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Minnesota Microsoft BI User Group 2014 Q4 Meeting–Dec 2

Posted by denglishbi on November 25, 2014

The fourth quarter and final meeting of the year is coming up next week for the MN Microsoft BI User Group.  This meeting will have two presentations, the first one on Azure Machine Learning and the second one is a case study on monitoring Analysis Services usage.  Please register so that we can have your name badge pre-printed.


MN Microsoft BI User Group 2014 Q4 Meeting

Sponsored by:


Date: Tuesday, December 2, 2014image

Check In: 2:30 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)


  • 2:30-3:00 : Registration
  • 3:00-3:15 : Microsoft BI User Group Updates & Announcements
  • 3:15-4:15 : Predictive Analytics for the Masses: Azure ML
  • 4:15-4:30 : Break
  • 4:30-5:30 : Case Study: Monitoring SSAS Usage with Extended Events
  • 5:30-6:00 : Happy Hour at Pinstripes – Meeting will adjourn with a special networking opportunity hosted by Slalom Consulting. Join everyone at Pinstripes Edina at 3849 Gallagher Drive for refreshments, fun and networking.


Session 1: Predictive Analytics for the Masses: Azure ML

Predictive Analytics generally has the strongest ROI attached to it, but is unfortunately usually one of the last analytical capabilities on the modern enterprise’s Analytical Roadmap. Part of this is due to the fact that predicting the future generally requires some foundational data pieces and tools to be in place. The advent of the Cloud has disrupted many commonly held historical approaches as it can greatly reduce the time to market for the foundational pieces.

The Machine Learning product will be reviewed and a demonstration of the ML set-up and “how to” model 1-3 scenarios will also be covered.

Speaker: Joe Berg and Matthew Lawrence

Joe Berg is a Managing Director with Slalom Consulting and is responsible for the National Information Management & Analytics (IM&A). Joe has spent over 8 years working on business intelligence and data warehouse platforms as a consultant for Microsoft. In addition to his implementation and leadership roles on these projects, Joe has led a variety of successful engagements helping some of the worlds largest organizations develop a world-class Business Intelligence and Analytics capability.

Matthew Lawrence is an accomplished analytics professional with vast experience across many Fortune 500 companies using predictive and descriptive modeling skills in a variety of technical environments to solve a host of business problems. He has led successful analytics engagements from vision to implementation across technology platforms in a variety of data environments. He is skilled at asking the questions to get to the heart of the matter to uncover relationships that lead to actionable insight.

Session 2: Case Study: Monitoring SSAS Usage with Extended Events

How do you measure the success of a Self Service Business Intelligence initiative? While the answer to that question has several components, a vital one is Adoption. Are people using the assets created for that initiative? Since Business Intelligence is using data to make better decisions, why not use data to help answer this question? At Capella University, we did just that.

This case study will describe how we used Analysis Services Extended Events to track the usage of Tabular Models that Capella built for Self Service BI users. We will demonstrate the following:

  • The business case for capturing asset usage
  • The particular goals Capella had in this case
  • How easy it is to get started with SSAS Extended Events (far easier than it looks)
  • The end-to-end solution created: from the event trace itself thru to the Power Pivot model created for analysis
  • Lessons learned (some learned the hard way)

We hope you will come away from this presentation with less trepidation around SSAS Extended Events as well as a foundation you can use for your own solution.

Speakers: Prashant Tolia and Mark Vaillancourt

Prashant Tolia is the Senior Technical Architect for the Information Delivery department at Capella University. He has over 16 years of experience in IT and a passion for Business Intelligence and Data Warehousing. Prashant earned his MBA form Capella and holds certifications as an Oracle DBA and in Cognos BI suite. In his current role, Prashant ensures that all technical solutions are cost effective, appropriate, and adhere to Capella standards and best practices.

Mark Vaillancourt is a SQL Server MVP and a Business Intelligence Enterprise Consultant for Digineer, a Microsoft partner based in Plymouth, MN. He has been working with SQL Server since 2007 and holds the MCITP – Business Intelligence Developer 2008 certification. With a background in Theater and Improvised Comedy, Mark makes sure that his presentations are both informative and fun.


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