Dan English's BI Blog

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

Power BI Desktop Install Experience & Publish Feature!

Posted by denglishbi on July 23, 2015

Tomorrow is the official Power BI GA release for the “new” 2.0 version of Power BI.  With the new release there will be a new version of Power BI Desktop application (formerly known as Power BI Designer).  This application is already available to download and here is the quick walkthrough of the install as well as some sample pics of a file that gets published to the PowerBI.com site!

Install Experience

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Are you ready?

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Awesome! Game on:)

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Version: 2.25.4095.554

Publish

With the new release of the application you can publish to PowerBI.com in the cloud and soon to on-premise Pyramid Analytics Server (not available yet, but hopefully very soon, maybe next month).  Just announced today was the strategic allegiance and collaboration of Pyramid Analytics along with Microsoft.

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Power BI Desktop file created from IMDb data.

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File published to PowerBI.com

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Very cool.  There are a ton of new features and functionality in the new application.  Way too many to cover here, so check out the Power BI team blog.

Here are some good articles and resources to check out:

Announcing Power BI general availability coming July 24th

Power BI team blog (great content, examples, articles, announcements)

Power BI Community site

Microsoft Power BI Support

Training Resources (provided by Jen Underwood)

Enjoy and I would love to hear your feedback!

Posted in Power BI | Tagged: | 4 Comments »

PASS Business Analytics VC July Meeting–How to calculate ROI of analytics

Posted by denglishbi on July 21, 2015

The next PASS Business Analytics Virtual Chapter meeting is coming up on Thursday, July 23.  This month we welcome Othniel Denis and will learn about ROI calculations.PASS_BAVC_Logo_New_201502

–> REGISTER NOW <–

July 23 – How to calculate ROI of analytics

Abstract

Whether you’re performing business analytics with small data or big data every project needs to deliver ROI (Return on Investment). This session will focus on teaching participants the fundamentals of ROI calculations. We will include case studies, best practices and common pitfalls to avoid.

Bio – Othniel is currently Principal of Excellent Ones Consulting LLC. His firm provides training on finance, Microsoft Excel and creates financial models for businesses. He brings with him a background in finance, training, and information management systems. Prior to opening his own firm, Othniel spent his 13 years in finance at various organizations. His responsibilities included: building financial models, forecasting revenue, developing budgets and analyzing data to support strategic decisions.

–> REGISTER NOW <–

This month we will also be giving away a $25 Amazon gift card as well!  You need to not only register for the event, but also attend in order to qualify for the give away.

If you are interested in speaking we are always looking for speakers, please leave a comment or send me an email at denglishbi@gmail.com

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PASS Business Analytics VC June Meeting–Tools for Initial Exploratory Data Analysis

Posted by denglishbi on June 9, 2015

The next PASS Business Analytics Virtual Chapter meeting is coming up on Thursday, June 11.  This month we welcome Mark Wilcock and we are teaming up with the Data Science Virtual Chapter for this webcast.PASS_BAVC_Logo_New_201502

June 11 – Tools for Initial Exploratory Data Analysis

Abstract

We do exploratory data analysis (EDA) when we take a first look at the source data we will use in our analytics project. EDA helps us to get a good idea of the usefulness, relevance, completeness and quality of the data for our purposes and to explore patterns in the data to give us some insight. With this session we’ll explore a public dataset – the Titanic passenger list. Most people know the of the tragic events. The RMS Titanic sailed from Southampton on 10th April 1912, hit an iceberg in the Atlantic 4 days later and sank. Of the 2000 people on board, only 700 survived.

We’ll build some rough and ready visualisations and crunch some basic statistics on this dataset using 4 different tools

• Excel and Power Query as our benchmark,

• R with the ggplot2 graphics and dplyr data manipulation packages,

• Azure Machine Learning and

• the free starter edition of RapidMiner

The purpose of the session is to introduce you to some tools that you may not be familiar with so that you can decide which tools you prefer for exploring and analysis data. Or you may decide to use all these tools at different times for different tasks.

Bio – Mark Wilcock Mark Wilcock is an independent consultant specialising in the analysis, reporting and visualisation of financial data. Over the last 20 years, he has worked on many systems to measure and monitor financial performance and manage market risks that arise from banking and trading activities. He is the organiser of the London Business Analytics Group (http://www.meetup.com/London-Business-Analytics-Group/), a popular community group that holds monthly talks on topics ranging from Predictive Analytics to Power Query to Personalised Medicine. He blogs intermittently at http://zomalex.co.uk.

–> REGISTER NOW <–image

This month we will also be giving away a $25 Amazon gift card as well!  You need to not only register for the event, but also attend in order to qualify for the give away.

If you are interested in speaking we are always looking for speakers, please leave a comment or send me an email at denglishbi@gmail.com

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

MN Microsoft BI User Group Special Edition Meeting–June 10

Posted by denglishbi on June 9, 2015

We are pleased to announce that there will be a Special Edition meeting tomorrow on June 10.  Devin Knight from Pragmatic Works is in town and he will be presenting on SSIS tomorrow night for our user group. Please register ahead of time and make sure to bring a photo id to get into the meeting.

Please Register Now (Please register so that we can have your name badge pre-printed)
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MN Microsoft BI User Group 2015 Special Edition Meeting

Sponsored by:

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Date: Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Check In: 5:00 PM Event Time: 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM

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

Please Register Now (Please register so that we can have your name badge pre-printed)

Agenda:

  • 5:00-5:30 : Registration, Announcements, Hospitality and Networking
  • 5:30-6:45 : Adapting your SSIS Solutions to use the Project Deployment Model
  • 6:45-7:00 : Prize giveaways sponsored by Pragmatic Works

Presentations:

Session: Adapting your SSIS Solutions to use the Project Deployment Model

SSIS in SQL Server 2012 had a significant overhaul to its architecture and it is important to understand how these changes can make your development life easier. These changes impact how you deploy, configure and manage SSIS packages. This session will guide you through how to integrate the features that come with the Project Deployment Model in SSIS into your solution as well as how you can upgrade existing solutions to use the new model.

Speaker: Devin Knight

Devin is the Training Director for Pragmatic Works. He is a Microsoft SQL Server MVP, an author of five SQL Server books and leads his local user group in Jacksonville (JSSUG).

PASS Summit Conference 2015 Discount Code – save $150 – LC15FML4

Members of the PASS Chapter, Minnesota Microsoft BI User Group can save $150 off their

PASS Summit 2015 registration by using the unique Chapter discount code: LC15FML4

http://sqlpass.org/summit/2015/RegisterNow.aspx

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

MN PASS BI User Group Q2 2015 Meeting – June 2

Posted by denglishbi on May 29, 2015

The next meeting for the Minnesota Microsoft BI User Group is next Tuesday, June 2.  This meeting will have two presentations, the first one is on the new Power BI Preview and the second one is on Datazen.  Please register so that we can have your name badge pre-printed.

*There will be a HP Stream 7 tablet given away during the networking session!
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MN Microsoft BI User Group 2015 Q2 Meeting

Sponsored by:

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Date: Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Check In: 2:45 PM Event Time: 3:00 PM – 6:00 PM

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

Please Register Now (Please register so that we can have your name badge pre-printed)

Agenda:
  • 2:45-3:00 : Registration
  • 3:00-3:15 : Microsoft BI User Group Updates & Announcements
  • 3:15-4:15 : The “New” Power BI Service Walkthrough
  • 4:15-4:30 : Break
  • 4:30-5:30 : Achieving Enlightenment with Datazen. Anywhere!
  • 5:30-6:00 : Eval Collection, Prizes, Networking, and Pizza

*There will be a HP Stream 7 tablet given away during the networking session!

Presentations:
Session 1: The “New” Power BI Service Walkthrough

In this session, we will discuss the changes that are coming to Power BI and the new features that are provided with the Power BI Designer as Microsoft continues its roadmap with self-service BI. If you haven’t seen this yet, Power BI features are now available in a standalone application outside of Excel! You will see with the new designer that you will be able to easily integrate data, create stunning and interactive visualizations, and even create cloud based Power BI dashboards to share and it is even Free!! In this session we will also cover the mobile side of Power BI looking at the new Power BI apps for both Windows and iOS.

Speaker: Dan English

Dan English is the BI Practice Manager at Superior Consulting Service and is a SQL Server MVP, co-author, and technical editor. He has been developing with Microsoft technologies for over 15 years, and over 8 years with Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence. He has been working with SQL Server since version 6.5 through 2014 and is getting ready to explore 2016. Dan has screencasts and videos on Vimeo, is an avid blogger, and tweets. Dan is on the executive leadership team for the MN Microsoft BI user group and the chapter leader for the PASS Business Analytics Virtual Chapter.

Session 2: Achieving Enlightenment with Datazen. Anywhere!

In this session we will examine the capabilities offered by Datazen, one of Microsoft’s latest acquisitions. Datazen allows you to present a highly customizable unified view of data across the enterprise. We will look at the authoring experience and integration with data sources ranging from ad hoc Excel reports to SQL Server and SSAS cubes.

The best part of it all? You can take everything with you. With native apps on Android, iOS, and Windows 8 and HTML5 rendering, your data is available anywhere, anytime.

Speaker: Greg Baldini

Greg Baldini is a BI Analyst with GNet Group. He is an experienced BI professional who has executed multiple projects delivering Enterprise BI and data warehouse solutions using the Microsoft BI Stack, which includes SSIS, SQL Server, Analysis Services, Power Pivot, Reporting Services, SharePoint, Power BI and Datazen. An expert in creating Agile BI solutions using PowerPivot/Tabular/ DAX. His experience spans verticals such as – manufacturing, healthcare, fraud analysis, marketing pipelines, and sales performance.

PASS Summit Conference 2015 Discount Code – save $150 – LC15FML4

Members of the PASS Chapter, Minnesota Microsoft BI User Group can save $150 off their

PASS Summit 2015 registration by using the unique Chapter discount code: LC15FML4

http://sqlpass.org/summit/2015/RegisterNow.aspx

Analytics with Power BI Workshop – 6/9,10 (Discount Code)

Pragmatic Works has created a discount code that will give users 25% off their workshop purchase. This code is valid until May 31, 2015
Discount Code: WSDISCOUNT

http://pragmaticworks.com/Training/Workshops/Business-Analytics/Schedule/6-9-2015_MinneapolisAnalyticswithPowerBIWorkshop

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

PASS Business Analytics VC May Meeting–The Art of Prototyping Analytics

Posted by denglishbi on May 27, 2015

The next PASS Business Analytics Virtual Chapter meeting is coming up tomorrow on Thursday, May 28.  This month we welcome Ken Raetz.

May 28 – The Art of Prototyping AnalyticsPASS_BAVC_Logo_New_201502

Abstract – Have you been underwhelmed by the promised enterprise data warehouse and business intelligence implementation? Do you find yourself stuck attempting to grow the use of analytics within your organization? Is your company culture still stuck in doing it the “long and hard way”? Does IT still hold the keys to implementing deep analytics? With the introduction of Power BI and a growing set of cloud-based analytics capabilities, Microsoft has opened the door to agile analytics and enterprise reporting capabilities. Like never before, leaders are able to develop and deliver the value of analytics “early and often”, and use this as a springboard to change the culture of analytics throughout the organization. Power BI can be a critical component of a corporate analytics strategy, and by empowering business users to do what they do best (analyze the business), IT and business leaders can finally begin to change the culture of analytics.

In this session, you will learn:

• To identify the barriers to changing your organization’s data culture

• To find ways to create a bridge between IT and business leaders to gain access to critical resources and people

• The importance of ROI on your analytics projects

• To use Excel and Power BI as an effective tool to develop prototypes and production-ready analytic solutions.

• How to empower key business leaders and analysts to further the data culture change throughout the organization.

Bio – Ken Raetz (b|t) a technology professional who has spent the past 15 years as a business intelligence and data warehouse architect, as well as a technical team manager for solutions across multiple BI platforms, including Cognos, Business Objects, Microsoft SQL Server and Power BI. In 2014, Ken stepped into the brave, new world of entrepreneurship, co-founding Think Data Insights, a company focused on helping companies of all sizes effect data culture change throughout their organizations.

–> REGISTER NOW <–

This month we will also be giving away a $25 Amazon gift card as well!  You need to not only register for the event, but also attend in order to qualify for the give away.

If you are interested in speaking we are always looking for speakers, please leave a comment or send me an email at denglishbi@gmail.com

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

Power BI Preview–The Designer

Posted by denglishbi on April 9, 2015

We will continue exploring the ‘new’ Power BI Preview and in this post we will look at the Power BI Designer.  The Power BI Designer is the new download tool that you can get (for FREE) that provides the ability to get data, transform it, add calculated columns, merge, etc. (Power Query) and create reports (like Power View – but the Silverlight is gone! but features not completely identical yet, few more visualizations added though).

NOTE: The Power BI capabilities that have been added to Excel over the years with the add-ins and some are becoming native, are now transitioning into the designer to allow for more rapid releases and one tool versus the different add-in components.  And did I mention…it is FREE?!?

To get started you will first need to download and install the designer.  You can check out one of my previous posts on the walkthrough of installing and highlighting the features – Installing Power BI Designer Preview Experience.  You can download the designer from the downloads location on the Power BI site.  In this example I have the latest build that was made available at end of March 2015 – version 2.21.3975.261.

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Once you have this downloaded and installed you will then launch the tool to get started.

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On first launch you have the ability to access forums, the team blog, tutorials, and videos.  The team has done an outstanding job on creating lots of great content right out of the gate!

If you are familiar with Power Query then you will be very comfortable with the get data portion and creating the queries that can then be used to load the model to be used for report creation.

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In this screenshot you will see that there has been a recent update and a new source is available for Google Analytics!  This was recently announced in the blog here – 7 New Updates to the Power BI Designer Preview (March 2015).

In this example I will go back to a previous one I did when I first covered Power Query (previously known as Data Explorer) – Installing Data Explorer Preview & Demo with IMDB Data.  I will try and recreate this solution with the new designer and you can see the comparison.  At the end I will note a few of the differences that I have come across so far.

First I will get the data, this time around I am going to get the core data from the IMDB website like I did previously, but then I will use a function to do a call and retrieve JSON from http://omdbapi.com.

Original site view on IMDB (click image to go to the actual site)

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Initial query results getting data from the web

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Function created that will then provide additional information about the movie such as genre, actors, awards, runtime, rating, plot, votes, poster url, etc.  In my initial example I did I used VBA code and parsed XML data, this time around I am doing this all with Power Query functionality.

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Now combining this function call into a calculated column in the first query we end up with our complete data set.

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We can then create our reports.

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If you compare this to my original post from the Data Explorer you will notice that they are a tad different.

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So some of the items that I came across in the new designer are the following (as of 4/9/2015):

– No image support in data model, not able to access the model yet to complete this setup, plus not able to include or embed images

– No ability to control the formatting of the numeric values as far as number of decimals, to include commas, currency

– No data card title support, this goes back to not being able to access the model and complete the setup

– Not able to resize columns and easily resize items such as data cards

– Not able to add data labels to visuals

– Not able to remove a sort on a table once it has been triggered (I accidently did this a couple of times, clicked on a column)

– No textbox at all which is possibly the #1 item used today in Power View

– No play axis support in scatter charts

– No color, styles, or theme support options to control color options

– Limited filter options (need to drag-and-drop to filters), no pinned filters, and just multi select checkboxes (so hope you don’t have a long list, numeric values do have some extra options)

Some of the things that you will see that have been added are the following:

– easily change visuals when item selected

– new visuals that were added such as – treemap, filled map, radial gauge, funnel, and combo charts (require same axis if you combine them)

– new relationship options to provide support out-of-the-box for many-to-many

Now once you have your data and reports created the next step is to save your file (pbix extension) and then if you go back to the Power BI site in the Get Data section you can upload your file to a dashboard (make sure you are in the dashboard you want this added or create a new one first).

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Once you have the file uploaded you will see your reports and dataset as well. In the next post we will take a look at adding items to the dashboard and exploring the Q&A capabilities.

For a recap of previous posts check out the following:

Getting Started with the Power BI Preview

Power BI Preview Layout Overview

Power BI Preview–Getting the Data

If you liked the example and want to check out the file you can download it from here http://1drv.ms/1JqmwaF

NOTE: I have set the File Settings in this file to ignore Privacy levels, otherwise I was being prompted for each call to the web to get the images for the move posters that are being pulled into the model (ready for when the support for images and accessing the data model is available – thanks to Kasper for his help on this – Loading an image into the Model using Power Query).

Hopefully in a couple of weeks we will be able to expand on this example once we can access the data model, can’t wait!

Posted in Power BI | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

PASS Business Analytics VC April Meeting – Transforming Reporting Requirements Into a Visual Masterpiece

Posted by denglishbi on April 2, 2015

The next PASS Business Analytics Virtual Chapter meeting is coming up next week on Thursday, April 9.  This month we welcome Microsoft SQL Server MVP Paul Turley.

April 9 – Transforming Reporting Requirements Into a Visual MasterpieceBAVCLogo (1)

Abstract – Starting with an understanding of user objectives and business needs, we’ll talk about choosing the right visual theme for a report or dashboard; choosing the right tool and then explore techniques to deliver a functional reporting experience. We’ll talk about reporting on different data sources such as a SQL Server data mart, SSAS multidimensional & SSAS Tabular model. We’ll also consider a choice of visualization tools like SSRS, Power View and Excel Services.

Bio – Paul Turley (Blog | LinkedIn | Twitter) is a Mentor with SolidQ and a Microsoft SQL Server MVP. He consults, writes, speaks, teaches & blogs about business intelligence and reporting solutions. He works with companies around the world to visualize and deliver critical information to make informed business decisions. He is a Director of the Oregon SQL PASS chapter & user group, the lead author of Professional SQL Server 2012 Reporting Services and 13 other titles from Wrox, Packt & Microsoft Press.

–> REGISTER NOW <–

This month we will also be giving away a $25 Amazon gift card as well!  You need to not only register for the event, but also attend in order to qualify for the give away.

If you are interested in speaking we are always looking for speakers, please leave a comment or send me an email at denglishbi@gmail.com

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

Power BI Preview–Getting the Data

Posted by denglishbi on April 1, 2015

In the first two posts we looked at Getting Started with Power BI Preview and then Power BI Preview Layout Overview.  The next item that you will want to do now that you are somewhat familiar with the “new” Power BI is getting data to create datasets, reports, and dashboards!

Power BI Preview is known as a SaaS (software as a service) – a web-based service that you can leverage to deliver your solutions.  As mentioned in the first post there is a free as well as subscription based offering ($9.99 per user/month) . There are also canned built-in solutions that you can leverage right out-of-the-box.  So if you are using or have any of the following services or functionality the time it will take for you to getting insights is greatly reduced, you can get a kick start to your reporting with just a few clicks:

– Excel workbooks: leverage existing Excel files; could contain tables, charts, data models, Power View reports; these would be uploaded to the Power BI Preview site

– Power BI Designer File: we will cover this more in the next post, but if you download the designer and then load data, create reports, and save the file you can upload this into the Power BI Preview site

– SQL Server Analysis Services: with the downloadable connector that was mentioned in the second post for the layout overview you have the ability to query on-premise tabular SSAS databases

– Online services: if you are using GitHub, Marketo, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Salesforce, SendGrid, or Zendesk you can connect using your credentials and there are pre-built templates that will be created for you with dashboard, reports, and dataset to jump start and get quick insights to the service and your usage

– Retail Analysis Sample: the initial sample that gets displayed and you see in the first two posts; sample file you can get familiar with to see functionality and test drive

To get started simply click on the Get Data (item #2 in the Layout Overview post).

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Now you will see the list of the options you have to get started to work with data.

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As an example let’s take a look at the GitHub option we will go to GitHub –> Connect.

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For this example I am going to connect to the d3 repository (d3 is a JavaScript visualization library for HTML and SVG).

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You will then be prompted for authorization and I am already signed into GitHub. This is using oAuth.

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This will now create a new dataset, reports, and dashboard. It will connect and begin to import the data that will populate the dashboard and you will be able to immediately get some insights!

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And if you look at the reports that were added you can see there is additional information that you can review and add to the dashboard and you can also create more reports and enhance the out-of-the-box template that was provided.

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Pretty amazing, and this is all free!

In the next post we will take a look at using the Power BI Designer to create our own dataset and reports that we can then use to load into the Power BI web site.

Posted in Power BI | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

SQLSaturday #387 Madison–April 11 #SQLSatMadison

Posted by denglishbi on March 30, 2015

“Hello Wisconsin” round 2:)  We are just two weeks out now and the next SQLSaturday #387 Madison is coming up (interested, last year it was #287) on April 11, my second trip out to Madison, WI.  The event officially kicks off on Friday, April 10 with three pro-conference events image

Then on Saturday the main event will begin and the schedule is loaded with 8 tracks and 40 presentations!

I will be presenting at 10:30 in Room 309 (Track 5)

The "New" Power BI Self-Service Walkthrough

In this session, we will discuss the changes that are coming and the new features that are provided with the Power BI Designer as Microsoft continues its roadmap with self-service BI. If you haven’t seen this yet, Power BI features are now available in a standalone application outside of Excel! You will see with the new designer that you will be able to easily integrate data, create stunning and interactive visualizations, and even create cloud based Power BI dashboards to share and it is even Free!!

Heading out there with me from my team is Rick Bielawski and he will be in Room 220 (Track 2) at 9:00

Mastering queries into XML data.

If you’ve never queried an XML column you definitely want to attend. While targeted to beginners this isn’t a "Just do this" session. After this hour I’d like you to truly understand even subtle nuances of basic query syntax. Seasoned veterans stand a fair chance of learning something new.

So what are you waiting for, head over to the event site and checkout what is going on and follow the hashtag #sqlsatMadison – SQLSaturday Madison #387 event home.

Hope to see you there!

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

 
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