Category Archives: speaker

SQL Rally May 11-13 – Expand your BI Skills

SQL Rally is coming soon and I’m really excited to say that I have the honor of speaking there! For those of you who haven’t heard, SQL Rally is a new conference in Orlando, FL intended to complement the PASS Summit held every fall. There are a lot of good reasons to attend SQL Rally, and it’s a great alternative if you haven’t been able to make it to the Summit because of cost, distance, or scheduling conflicts.

The agenda is packed with top speakers and sessions.  Wednesday May 11th has full day optional pre-conference seminars covering 4 different areas, including a BI workshop, Query performance tuning, Database development, and Professional development.  The following two days, May 12-13, have 24 one-hour technical training sessions each day divided into 4 tracks.  I’m going to be presenting The Data Mining Lifecycle to show you how to get started with the data mining tools provided in Analysis Services so you can include data mining in the applications you develop.

The 4 tracks at SQL Rally allow you to get a lot of information in all areas of SQL Server, whether it be database administration, development, or BI.  In my experience I’ve found that spanning multiple tracks is often the best way to get more out of a conference like this.  Since I typically work and speak in the BI space, I have some suggestions to make if you want to develop or expand your BI skills and career by attending some sessions not in the BI track.  Of course, you won’t go wrong with any of the BI sessions, but becoming a top BI developer requires more than what we normally identify as BI skills.

For example:  You’ve been doing a lot of report development with Reporting Services but haven’t delved into other areas of BI.  Catch as many BI track sessions as you can, but get to some of these sessions too:

–  ETL Head-to-Head:T-SQL vs. SSIS by Tim Mitchell

Knowing when to use T-SQL vs. SSIS is key to developing solid ETL.

Writing Faster Queries by Tim Chapman

Fast response to queries and timely data transformation through speedy SQL is always important in BI.

Big and Tall: When to Partition by Kendra Little

Partitioning is a very important skill to have when developing a data warehouse, a data mart, or any dimensional model.

SQL Tricks by A.P. Ward Pond and T-SQL Code Sins: The Worst Things We Do to Code, and Why by Jennifer McCown

Strong T-SQL skills are underrated for BI.

Helping Your Data Warehouse Succeed: 10 Mistakes to Avoid in Data Integration by Rafael Salas

The most difficult part of a Data warehouse project is ETL, so you can never have enough information in this area.

Creating a Metadata Mart with SSIS – Data Governance, Data Profiling & Code Generation by Ira Warren

Metadata lays the groundwork for a solid ETL system and Ira seems to have a great solution.

And of course you have to go to my session The Data Mining Lifecycle by Carlos Bossy

This session is a great way to find out about the potential of analytics and predictive modeling in SQL Server.


By the way, you can still register for SQL Rally at a discount if you do it by April 30 so don’t wait.  I hope to see you there and say hello to you!

SQL Saturday #73 in Orange County

I’m really looking forward to speaking at SQL Saturday in Orange County, California this weekend.  I’ve spoken at 5 of other SQL Saturday events during the past year, but this is a repeat of my first one ever.  I spoke at the one held one year ago in Huntington Beach so I have a soft spot for this event.  I’m delivering two sessions, Business Intelligence for Managers/Decision Makers and The Data Mining Lifecycle.  For those of you who attended my Data Mining presentation last year, the one this year is not the same one.  This one gets into the weeds a little more as to the process you would go through to create a valuable and successful data mining model.  Make sure you check out the rest of the schedule since there are so many good speakers and sessions happening this Saturday near the corner of I-405 and Beach Boulevard.

If you haven’t been to a SQL Saturday, you’ve been missing out.  These events have become gatherings of networking and knowledge exchange like no others I’ve seen.  In fact, the dynamics that make these events so successful deserves a blog post by itself.  Where else can you get 6 sessions of training, a panel discussion at lunch, great prizes, and fun, friendly networking with your peers…all for free?

Speaker Learns Too

I had the privilege of speaking at the Rocky Mountain Tech Tri-Fecta this past Saturday so I did two sessions on BI.  The sessions were variations of other sessions I had presented, but they were still new as I targeted a different audience than the DBA crowd I normally speak to.  The Tri-Fecta is meant for anyone doing work in the Microsoft environment and attendees include a broad spectrum of developers and other people working in the Windows world.

My morning session, The .NET Developer meets Business Intelligence, was intended as an introduction for software engineers who wanted to know more about BI.  I had a good set of demos that showed how to use BI from your .NET code, and I felt well-prepared.  But after 20 minutes into the talk and several questions from the audience, I had to take a step back.  I was flabbergasted to see how little knowledge they had of even the fundamental parts of BI, even in Microsoft terms.  While I planned to demo how to make your applications use Analysis Services, Integration Services and Reporting Services, instead I had to take some time to explain what a cube and a dimensional model are, describe what I meant when I mentioned a Kimball methodology data warehouse, and I spent time describing what data mining is used for.

I learned a lot in this session, maybe more than the audience.