Dan English's BI Blog

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

Posts Tagged ‘presentations’

SQLSaturday 453 Minnesota Follow Up

Posted by denglishbi on October 29, 2015

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of speaking again at SQLSaturday Minnesota. This year it was at a new location in downtown Minneapolis at the St. Thomas Graduate Campus. Once again SQSaturday MN 453the planning team and volunteers did a wonderful job of organizing the event and having everything ready. Awesome job!

The session that I did this year was What’s new in Excel 2016 for Business Intelligence.  There were over 40 people in attendance at the session (first one of the morning) and everything went as planned, no demo issues:) I covered the new features in both Excel 2013 as well as 2016. No one in the room was using 2016 yet (not sure if anyone new it was even released yet – was released on Sept 22) and everyone was using 2013 (majority were not aware of the new features in 2013, so good thing I had that material readily available).

The new features I highlighted in Excel 2016 were the following:

  • Tell Me – search for features (probably my favorite addition to Office – provides instant access to the feature as well)
  • Sharing – much simpler
  • Version History – needs to be in SharePoint or OneDrive
  • One Click Forecasting – okay, takes more than one click, but very niceExcel Logo
  • 6 new chart types – treemap, sunburst, waterfall, histogram, pareto, box and whisker
  • PivotTable enhancements
  • Multi-select Slicers
  • Get & Transform Data (native Power Query in Data tab)
  • 3D Map (native Power Map on Insert tab)
  • Publish to Power BI
  • Power View works with Multidimensional (but Power View is a hidden item because of Silverlight and a bit of a challenge to add back into Ribbon – wouldn’t recommend, use Power BI Desktop instead)

If you would like to check out my full presentation that also includes the new 2013 features download the material here – [Demo] – SQLSat453MN_Excel2016BI_denglishbi_20151010.zip

Thanks to everyone that attended and look forward to the next event!

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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!

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MN SQLSaturday #332–Oct 24, 25

Posted by denglishbi on October 2, 2014

The 5th Annual MN SQLSaturday event is coming in less than 4 weeks!  This year the pre-cons are back as well this year and there are 4 great pre-con events scheduled for Friday, October 24.

Choose from one of these expert sessions!! Reserve your spot now for only $99!  Hands down, these sessions are the best bang for your training dollars!!

DB1 – Argenis Fernandez image
A Day of SQL Server Internals and Data Recovery

DB2 – David Klee
Virtualization for SQL Server DBAs 

BI1 – Jason Strate & Adam Jorgensen
Architecting the Modern Data Warehouse

BI2 – Mark Vaillancourt
Microsoft Excel: The Business Intelligence Platform For The Masses

The main event will be on Saturday, October 25.  The schedule is posted and there are 7 tracks with 35 presentations!


There will be 3 of us speaking from Superior Consulting Services:

Dan English
Getting Down with Power Query and Power Map

In this session you will learn about the self-service ETL capabilities that have been added into Excel. See how easy it is to pull in data from the web and integrate it and enhance your existing data to provide useful insights. We will also take a look at the new data visualization capabilities provided with Power Map and see how easy it is to interact with and explore geographic and temporal data. These are two new self-service capabilities that have been added and are part of Power BI, don’t miss out!

Brian Larson
Structured Ad Hoc Reporting-Case Study of an Oxymoronic Reality

The large franchise corporation in this case study was looking to provide franchisees with a mechanism to create their own custom reports from a PC, Android device, or iPad. In order to minimize training and support, the desired environment was to be highly structured while still providing reporting flexibility. Come see how SSRS and SSAS along with custom .NET code were used to fulfill these requirements and create a solution which franchisees called intuitive, revolutionary, and life changing.

Rick Bielawski
Mastering queries into XML data.

If you’ve never queried an XML column you definitely want to attend. After this hour there won’t exist an XML element whose value you won’t be able to retrieve. If you’ve been querying for years there is still a fair chance you’ll learn something new.

Be sure to stop by and visit the sponsors, lots of great sponsors have stepped up to make this event possible – https://www.sqlsaturday.com/332/sponsors.aspx

Hope to see you there!

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Speaking: MindSurf Conference–Oct 9

Posted by denglishbi on September 26, 2014

The 7th Annual MindSurf conference in Minneapolis is just two weeks away and I will be speaking there in the Office Technology Track!  I will be talking about empowering data analysts using Excel and the Power BI features including Power Query and Power Map.

Delivering Self-Service BI with Power

Dan English, Superior Consulting Services
Session Level: 200 – Intermediate
Audience: Business analysts

In this session, we will discuss the new additions made available to Excel as Microsoft continues its roadmap with self-service BI. You will see how Microsoft has empowered you to discover, analyze and visualize data all on your own. We will use Power Query to load and integrate data into a model that can then be analyzed and enhanced with Power Pivot. From there, we will dive into Power Map; you will see how to visualize and create tours of your data to explore and share your insights!

Along with me presenting at MindSurf my fellow colleague and BI team member Eric Ness will also be presenting in the Business Analysis Track on forecasting!

Forecasting: Methods and Benefits

Eric Ness, Superior Consulting Services
Session Level: 200 – Intermediate
Audience: Business analysts, data analysts

Forecasting techniques gives business analysts a peek behind the scenes of what will happen to the business in the future. Forecasting can be used with any quantitative amount that fluctuates over time, such as revenue or costs. Recently, software vendors have released tools that hide the complexity of the techniques behind automatic tests and a graphical interface. This session will discuss the methods and benefits of forecasting as well as an overview of available software.

In total there are 8 tracks with 32 sessions and 29 speakers!  Check out the event here – MindSurf Conference at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

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SQLSaturday 287 Madison Follow Up

Posted by denglishbi on April 30, 2014

Last month I had the pleasure of attending my first SQLSaturday event outside of Minnesota, I went to Madison, Wisconsin.  Not only did I get to attend and present at the main SQLSaturday event, I was also fortunate to be able to put on an all-day pre-conference event the Friday before – Self-Service BI to the Max.

So Thursday afternoon I headed out on my four hour road trip into the neighboring state to visit Madison (for my first time).


It started out raining (only one accident being reported by TomTom) and eventually turned to snow as I got into Wisconsin.  The roads were not too bad, but the two lane 94 driving in was a tad fun with all of the semi drivers;)  The drive was a tad long and driving solo makes it a bit boring.  I tried to check out a few of the water parks along the road and eventually made it into Madison and found the hotel, which was right next to the pre-conference event (walking distance).

I did some final preparation for the pre-con and drove around town a bit (roads are crazy, need a GPS for sure) and got confused with the medians that divided the left turn lanes in the streets (found that a odd and confusing).  The next day was the all-day pre-con and I got spiffed up in the brand new Power BI shirt:)

WP_20140419 1

The event went great, the location was nice and the 25 people in the room were great.  We went over the Power BI content (my pre-con was Self-Service BI to the Max), went over some demos, answered questions, and did some hands-on labs.  A fairly long day, but it was a great time meeting a new crowd and talking about Microsoft BI! (photo taken by Jes Borland – @grrl_geek)

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After the long day I headed over to the main SQLSaturday event location to check it out as well as stuff a few event bags (350!).  I also met a bunch of new people as well as SQL family that I knew by name, just have never met in-person.  One of the new people I met was Pat Wright (@SQLAsylum, a.k.a. PASS photographer) who took a bunch of awesome photos and a few down below that I am including and linking back to with his permission, thanks!


Once we were done with the bags is was off to find something a cool to drink (thanks to Ted Krueger, @onpnt, he tracked down a Mt. Dew to tide me over for a bit).  We headed over to Erin’s Snug Irish Pub for a little ale.

WP_20140419 4WP_20140419 2

Then it was over to the speaker’s dinner, non-stop action.

That was about all I could do on Friday, I was wiped out.  Time to get some shut eye and get ready for Saturday.  On Saturday morning I headed out with Dustin Mueller (@sqlcheesecake), Mike Donnelly (@sqlmd), and Tracy McKibben (@RealSQLGuy) for a little SQL run (just 4 miles).  It was a tad chilly on the first lap (remember, this was in March), but things were fine on the second one.  Unfortunately Jes Borland (@grrl_geek) was unable to join us because she was still recovering from an injury (she was with us in spirit and talk though).

Once I got back to the room after the run I got cleaned up and got a text from Ted inquiring if I could give a second BI presentation because they had a cancellation.  There were only a handful of BI sessions for the event, so they wanted to have another BI one to fill in.  I agreed and arranged another slide deck and demos for the second presentation (good thing I did an all-day pre-con the day before).

For the SQLSaturday event I did two presentations, fie the first one the room was a tad warm and it was standing room only, jam packed (awesome)!  I spoke on Delivering Self-Service BI with Power (new Excel 2013 features, Power Pivot, and Power View).  Then for my second presentation after lunch I spoke on “Getting Down with Power Query and Power Map”.

I was very pleased and glad to receive all of the evaluations and feedback.  On a scale of 1 to 5 I received good scores and the feedback was very helpful, lots of content to cover.


All-in-all I had a wonderful time, enjoyed my first out-of-state SQLSaturday event, looking forward to a few more.  I want to thank Ted and Jes for reaching out to me and Gina Meronek (@equerystrian) and the gang for putting on an awesome event, very well organized and an extremely helpful group over in WI.  Thanks for having me out and looking forward to returning next year:)
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“Hello Wisconsin” SQLSaturday Madison #287

Posted by denglishbi on March 19, 2014

The time is ticking and we are just a week and a half away from the SQLSaturday Madison event which kicks off on Friday, March 28 with three pre-conference events – SQLSaturday Madison #287 Pre-Cons Registration Now Open.  Then on Saturday the main event and the schedule is rockin’ with a jam packed day with presentations from the SQL community, MVPs, and MCMs – SQLSaturday Madison #287 Schedule.  Just to name a few there is Jonathan Kehayias, Joseph Sack, Lara Rubbelke, Paul Timmerman, Jason Strate, Jes Borland, Ted Krueger, Steve Jones, Brent Ozar, Kalen Delaney, and many more!sqlsat madison

I will be heading over to Madison Thursday and will be doing an all-day pre-con event Self-Service BI to the Max.  I am looking forward to going over the Power BI suite covering Power Query, Power Pivot, Power View, Power Map, and more.  As of right now there are still a few seats remaining, so if you are attending the event or are in the general area get signed up and join us:)

On Saturday I will be continuing the adventure and doing my talk on Delivering Self-Service BI with Power.

Delivering Self-Service BI with Power

In this session, we will discuss the enhancements and new features that are provided with Excel 2013 as Microsoft continues its roadmap with self-service BI. First we will go over the changes that have been made in Excel 2013, covering the new features. From there we will show how Power Pivot models can be used to integrate and load data to be used for analysis. Lastly, we will look at using Power View inside Excel to provide self-service reporting capabilities that are highly interactive.

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 #287 event home.

Hope to see you there!

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SQLSaturday Madison #287 Pre-Cons Registration Now Open

Posted by denglishbi on February 13, 2014

Just announced this week, there will be three amazing pre-con events on Friday, March 28 at the SQLSaturday event in Madison.  Registration is now open and seating is limited, so sign up while you still have the opportunity.

The pre-con events are an all-day event with a small group, lunch is provided, and there is a nominal fee of $100.  These pre-con events are a great way to really dive into a particular area and have a really up-and-close interactive experience with the instructors and fellow classmates.  I will be doing a self-service Power BI course that will cover Power Pivot, Power Query, Power View, and Power Maps all using Excel, very powerful and cool:)

Here is the list of three pre-cons:sqlsat madison

Virtualization for SQL Server DBA’s with David Klee

VMware vExpert and SQL Server performance expert David Klee leads this full-day, hands-on introduction to enabling and managing a virtualized SQL Server environment. The focus of the course is to help those new to virtualization and/or infrastructure concepts to become familiar with the concept and purposes of virtualization and how it can benefit them as data professionals. Participants will gain exposure to all layers of virtualization underneath SQL Server, from storage to hypervisor to the SQL Server instance, and will learn how to construct the entire stack with the focus on SQL Server performance.

Upon completion of this course, attendees will be able to:

  • Understand key virtualization and cloud concepts
  • Determine the optimal infrastructure configuration for best performance
  • Construct a SQL Server virtual machine template with best practices for agility and performance
  • Understand how and what stack metrics to benchmark and baseline to ensure proper objective performance measurement
  • Identify and remediate common virtualized SQL Server performance killers
  • Understand proper virtualized capacity management techniques for long term management

Attendees with the following experiences will benefit the most from this course:

  • Basic familiarity with the core components of a server
  • SQL Server installation and configuration
  • Exposure to SQL Server performance metric measurement and identification

A working set of the screens and configuration settings referenced in the session, together with the reference slides and documentation, will be provided to attendees, for prospective reference in working with virtualized SQL Server in their own environments.

Make Me a Tuning Believer w/Jes Borland & Ted Krueger

Are you an accidental DBA or developer that has been told to make a T-SQL query run faster? How many times have you heard complaints from the business about a report taking 5 minutes, 10 minutes, or longer to run? Have you found yourself lost in the mix of execution plan operations and indexing and scans?

Come to this class to build your query and execution plan tuning skills from beginning to end. We’ll focus on the everyday DBA’s and developer’s needs for tuning, and build up to more advanced methods which can be taken directly to work and bring immediate improvements in performance.

The workshop will show you skills and tools that revolve around what you will see most commonly in any business, such as:

  • The life cycle of a transaction
  • Preventing bad T-SQL coding practices
  • Reading an Execution Plan
  • Plan Cache and Monitoring
  • Execution Plan Tuning
  • Capturing bad execution plans that need to be tuned

You’ll also have plenty of time to ask your questions and get answers!

Self-Service BI to the Max with Dan English

Having the freedom and ability to easily explore and provide reporting and valuable insights within an organization has been a challenge for years. Well no more! The time to unlock and open up the doors to information is now. In this all-day pre-conference you will see that with the use of Excel you can be empowered to easily load and relate data, build business logic and calculations, enrich data with additional sources, and build highly visual and compelling reports.

We will explore Excel, Power Query, Power Pivot, Power View, and Power Maps and show you how you can maximize the investment in the tools that Microsoft has provided. By the end of the day you will see how you will no longer be held back to waiting for a report request or being able to not ask the questions you have wanted to, take the next step and see what powers await you with Excel and unleash your data!

Don’t delay, to secure your spot register now!

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Twin Cities ScarePoint Saturday Follow Up

Posted by denglishbi on November 2, 2011

[tweetmeme source=”denglishbi” only_single=”false”]

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.

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MN Microsoft BI User Group 2011 Q3 Follow up

Posted by denglishbi on September 20, 2011

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UPDATE (9/23/2011): A link to the Project “Crescent” Demo video has now been added and featured on the “Crescent” wiki page in the Videos section – Project Crescent Overview.

Last week I presented on What’s New with BI in SQL Server Denali (SQL11) at the Minnesota BI User Group Q3 meeting with Jin Cho from Microsoft.  Granted that in only an hour and a half we couldn’t do the topic complete justice because there is just so much to cover and it helps to provide some demos to showcase the new features and enhancements that have been made.  The topics that we covered where going over Analysis Services and PowerPivot, talked about the BI Semantic Model, Columnstore Indexes, Integration Services, Data Quality Services, Reporting Services SharePoint Integration, and “Crescent”.

I wish I would have had more time to be able to demo some of the new SSIS items, but I allocated my demo slot to show the new self-service reporting authoring tool Crescent.  Each of the topics that we did talk about can easily be their own topic for presentation, so stay tuned for the upcoming MN SQL Saturday event and the next MN Microsoft BI User Group Q4 meeting in December.  There will also be a lot of content in regards to this topic at the upcoming PASS 2011 Summit next month that I would highly recommend.

You can download the presentation from my SkyDrive account or you can check out the slides available via SlideShare as well:


I have also setup a video that goes over the “Crescent” demo that I went over during the presentation.  I believe that when I switched laptops during the presentation that I did not share the desktop with Live Meeting, so I apologize for that and since this will not be part of the recording I put together a quick video.

Project “Crescent” Demo from Dan English on Vimeo.

A link to the Project “Crescent” Demo video has now been added and featured on the “Crescent” wiki page in the Videos section – Project Crescent Overview

For more BI highlights in the upcoming SQL Server release check out this list – Top 10 BI Reasons to Upgrade to SQL Server ‘Denali’ (SQL11).

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MN Microsoft BI User Group 2011 Q1 Follow up

Posted by denglishbi on March 30, 2011

[tweetmeme source=”denglishbi” only_single=”false”]

Last week was the first meeting of the year for our Minnesota Microsoft BI User Group.  The topic for the whole evening was Analysis Services including talks at getting started with SSAS (UDM) project, some tips & tricks, and then my PowerPivot presentation.

We also tried using LiveMeeting for the first time with recording the presentations and hopefully in the next week or so we will be able to share that content as well.  We will see because it was the first time and I haven’t had a chance to check out the recordings yet.

In general I think the presentations went well and we had around 70 people all together and another dozen or so on the LiveMeeting.  The one thing that didn’t go so well for me was when I had to share my desktop to do my presentation.  For some reason LiveMeeting was forcing me to switch to a 800×600 resolution (haven’t ran into this before, but usually only have to switch to a 1024×768).  Well needless to say when it came time to do my PowerPivot demo it pretty much tanked.  Trying to work with PowerPivot with this resolution is pretty much impossible, especially went it comes time to create the PivotTables and PivotCharts along with slicers in Excel.

If you are curious to what I was experiencing here is what PowerPivot looks like at 800×600:


When I initially loaded the data into the PowerPivot window for some reason I was unable to see the tabs on the bottom of the window, so I couldn’t figure out how to switch between the tables.  Once I closed the windows and reloaded it I was able to see the tabs though (nothing like being put on the spot – I felt like an id10t).  Now that I have ran into this issue I figured out a few workarounds for in the future like in Excel I can minimize the Ribbon and utilize the zooming capabilities in the lower-right hand corner.  Once you do this you can get a little more working room (this doesn’t work in the PowerPivot window though).  After you do these modifications you can at least see what you are doing to a certain degree:


There were quite a few spots where I couldn’t even position the dialog boxes in a position where I could even click the buttons in them, so I was just hoping that if I clicked ‘Enter’ that the dialog box would close and accept my changes I made (and they did, thankfully).  It is also hard to find items in the Ribbon when it gets squished down, so you just have to be pretty much prepared for anything when it comes to doing a live demo.  I tried to salvage the demo as best as I could, but eventually I had to give up and toss in the towel.  I was extremely disappointed and felt awful for the attendees.  I am hoping that what I was able to show along with the content that people found it useful.  I am planning on creating a video of my PowerPivot demo to share as well.  Once I have this available I will post an additional follow up posting with that as well.image

For now I will simply provide some of my blog postings as references for some of the items I mentioned in my presentation and share my presentation as well.  Here are the blog posting references to some items I covered:

I do have more postings as well, you can simply check out the items through the PowerPivot tag.

Here is my presentation deck (available from my SkyDrive account) and stay tuned for the video; I will have it available soon and post on Vimeo with my other videos and post a follow up here on my blog.  Until then, enjoy the presentation content.


Posted in Business Intelligence, PowerPivot, Training | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »


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