lot of heat and, as far as what I saw, you handled yourselves with professionalism and patience. It was clear to me during this entire process that you care deeply about the PASS community and work hard to make it as strong as possible. You Are PASS.

Thank You to the people who have been understanding of the difficulties and stayed positive about the willingness of PASS BOD to work through these difficulties. You Are PASS.

PASS has been a huge asset to me in my career in working with SQL Server and related technologies. I feel that I owe a lot to the existence of this organization and the people within it who work so hard to keep it strong and help it grow. That includes the PASS members throughout the world. Thank you. You Are PASS.

My great hope with these recent events around the election and the events surrounding the PASS Summit selection process is that we, as a community, will learn something. The key idea that I think has been lacking on the part of some folk within the community is that everyone involved here, from the BOD to the various committees, to the PASS members ALL want this community to thrive. I would ask that, in the future, those of us who want to raise issues, those who want to make sure their voice is heard, etc, will base how we raise those issues by keeping one, very important idea in mind as we do so: WE ARE PASS.

Show Me The Data

18 August, 2014 (11:00) | Presentations | By: Mark V

ShowMeTheDataMEME

In the 1996 film, Jerry Maguire, sports agent Jerry, portrayed by Tom Cruise, is given a very clear demand by his sole remaining client, portrayed by Cuba Gooding Jr. (who won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for this role): SHOW ME THE MONEY. It does not take much time or effort to see that this is the essence of what businesses must do to survive. If they cannot show the money in some way, they will go away. The culture we have today, at least here in the United States, is very much driven by money: on Wall Street, on Main Street, in Politics, in the Legal system to an extent, in Journalism to an extent… That SHOW ME THE MONEY idea is everywhere. But we have been seeing a bit of a shift in HOW that money gets shown. It is not just about selling more widgets or getting higher ratings anymore. More and more organizations are realizing the untapped potential that is their DATA. Some have understood this for years. Facebook, for example, is in essence a data aggregator and reseller, using what we share, and the metadata around what we share, as a PRODUCT to sell. Have no illusions, my friends, we are NOT Facebook’s customers, we are the producers of their product: data. That data has been and will continue to be crucial to the strategic decisions of Facebook. They are not alone in relying heavily on data.

AssumptionsMEMEThink about how Netflix transformed how we watch movies (and TV). They rely immensely on data to drive their entire business model. They use data to drive how movies are displayed to their users. They don’t leave that up to people sitting in a board room playing politics over their own ideas. It is driven by data flowing through algorithms. And it WORKS. The rise of Netflix and the demise of Blockbuster can attest to that. Netflix prevailed, in my opinion, largely because they focused on staying ahead of their customers instead of trying to keep up with their competitors. How many companies spend so much time trying not to fall too far behind their competitors? Organizations that do this are, unconsciously, working to achieve mediocrity.

How often do people make decisions about their Business based on information they believe to be true? How often do we, as consumers, make purchases based on believing information provided to us by manufacturers or advertisers? On the whole, as consumers, we tend not use data all that well. Shouldn’t we demand more? Shouldn’t we demand to the people trying to sell us their products and their ideas: SHOW ME THE DATA? We can. We just have to choose to do so. And as business leaders, BetterDecisionsMEMEwe need to rely less on that gut feel and intuition and more on the reality that is before us. We, as global citizens today, need to stop looking to the Media or the Internet for information that makes us feel good about the assumptions we have already made and like. We need to, instead, seek information on the reality of our situation. That reality, for organizations, is often sitting in storage arrays and hard drives as flat files and databases. In some cases, showing the money even just boils down to putting your data to work. I have worked on projects for clients that held large amounts of data on their clients in their industry. The solutions I helped create allowed these organizations to provide their clients’ own data back to them, along with helpful analysis, as a premium service. These organizations turned their DATA into a revenue stream. They stopped just storing their data and started using it.

There is a presentation I have given before titled Keeping the Business in Business Intelligence. In that presentation, I boil down what Business Intelligence is in four simple, yet impactful words: BETTER DECISIONS THROUGH EVIDENCE. When all is said and done, the real point behind any data-driven application or solution, particularly BI, is to make better decisions. As an example, organizations measure performance in order to DECIDE what activities to stop, continue, start, increase, decrease, etc. The word EVIDENCE there is key. Making better decisions is not just about Data. It is about the RIGHT data. It is about accurate, timely data. It is about data that has been deemed trustworthy. It is not really about getting more data, either. To me, the promise of Big Data is not that it lets us use ever larger, more diverse sources of data AllTheDatasMEMEas a whole, but rather that those technologies help us comb through every more vast sets of data to find the bits that we need. It seems like a subtle difference, but I think it is an important one.

As the Subject Matter Expert in the development of the new BI offering we are rolling out at Digineer, the consulting firm I work for and adore, I was able to fold these ideas and philosophy into the foundation of our point of view on BI. I am proud of the way I have been able to drive the overall story. I will be co-presenting with a colleague on Wednesday, August 27 at 11am CDT on the concepts laid out here and more examples from the real world (some Digineer clients, some not). The presentation will focus on how organizations like Netflix have been able to use data effectively in driving their strategy. It will NOT be a big long sales pitch. It will be very much about the concepts above and hopefully inspire people to make better use of an asset that has huge potential be transformative for their organizations. If you would like to join in the discussion, I would encourage you to follow the link, Imagine What You Can Do With Data, and register. I am confident you will take away some valuable ideas on how you can prepare yourself for the next time someone makes this demand of you: SHOW ME THE DATA.

My First Pre-Con: SQL Saturday 332–Minnesota

21 July, 2014 (09:47) | Pre-Cons, Presentations, Professional Development, SQLSaturday | By: Mark V

It is with tremendous joy (and a little trepidation) that I announce that I will be doing my very first Pre-Con as part of SQL Saturday 332 in Minnesota in October. I have been presenting for several years now and feel that it is time to take this next big step. Since I love presenting so much, the idea of presenting for a whole day is just awesome. There is a also quite a bit more pressure in this scenario. But that is part of what makes this a great growth experience, stretching myself like I have never done before.

Over the past several months, I have done a lot of client work in Excel dealing with Power Pivot and Pivot Tables. I have also been doing a bit using Power View up in SharePoint, the vast majority of which carries to Excel 2013 as well. I have always been a fan of enabling users to do more with data and learn to be more self-sufficient. My experiences in Excel have reinforced the idea that Excel is a fantastic platform in the Self-Service BI movement. The past several months working with data in Excel have been some of the most fun in my career. So, when I needed a topic for a BI Pre-Con, the choice was easy.

You can find information on all the SQL Saturday 332 Minnesota Pre-cons here. It is an impressive line-up, to be sure. The abstract for mine is below.

Microsoft Excel: The Business Intelligence Platform For The Masses

From gathering and shaping source data through data modeling and visualizations, it is staggering how much you can accomplish in Excel. This Pre-Con will walk you through creating an interesting and powerful BI solution in Microsoft Excel 2013. Whether you are a business user or a technical developer, you will get good value from attending.

1. Power Query 

• Using Power Query to gather source data from various sources both on-premise and in the cloud. 

• Use various transformations on the Ribbon

• Travel back and forth through time via Query Steps

• The basics of Power Query Formula Language (M)

2. Modeling Data With Power Pivot

• Importing Data from various sources

• Linking Tables to data residing directly in Excel sheets

• The importance of Date Tables

• Best Practices

3. DAX 101

• Introduce DAX syntax beginning with Calculated Columns including the mighty Related function

• The basics of the Calculated Fields (Measures)

• Row context/filter context

• The power of the CALCULATE function

• More…

4. Power Pivot/DAX Design Patterns

• Solving real-word problems with Power Pivot

• Many to Many relationships

• Parent-Child Hierarchies

• Segmentation

• More…

5. Excel Pivot Tables/Charts

• Connecting Excel to data sources like SSAS Cubes, Tabular Models, and the internal Power Pivot model

• Pivot Table basics

• Filtering methods and Slicers

• Conditional formatting

• Pivot Charts

• More…

6. Power View

• The basic visualizations (Bars, Columns, Matrix, etc)

• Advanced visualizations (Multiples, Cards, Scatter/Bubble Charts, etc

• Filtering views or the entire report

• Design tips to take great advantage of Power View’s capabilities

 

I will be focusing on using Excel 2013 on my machine. There is so much to cover that trying to add in Power BI-specifics is just not in the cards. But I think that makes sense as SO many more people have Excel on their machines than are using Power BI right now. And SO few of those people are taking advantage of even a tiny subset of what Excel has to offer. A major goal of this Pre-Con is to help change that.

My PASS Summit 2014 Submission Feedback

3 July, 2014 (16:50) | PASS, Presentations, Professional Development, Summit | By: Mark V

Speakers have been asking PASS for feedback regarding their Summit submissions for a few years. This year, following a bit of a heated “discussion,” PASS announced that session feedback would be available upon request. I, like so many other speakers had done, applaud this decision. PASS did make it clear that the both the quantity and the quality of the feedback varies widely.

I am a big proponent of learning from the experiences of others. As such, in the hopes that someone can learn something from the feedback I got, I hereby share what I received. I want to thank the reviewers who took the time to make these comments.

Analysis Services Terms and Concepts For The DBA (REGULAR SESSION – NOT SELECTED)

ABSTRACT

Despite some overlapping concepts, the worlds of the Relational engine and Analysis Services really are quite different. With more and more organizations realizing the power of Analytics, there is a good chance a BI initiative will come your way at some point.

 

This session is intended for the DBA that wants/needs to learn more about SQL Server Analysis Services. The goal is to provide a meaningful base of knowledge that will allow you to effectively participate in discussions of Analysis Services in your organization.

 

Through both slides and demos, you will learn:

– The differences between SSAS Multidimensional and SSAS Tabular

– Key terms like Measures, Dimensions, and Hierarchies

– Storage options such as MOLAP, HOLAP, ROLAP, and Direct Query

– Monitoring with Extended Events

– Overviews of MDX, DAX, and XMLA

– And more

 

Come take a few steps into the exciting world of Business Intelligence with SQL Server Analysis Services.

FEEDBACK

Seems this may be a 100 level session
Good topic, sounds more like a 100-level session to me.
No need of prerequisites to be SQL Server Administrator. should also focus on OLAP DW part and schema concept, slice and dice part of SSAS OLAP cube if someone wants to show the power of BI Analytics using SQL server analysis services.
Thanks,
Excellent and useful topic!

 

DANGER: The Art and Science of Presenting (REGULAR SESSION – NOT SELECTED)

ABSTRACT

Over the past decade, we have learned a lot about the chemistry of the brain and why humans react the way we do to events in our environment. The idea of Emotional Intelligence – EQ – is a compelling concept that applies this knowledge in a set of learn-able, improvable skills for leading others. Although EQ is often applied to corporate leadership, this session will explain the basics of EQ and demonstrate how you can use it to make your presentations better in the following areas:

 

• Crafting better slide decks

• Preparing yourself for presenting

• Delivering your content

• Dealing with the unexpected

 

Understanding and practicing the concepts of EQ can make your presentations a better experience for everyone in the room – including you.

NOTE

This session was chosen as an Alternate last year and I ended up presenting. It was greatly successful (narrowly missed being in the Top Ten sessions) so I submitted it again, noting to the committee why I was doing so. That should provide some additional context to some of the feedback.

FEEDBACK

Excellent topic. Excellent consistency across session name, abstract, topic and goals. Perhaps, given the topic, some real examples should have been added. Reference to PASS is 2013 should have been avoided.
While the abstract and topic are great I’m not sure that we would want to see a repeat session from last year.
Delivered too recently at the past Summit. Very targeted audience.
The abstract goes too much into EQ and feels disconnected from the title.

 

Keeping the "Business" in Business Intelligence (REGULAR SESSION – NOT SELECTED)

ABSTRACT

It is no accident the term “Business Intelligence” starts with “Business.” Any Business Intelligence initiative should, likewise, start with the needs of the Business. For many years, BI was seen as a technology project. This is one reason why so many BI initiatives fail. Rather than a Technology Project, BI is a Business Program. It must grow and evolve as the Business grows and evolves.

 

In this session, we will discuss the following:

– Why BI is a worthwhile investment (using case study examples)

– What criteria to use in determining the success of a BI initiative

– Several reasons why BI initiatives fail

– Critical Success Factors for BI

 

So much of the success for BI happens before the requirements are even gathered. Come learn how you can set yourself up for success with Business Intelligence.

FEEDBACK

Could be an interesting approach to a rather dry topic
The abstract is clear about what will be discussed as for failures of BI projects. If it has real examples, maybe you can get some demo to demonstrate. You can demo the results in chart, as time and effort, even the results.
Thanks for the abstract.

 

Power Query: Data Chemistry for The Masses (REGULAR SESSION – SELECTED)

ABSTRACT

ETL Developers have being doing chemistry with data for years in tools like SQL Server Integration Services. These tools require training, experience, and time that few business users have. But in the age of self-service BI, those business users need a way to shape data to support their analysis.

 

This session will show how Power Query can be easily used to take advantage of data’s properties to drive the change we need to support our goals.

 

We will discuss/demonstrate:

– The simple process of accessing a wide variety of data sources

– The ease with which simple transformations can be achieved using the Power Query Ribbon

– Power Query’s fantastic ability to travel through time to see every step taken with the data

– The foundations of the Power Query Formula Language, informally known as "M"

– Using "M" to take Power Query WAY beyond what the Ribbon has to offer.

 

Come learn about what may well be the most exciting member of the Power BI family.

FEEDBACK

seems like too much to cover in 75

 

MDX Trek: First Contact (REGULAR SESSION – NOT SELECTED)

ABSTRACT

As with so many aspects of life, a solid foundation makes a huge difference. This Star Trek themed introduction to MDX leads you on a voyage through the terms and concepts necessary for a solid foundation for learning this fascinating language. Terms covered include:

– Measures and Measure Groups

– Attributes and Dimensions

– Hierarchies

– Members

– Tuples

– Sets

 

This session also shows how you can think about the cube space in a way that is very easy to understand. The word "cube" suggests a 3 dimensional object. That way of thinking is fraught with confusion. Forget about the Rubik’s Cube. It doesn’t help.

 

With that foundation, we then dive into MDX syntax and fundamentals including:

– Query Axes

– Slicer Axis

– Tuples and Sets

– Hierarchy Navigation Functions

– Crossjoin

– Functions allowing us to travel through time

 

Come join us for a fun voyage through the cube space and boldly go where no MDX presentation has gone before.

FEEDBACK

Is the topic about MDX or DAX? Just got a little bit confused. The abstract states what will be discussed and what the analogy comes from. About the level, it may be better to be at level 100 since it is an introduction of MDX.

 

Getting Started with SSAS Extended Events (LIGHTNING TALK – SELECTED)

ABSTRACT

With SQL Server Profiler on its way to retirement, our friends on the relational database side of the house have already been taking great advantage of the power of Extended Events (XE). There is a lot of great info out there for using XE against the database engine. For Analysis Services, there is a lot less.

 

This Lightning Talk will demonstrate how easy it is to get started very quickly with SSAS XE once you have some basic information.

 

We will demonstrate:

– Creating an SSAS Extended Events Trace which outputs to a .xel file

– Make sure your trace is running via the DISCOVER_TRACES rowset

– Importing the contents of that .xel file into a SQL Server db engine table for analysis

– Deleting the SSAS Extended Events trace

FEEDBACK

Good topic and the abstract explains exactly what the attendee can expect from the session
Great abstract with details on what will be presented and what to expect to learn!
Thanks for the abstract,It’s good to have someone talk on the  power of Extended Events (XEvents) part.

 

Reporting Services Pagination Triple Play (LIGHTNING TALK – NOT SELECTED)

ABSTRACT

The ability to have some control over the pagination of Reporting Services reports has been around a while. But it never hurts to review the fundamentals.

 

This demonstration will cover:

– Basic pagination in Reporting Services using Rectangles (Love these)

– Adding a page name that carries to Excel exports

– Adding a basic Table of Contents to your multi-page report using Bookmarks

– Adding a more dynamic, data driven Table of Contents to your report using Bookmarks and expressions

 

Come on out to this ballgame where we hit on  SSRS pagination with a report about three of the most famous infielders in the history of Baseball.

 

FEEDBACK

Great abstract
Excellent topic that people always ask about in classes
100 demo!
Level appropriate to content
lots to cover in 10 minutes

 

My Takeaways

Given that there seems to be a wide range in terms of quality and quantity provided to speakers, I have to say that I feel I made out pretty well here. I am pretty happy with both the quantity and quality here.

I am a little puzzled about the confusion over whether my MDX session is on MDX or DAX. And I think MDX is complex enough that any session on it is at least a 200 level, particularly given that almost everyone learns TSQL first and must “unlearn” some things in order to grasp MDX.

Given that the Keeping the “Business” in Business Intelligence is about concepts and ideas, and not technology, I am not sure how I could add demo to it that would not be contrived in an attempt just to say there was some demo.

Overall, I am pretty happy with this feedback and glad PASS made the decision to make it available.

Thanks.