PASS 2016 – A Business Case for Attendance

For those tech professionals who play in the SQL Server and Business Intelligence world (and let me say that’s a huge number!) the PASS Summit provides one of the most fantastic and focused learning and networking experiences available.

I simply cannot think of any other SQL/BI event that brings together such a range of deep expertise and learning, open networking opportunities, knowledge sharing and community involvement than that of PASS.  In fact I know of several of my Aussie counterparts whom attend no other training throughout the year except for the complete 5 day immersion that only PASS can offer.

For those new to PASS – see here http://www.sqlpass.org/summit/2016/Welcome.aspx

I have attended a few PASS events now (and have been lucky enough to present in 2015!) and each event has been better than the last.  With the Call For Speakers now closed I can see that this year’s PASS 2016 in Seattle (Oct 25-28) is shaping up to be yet another fire cracker!

Will I be presenting this year?  Well, I actually didn’t submit any extracts.  I started a job with Microsoft (Azure) and needed to focus on the ever expanding learning curve!

Anyway – I have blogged about my experiences submitting and attending PASS many times…

Unfortunately such amazing resources don’t always come free and these uncertain financial times can create an uncertain training budget for many organisations and individuals alike.

As such for those attendees whom find themselves in this position I have prepared a brief below which can hopefully help you prepare a convincing business case for attendance.  This is one I wrote a few years back after presenting at a few SQL Saturday and PASS virtual chapter sessions and helped me position the key benefits of PASS.

Take from this what you will – and be sure to update this with the most recent content and also to reflect your personal and business circumstances.

GOOD LUCK!  And I hope to see you at PASS 2016!

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A “Business Intelligence” (BI) Definition

Over the years I have presented many times to various clients describing Business Intelligence (BI) solutions using the Microsoft BI solutions stack.

In all of my sessions, regardless of the specific focus, each time I always start with the same 2 content slides.

  • The first is always the positioning graphic from the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence & Analytics.  This shows all top BI vendors and how they are positioned against each other, and is republished yearly (typically in Feb).  This is often a great introduction as to why Microsoft BI is such a great play. If interested an introduction to the paper is here, but you can also find the full report on various web sites (https://www.gartner.com/doc/2989518/magic-quadrant-business-intelligence-analytics)
  • The second is always a definition of exactly what Business Intelligence (BI) actually is, and this is the purpose of this short blog.

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PASS 2015 Session Report – KeyNote and SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines: Features, Best Practices & Roadmap

So PASS officially kicked off this morning leading into the next 3 days of back to back sessions.

You could certainly tell that the keynote was on… I mean the dining room was pumping…!

WhereTheBloodyHellAreYou

 

 

Oh that’s right, everyone is at the keynote!

KeyNoteDay1

 

 

So the Keynote session was hosted by Joseph Sirosh Group Vice President, Data Group.

The big tell for the key note was undoubtedly the SQL Server 2016 CTP3 and just whats packed to the rafters within the software.  If you want to learn more about that then I recommended step across to this link here http://blogs.technet.com/b/dataplatforminsider/archive/2015/10/28/sql-server-2016-everything-built-in.aspx

Key Takeaways from the Keynote;

  • SQL 2016 is really a major release that really solidifies the Microsoft view of a solid foot in both the On Prem and In Cloud data platform camps.
  • “The future is both earth and sky!”
  • The release offers much On Prem capability like Polybase (to APS), R integration (advanced analytics), Always Encrypted, SSAS/SSRS improvements
  • The release also provides the ability to seamlessly integrate from On Prem to Azure Cloud – and/or back like Polybase (to HDInsight), Stretch Database – and SQL already has capability to use Azure VM’s for SQL AAG solutions and Azure backups.
  • An interesting takeaway – the human size of human genome is approx 1.5 Gigabytes, or about 2 CDs worth of storage space.  How small do you feel now?

 

I then attended 4 sessions, but today there is really only time to blog about this one, mostly for me it was the most impressive in regards to capability and just how far its come!

The session was SQL Server in Azure Virtual Machines – Features and Best Practices and was presented by Luis Vargas is a Senior Program Manager Lead in the SQL Server team.

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Pie Charts Aren’t THAT Evil!

Its time to take a well deserved 1/2 time break in my 8 part post series on SQL Partitioning and so I have decided to take a slight “light-hearted” tangent and talk about visualisations, or more specifically Pie Chart visualisations.

In all seriousness, this actually came up as I overheard a conversation at a client site debating the usage of this very visualisation.

Now – If you believe everything you read on the Internet about Pie Charts you may begin to think they are the proverbial trouble-maker of the BI World, but I believe that they deserve a chance to prove themselves!

So to prop up my rickety case, this post will explore Pie Chart Visualization Best Practices and then compare the default Pie Chart visualization from 10x industry leading BI/Reporting Tools to see how they stack up against this Best Practice list.

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