Month: January 2014

Upcoming Presentations: SQL Saturday #241 Cleveland





It is with great joy that I announce that I will be presenting at SQL Saturday in Cleveland on February 8th. I have driven through Cleveland before, but never stopped for long. So, this will be my first real visit. Although, if it helps, I used to love to play as the Cleveland Browns in Tecmo Bowl back in my Nintendo days. I will be giving two sessions.

MDX Trek: First Contact

Cube space; the final frontier. In this Star Trek themed introduction to MDX, we will discuss the fundamentals of cube structure and vocabulary, including tuples, members, sets, hierarchies, and more. We will introduce and demonstrate the basic syntax of MDX with queries that include navigating hierarchies and even some time-based expressions. This session will give you the tools you need to write simple, yet meaningful, MDX queries in your own environment.

Session Level: Intermediate

I love this MDX session. I have given it many times over the past few years. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. It turns out that my view of the Cube space is a bit revolutionary. I have heard that writing MDX was like trying to solve a Rubik’s Cube in your head. When I first started dealing with MDX, I understood what that meant. But I soon found that it need not be that hard. In this session, before diving into code, I explain my model of looking at the Cube space that is much easier to deal with and understand. The Star Trek theme also keeps this really fun.

DANGER: The Art and Science of Presenting

Is there a great difference in the brain chemistry of someone fleeing a hungry mountain lion and someone presenting to a group of colleagues in a corporate board room? The answer is: NO. Over the past decade, a lot has been learned about the chemistry of the brain and why humans react the way we do to events in our environment. The concept of EQ (Emotional Intelligence) is a compelling and growing concept that applies this knowledge in a set of learnable, improvable skills for leading human beings. While EQ is often applied to corporate leadership, the parallels to presenting are fantastic. This session will explain the basics of EQ and demonstrate how you can apply 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.

Session Level: Beginner

In this session, which I gave at the PASS Summit in Charlotte, I introduce the concepts and skills of Emotional Intelligence as they relate to presenting. This, too, has been incredibly well received and the feedback has been spectacular. Presenting is definitely a strength of mine and this session shows some of the mechanics behind my philosophy. This session can not only help you with presentations and their delivery, but also lays a great foundation for leadership and working with other humans.

I am also excited to announce that Digineer, the consulting firm I work for and adore, is a Gold Sponsor for this SQL Saturday. As such, I will also be giving a shorter presentation during lunch. This presentation, “Keeping The Business In Business Intelligence” lays out our philosophy around BI. While this session will touch a bit on Digineer and who we are, it will also be grounded in solid content for achieving success in Business Intelligence initiatives.

SQL Saturday has been a hugely successful program. I have participated in as many SQL Saturdays as I could over the past several years. You can read about many of my experiences in previous posts on this blog. I have to say that SQL Saturdays have been a hugely important part of my growth in working with SQL Server and related tools. The idea of members of the SQL Community (dubbed SQLFamily with good reason) sharing their expertise with others at free events is just exciting and inspiring. I am proud to be a part of these events. I also consider it part of my own personal mission to help encourage new speakers. If you have questions about speaking (or blogging), please come chat with me. I love helping people get started. The more people we have sharing their knowledge and passion, the stronger a community we are.

Oprah And The 2014 PASS Business Analytics Conference

After the success of the 2013 PASS Business Analytics Conference, PASS is doing another one. The 2014 PASS Business Analytics Conference will take place May 7-9 in San Jose, CA.


Last year, I was a speaker as well as part of the official Blogger Core for the event. You can read my posts on this topic:

Who’s Got Two Thumbs And Is Speaking At The PASS Business Analytics Conference?

Business Analytics And PASS: Yes, Please!

PASS Business Analytics Conference – Live Blogging – Keynote Day 1

PASS Business Analytics Conference – Live Blogging – Keynote Day 2

PASS Business Analytics Conference Recap

Alas, I am unable to attend this year. But I wanted to help spread the word about what I feel is a hugely valuable learning opportunity.

In the 1990s, you often heard people talk about the Information Age. This was essentially the revolution of computerization and the adoption of our new digital world. You could argue that we are still in the Information Age, but I think we have transcended that simple definition. Even in the Information Age, information was something to be tightly controlled and protected as an asset; something to be used by the privileged ones.


Analytics solutions were there to be used by senior people in companies in order to drive strategic decisions, etc. It was not something to be shared with just anyone, even within those organizations. What we have seen over the past several years is the adoption of the idea that everyone should have access to better information. The concepts of the Democratization of Data and bringing BI to the Masses have taken root and are driving a lot of the innovation that we have been seeing. With this movement, people are truly realizing that it is not only CXOs and senior managers that need better information to make better decisions.

I picture Oprah standing before all of us, as her audience, saying “YOU get access to better information! And YOU get access to better information! And YOU! and YOU! You ALL get access to better information!”

Image Source:

From the release of Power Pivot for Excel 2010 to the incorporation of Power View into Excel 2013 to the launch of Power BI for Office 365, Microsoft has certainly embraced this viewpoint. Anyone who needs to make decisions can benefit from better information. As such, the role of the Information Worker has expanded to more and more people as the tools of the trade have become much simpler to use. What is key, though, is that people understand how to use this information, and the tools involved, effectively. I have to applaud PASS for creating a Business Analytics Conference at such an important time and continuing to help us make better use of such a highly prized asset.

Although I cannot attend PASSBAC this year, I really want to encourage you to do so if you can. My own experience last year was just fantastic. PASS consistently puts on quality events with great speakers and networking opportunities. And I have no doubt the 2014 PASS Business Analytics Conference will live up to expectations.

NOTE: If you had told me back when I first started blogging that I would feature Oprah in a post, I never would have believed you. But, here we are…

Survey: Changing Model.bim Filename In SSAS Tabular Projects

I am working for a client that has several Tabular models and are developing more. Even thought the process of developing Tabular models in SSDT could use some improvement, I am happy to see this exciting technology being adopted.

I noticed that the models here are pretty much all called Model.bim in the project. I have typically renamed mine to provide better context and never encountered an issue. My thinking was based on the multi-dimensional world in which a Cube called Cube is pretty ambiguous as to what information it contains. Likewise, a table called Table or a database called Database. Those examples are a little different, though, since a tabular project can only contain ONE .bim file at the moment.

William Weber (Blog|Twitter), with whom I am working on this project, pointed out that Books Online indicates that the name of the bim file should not be changed:


There is so little detail here as to make me question what could happen. I reached out in general on Twitter and no one seemed to have a good explanation. Today I asked SSAS Program Manager Kasper de Jonge (Blog|Twitter) directly. Kasper knew of no specific issue, either, and suggested it was probably just not tested. Fair enough.

Although, there does seem to be some gray area here. With this post, my hope is that we can eliminate some of the gray and provide better clarity around this for all of us. I would appreciate responses to this in comments.

1. Do you rename your Model.bim file and why/why not?

2. If you do rename it, have you had issues as a result? If so, what issues?


Power BI Demo Contest Entry

Behold! I hereby present my entry into the Power BI Demo Contest! I am really pumped about this set of tools and hope this demo helps show off what Power BI can do.

You can view it here on my YouTube channel.

Getting a prize would be cool, but I have to say the fun I had making this video and learning more about Power BI was awesome.