Dan English's BI Blog

Welcome to my random thoughts in regards to Business Intelligence, databases, and other technologies

Archive for November, 2011

Free SQL Server Community December 2011 Training

Posted by denglishbi on November 30, 2011

Head over to Pragmatic Works site and take a look at all of the training that is available in December – free training on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11 a.m. EST. Free Training on the T's

There will be no sessions the last week of December for the holidays, so enjoy your time with your family and friends!

  • December 1, Adam Jorgensen – Performance Tuning SSAS
  • December 6, Mike Davis – New SSIS Features in Denali
  • December 8, Mike Davis – Monitoring SQL Server with SSIS
  • December 13, Adam Jorgensen – Building Tier 1 SSAS Solutions 
  • December 15, Adam Jorgensen– Operational Best Practices in SSAS 
  • December 20, Mark Brown – Beginning Development for Business Part 3: Playing in closets 
  • December 22, Brian Knight – Dynamically Configuring Packages

If you miss a session they record them and you can check them out later on-demand in the webinar resource area. happy holidays

They already have the line up going for next year as well, so if you want to plan ahead you are all set. Just remember the disclaimer that the speakers are subject to change, so always check back to see what is going on.

So what are you waiting for, get registered for one of these spectacular webinars today – Webinar Registration.

Don’t forget, you can stay up-to-date on the training events through the PWFreeTraining twitter account as well.

Enjoy!

Posted in SQL Server, Training | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

SQL Saturday 99 Follow Up & Lessons Learned

Posted by denglishbi on November 22, 2011

This month we had our 2nd SQL Saturday event in Minnesota. We stuck with the Friday setup that we have done in the past and had it on Friday, November 11 (11/11/11 – for SQL11).  This was our 3rd event like this, but just the 2nd one formally branded SQL Saturday.  Each year we have continued to see growth going from around 100 to 250 to around 350 now this year.  Great attendance numbers and fantastic to see such this type of a turnout.  A special thanks to the event organizing committee, volunteers, sponsors, and Grace church for making this all day free training event possible.  We had 35 sessions (as well as 2 lunch session from our You Rock sponsors – Quest and HP Microsoft Frontline Partnership) and 35 speakers which included 4 Microsoft SQL Server MVPs.

Two sessions that I attended that I really found interesting were the Women in Technology Panel Discussion and the SQL Community & Social Networking Roundtable.  This was the first time we had these sessions and I thought the discussions and interactions that went on during these were fantastic and I enjoyed the sharing and insights that occurred.  I can only hope that these sessions help to inspire others and continue to grow in attendance going forward.  I know I always tend to consider the technical sessions, so this was a first for me and I got to participate on the SQL Community & Social Networking Roundtable.sqlsat99

So how do I feel we did this year? Well for starters the attendance was up 40% compared to last year. That tells me we are doing something right.  Once again the sponsorship was fantastic and it is unbelievable to see the support we get from local and national sponsors to put on these events.  I think as a group we did a super job in getting everything put together, especially since this is not what we do for our day job.

If I review my items from last year, SQL Saturday 58 – Minnesota: Follow up & Lessons Learned, I think we did improve. 

  • speaker room – this year we had a dedicated speaker area! this was very helpful and provided a nice area for our speakers to prep as well as relax and chat.
  • evaluation forms – we had volunteers collecting and handing out evaluations, but we still need to improve in this area as far as distribution and collection of evaluation forms. Having these in the event bags would be a good idea as well as having a dedicated drop off location in each room.
  • planning committee/volunteers – we had more people involved organizing the event.  This was nice having more people involved so tasks could be split out as far as sponsorship, speakers/sessions, location, speaker dinner, registration, etc. The more help and coordination helps greatly for events this large.
  • communication – getting more event information out sooner to attendees is always a good thing, can’t hurt to do more in this area, definitely helps in the long run. Providing more logistics and event layout to attendees ahead of time would be good idea for next year in email format.  Not everyone checks out the event site, twitter, or reads blogs to get this additional information.
  • signage – more event signage would be good, particularly around the registration area.
  • registration – doubling the size of the registration team and adjusting the schedule to provide for more time up front would be good as well (we got slammed all at once and did the best we could possibly do, but when everyone shows up around the same time there just is not much you can do).
  • session rooms – the room sizes varied a bit and I think they worked well as far as the number of seats available this year. I think the setup for a few of the rooms could be revisited as far as the location of the speaker podium – keep these off to the side instead of directly front and center in front of the projector screens.
  • wifi – not much I can say here, it was awful, so hopefully no one had to use it during a presentation, but I know for sure at least one speaker was trying.
  • shirts – everyone this year got an event shirt and the speaker shirts were an upgrade from last year as well. The quality of the shirts was very nice.

I wasn’t able to attend that many sessions, but I did find time to sit in on a few.  I just wanted to try and help out as much as possible and I enjoyed being able to chat with everyone.  Next year the event will continue to grow and I hope that we can possibly get up to 500 in attendance.  Is this possible?  I think it is, but it will mean more planning, coordination, and communication.

If you want to check out some of the session content you can download the material from the schedule page for the event.  If you see an asterisk after the session title that means that the material has been uploaded and is available for download.  Simply click on the session link and you will see the download button.

sessioncontent downloadexample

Can’t have a follow up without some additional stats for comparison sake:

eventstats

Once again thanks to everyone that made this event possible and thanks to everyone that attended the event, we hope that you had a great time and enjoyed the sessions.  If you were able to walk away with a couple of nuggets of information and/or expand your social network then I would chalk this one up as a success.

Posted in SQL Server, Training | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Minnesota Microsoft BI User Group 2011 Q4 Meeting – Dec 6

Posted by denglishbi on November 14, 2011

The next MN Microsoft Business Intelligence User Group has been scheduled and the agenda is set. This meeting we will have two sessions starting out with a I.C. System case study and then going over the new features in SQL Server 2012 Integration Services. MN MIcrosoft BI User GroupThe location for this event has now changed and has moved to the Microsoft Technology Center location in Edina.

MN Microsoft BI User Group 2011 Q4 Meeting

Sponsored by:

Microsoft - Annual Sponsor

Date: Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Check In: 2:30 PM Event Time: 3:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Location: Microsoft Technology Center – 3601 76th St W, Suite 600 Edina MN 55435 (in LOW 1, 2, and 3)

To join via Live Meeting: Click Here

Please Register Now

Agenda:

  • 2:30-3:00 : Registration
  • 3:00-3:15 : Microsoft BI User Group Updates & Announcements
  • 3:15-4:15 : I.C. System Case Study – Delivering Collections Information through Microsoft BI (Rowland Gosling)
  • 4:15-4:30 : Break
  • 4:30-5:30 : Beyond Rounded Corners – SSIS Changes in SQL 2012 (Steve Hughes)
  • 5:30-7:00 : Social and Networking

Presentations:

Case Study: Delivering Collections Information through Microsoft BI (by Rowland Gosling, I.C. System) – Got debt? Well I.C. System knows all about this and they’ve been helping clients for over 70 years collect on it. I.C. System is one of the largest receivables management companies in the United States with 800 employees spread across four locations. I.C. System has been able to remain successful over the tough economic times because of their technological advancements in this very competitive, tightly regulated market. With the power of Microsoft business intelligence tools they are able to access, interact, and visualize their data in a fast and intuitive way. We will go over the background of how I.C. System has evolved over the years, talk about the terabytes of data they consume, go over their BI delivery capabilities, and discuss what lies ahead for them.

Beyond Rounded Corners – SSIS Changes in SQL 2012 (by Steve Hughes, Magenic) – Unlike SSIS 2008, there are a number of developer improvements in SSIS SQL 2012, beyond the rounded corners and new icons. This session will explore the changes and how they improve the developer experience.

Please Register Now

Hope to see you there!

Posted in Business Intelligence, Training | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

MN SQL Saturday #99 Event Update

Posted by denglishbi on November 8, 2011

The big day is almost here, just three more days and then it is time for the Minnesota SQL Saturday #99 event at Grace church in Eden Prairie (maps and directions).  If you are currently signed up but are unable to attend, please go to the registration site to update your status.  There is a waiting list going right now and we are actively reviewing that throughout the week.

Now for some of the details:sql sat 99 logo

  • There have been some schedule changes and a few updates, so please review the online schedule.  The room numbers have been posted for each track as well on the site in the track names.  You can also build your schedule list online – http://sqlsaturday.com/99/schedulebuilder.aspx (login to the site is required).
    • Some things to note:
      • We have two lunch sessions thanks to our You Rock sponsors Quest Software and HP-Microsoft Alliance; Baselining for SQL Server and Converged SQL Server Solutions from HP & Microsoft
      • WIT Panel Discussion has been set and Nicole Roepke, Amanda Bates, and Barb Rokke will be leading the discussion. Tim Plas will be moderating this session.
      • In the DBA2 Track The Powershell and Perfmon and Database Restores sessions have traded time slots
      • In the BI1 Track Intro to Data Mining and Inside PerformancePoint sessions have traded time slots
      • In the Prof Develop Track the Entity Strategies: Structuring your Consultancy has move to the 2 p.m. slot, two new sessions have been added as well – SQL Community & Social Networking (MVP Ted Krueger will be moderating this discussion as well) and Geographic Visualizations using Maps in SSRS
      • In BI2 Track Becoming DAX and Securing an SSAS, SSRS, and SharePoint BI Solution sessions have traded time slots
      • A new session was added to DBA2 track – PowerShell for the Reluctant DBA
  • The doors will open up at around 7:30 so you can start to get registered.  When you get to Grace church come in on the east side of the building (turn on Spring Rd and enter parking lot) and the door you will enter in through is labeled #4.  Everything will take place upstairs, so once you are checked in proceed down the hallway and take the stairs to the terrace level.
  • There is a Guidebook App available that you can put on your mobile device or check out online as well – http://m.guidebookapp.com/697/
  • There will be wifi access available at Grace church

That is all for now, might do one more update Thursday, otherwise I will see you there if you are planning on attending!

Posted in SQL Server, Training | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Free SQL Server Community November 2011 Training

Posted by denglishbi on November 3, 2011

Head over to Pragmatic Works site and take a look at all of the training that is available in November – free training on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11 a.m. EST. Free Training on the T's

There will be no session on Thanksgiving (in the United States) – Nov 24, so enjoy your turkey and football instead!

  • November 1, Bradley Ball – SQL Internals, Recovery Models, and Backups! Oh My! 
  • November 3, Adam Jorgensen – MDX Common Solutions 
  • November 8, Jose Chinchilla – Introduction to Master Data Services 
  • November 10, Joe Salvatore – Expert to Expert SSAS 
  • November 15, Brian Knight – Upgrading DTS Packages to SSIS 
  • November 17, Mike Davis – Introduction to Dimensional Modeling 
  • November 22, Mark Brown – Beginning Development for Business Part 2: Building the foundation 
  • November 29, Chris Albrektson – Intro to SSRS Expressions image

If you miss a session they record them and you can check them out later on-demand in the webinar resource area.

They already have the line up going for December as well, so if you want to plan ahead you are all set. Just remember the disclaimer that the speakers are subject to change, so always check back to see what is going on.

So what are you waiting for, get registered for one of these spectacular webinars today – Webinar Registration.

Don’t forget, you can stay up-to-date on the training events through the PWFreeTraining twitter account as well.

Enjoy!

Posted in SQL Server, Training | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Twin Cities ScarePoint Saturday Follow Up

Posted by denglishbi on November 2, 2011

I attended my very first SharePoint Saturday event in Minnesota.  I was extremely impressed with the organization of the event, speaker dinner was fabulous, and the location was very nice.  I was curious to speak to a SharePoint audience versus my typical SQL Server and Business Intelligence audiences.  I was impressed to find out that over half the audience that attended my presentation knew what PerformancePoint was and quite a few were using either PerformancePoint 2007, 2010, or even ProClarity.scarepoint sat

The presentation was going pretty good and we were going through the content at a good pace until all of a sudden out of the blue it was as if someone pulled the plug on my laptop.  My laptop decided to go into hibernation mode and I was not able to wake it back up.  I tried to disconnect and reconnect the projector, unplug the power, etc. and in the end I had to simply shut it down.  This was not a good thing because I had my virtual environment up and running all set to go for my demo as well.  Needless to say this generated some downtime, so I was fielding questions while I tried to get my laptop and environment up and running again to resume my presentation.  Pretty much threw my game off and I would have liked to have spent some more time with my demo to cover all of the features and provide more explanations.

I definitely apologize to the attendees of my session.  I was just in shock and couldn’t believe it.  I was very bummed out and felt awful, just something that you don’t plan on happening when presenting.

I think I probably spent too much time on the history and overview and should have done more demos and gone over maybe the setup of how PerformancePoint is enabled.  Just goes to show you that based on the SharePoint audience there are items that are of more interest and I should have focused on that versus what I am used to doing for a SQL Server and Business Intelligence group.

As with all presentations you get the feedback and learn on how to build off the experience to adjust and make the next one better.

Posted in PerformancePoint, SharePoint, Training | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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