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SQLBI - Marco Russo

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First spring conference: PASS Business Analytics Conference and SQL Bits #passbac #sqlbits #sqlpass

Spring is a conferences’ season and the upcoming one is no exception. I will be speaking at PASS Business Analytics Conference 2013, which will be the first event this year, so I’d like to spend a few words about my sessions.

PASS Business Analytics Conference 2013
April 10-12, 2013 | Chicago, IL – United States

This conference is targeted to Business Analytics professionals. Thus, I expect to meet both BI Developers, Excel Advanced Users, Data Analyst and, of course, the new Data Scientist role (if you have a business card with such a definition, please drop me one, so I can demonstrate to skeptic people that this figure actually exists!). I have two sessions:

  • Modern Data Warehousing Strategy
    • April 11th, 2013 – 1:30 pm – Chicago Ballroom VIII
      Track: Strategy and Architecture
    • The recent introduction of new technologies such as PowerPivot, the BI Semantic Model, and columnstore indexes in SQL Server and advances in self-service business intelligence and big data might be considered threats to the classic data warehouse ecosystem. In reality, a good data warehouse is still the best starting point for any kind of analysis, but we do need to update our strategy for data warehouse implementation to fit the requirements of this new era. This session will start the conversation about what a modern strategy for data warehousing can and should be. What type of data modeling should we use for the data warehouse? What is the role of data marts? Does the use of technologies such as PowerPivot or Analysis Services Tabular affect the way we should model our data? Do columnstore indexes remove the need for an analytical server like Analysis Services? We will discuss these and other questions, offering an updated approach to the data warehouse modeling methodology.
  • Self-Service Data Modeling
    • April 12th, 2013 – 1:30 pm – Sheraton Ballroom I & II
      Track: Data Analytics and Visualization
    • Self-service business intelligence looks promising, empowering information workers to grab amazing insights from data. But are Excel 2013 and DAX language knowledge enough to analyze data? The answer in most cases is no – information workers will also need an ability to properly model their data and the skill to use some new tools to reshape data in the correct way. In this session, we will analyze some common problem scenarios where data analysis is difficult due to the shape of the model and see how to solve them.

In theory, I expect two different audiences at the two sessions, but I know that there will be people attending both, especially who provides tools to end users. I’d like to receive feedback about what you would expect to see in such sessions (regardless you will attend or not!), so that I check if I defined the correct expectations for the audience.

If you want to attend, register before March 15 in order to get a discounted price. You can also save $200 by using the code BAC228BL. See you in Chicago!

Published Friday, February 8, 2013 5:50 PM by Marco Russo (SQLBI)



Toufiq Abrahams said:

Great choice of topics! Wish I was going to the conference.

IMHO the modern DW strategy should start with self-service as a means of early validation of requirements and immediate business value. I still believe in the need for proper data management architectures, and think that industry models have matured and are still valid. The only real changes are the way requirements are managed thru self service and hence also the sequence of task execution. The target data management solution remains largely the same, with the addition of complimentary new technology. Your thoughts on what's still valid and what changes interests me.

Your second topic is even more interesting. I have trained many business users to use PowerPivot. The technology is easy to teach and to learn. However this is not the case for building rich analytical models. Typically this is not the dimensional modeler mindset, but for those who can apply these techniques, are equipped with super powers. For those who don't, they still benefit hugely, but more from a productivity perspective than better insight. Your insight into identify and correcting modeling challenges in the face of an Excel community that have acquired habits based on previous toolset limitations is what I would like to hear about. My experience has been that those who latch onto the idea that proper modeling will be most beneficial, have the most to gain ... Including how well this ties into your first topic as an efficient means of taking self service models back to the data management platform.

Best wishes with your sessions!

February 8, 2013 1:32 PM

Marco Russo (SQLBI) said:

Thanks for the feedback!

I will try to write some article or blog post about the DWH topic - in short, the overall infrastructure does not change from a strategical point of view, but I see differences in the "last mile", because the shape of Data Mart might be different than what we have today. For self-service BI, using business keys is not an option and surrogate Keys might be not so useful if not confusing. This is not a good reason to avoid star schema and surrogate Keys, but the point is how to expose this data to data analysts.

I know this is just a small slice of the overall discussion, but it is the interesting one providing data to self-service BI environments.

February 8, 2013 1:41 PM

Junior Vidotti said:

About self-service data modelings, I think that is like you said: "a good data warehouse is still the best starting point for any kind of analysis". You can use the data warehouse pre-modeled to drop some data into a Power Pivot and make your own analysis.

About this conference, I'm hoping that news about native mobile BI from MS. Mobile platforms has been forgotten and put aside from Microsoft. The world is claiming for freedom provided by mobile devices.

February 25, 2013 12:47 PM
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About Marco Russo (SQLBI)

Marco Russo is a consultant, writer and trainer specialized in Business Intelligence with Microsoft technologies. He runs the SQLBI.COM website, which is dedicated to distribute resources useful for BI developers, like Integration Services components, Analysis Services models, tools, technical information and so on. Marco is certified as MCT, MCDBA, MCSD.NET, MCSA, MCSE+I.

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