Dan English's BI Blog

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

Posts Tagged ‘presentations’

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

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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 »

SQL Saturday 58 – Minnesota: Follow up & Lessons Learned

Posted by denglishbi on October 31, 2010

This past Friday was the big SQL Server event of the year in Prior Lake, MN with the first ever SQL Saturday on a Friday (for the R2 launch earlier this year we were around 240 people in attendance).  Last year we simply put together our own little all day free event called PASSMN SQL Summit and this year we decided to leverage the SQL Saturday branding.  Based on last year’s attendance of 100 people and the R2 launch this year we knew that we needed a large area to hold the event.  This year we headed back to one of my previous employers and went to Mystic Lake Casino Hotel.  We had over 280 people register for the event, around 20 decided to cancel, and then 50 that were still on the wait list (around 330 people signed up!).  We ended up with approximately 250 show up for the event (around 40 people were wait list or just showed up – a 23.6% drop off rate, but the wait list or unregistered count made up for that and so did the sponsors) and then add another 30 or so headcount with the sponsors (probably more because they were taking shifts), so in all close to 280 or so in attendance.  I was completely in awe by the turnout and I think we did surprisingly well getting everyone through the registration process in time for the opening sessions.


Each of our rooms held up to 66 people.  Next year we will definitely need more seating because the rooms did fill up.  We did have the rooms split into 4 rows of classroom style and then a couple of rows of theater style seating.  The class room style setup was nice for the people taking notes or using laptops.  We did have free WIFI service, but I was offline for the entire event.  Here are a few things that I will need to remember for next time (some of these I did think of, but just didn’t get the tasks completed):

  • speaker room – on the way to the event I thought about this, but when I arrived at the location and started setting everything up it slipped my mind.  There actually was one other room in our area we could have leveraged, so next time I will make sure we get something setup where the speakers have an area designated for them to get prepared, relax, and place their items.
  • speaker survey baskets – I  did have four spare baskets from the raffle baskets and I simply didn’t get around to labeling them and placing them at the back of the rooms by the water stations.  I thought about this after I placed the raffle baskets on the sponsor tables, but then I headed up to the registration area and forgot about it, plus I needed one more and I could have used a box.
  • prize table signage – we had a prize table setup loaded with books, training video, and software (along with a couple of sponsor raffle baskets), but I didn’t have a ‘Prize Table’ sign.
  • prize ticket distribution – should have provided the tickets ahead of time to the speakers or simply left some at the podium in each room for the speakers to give away during their sessions.  We were providing each speaker with two tickets to give out so that an attendee could go and claim a prize at the table that was not labeled (I think people caught on though after a bit – tons of great books thanks to our sponsors and we got some of them autographed).
  • speaker survey collection – because of the lack of baskets setup for these we didn’t communicate what we were doing with these.  Basically we just wanted the speakers to collect them and keep them for their own personal feedback.  I didn’t get any results, but I did ask people that attended.  They said I did a good job and learned something new, so I am happy.  I am sure I was a bit out of it, so hopefully I did a halfway decent job (don’t know what compels me to present and help organize the event).
  • networking bingo card basket – once again we didn’t have any formal process for the collection of these either.  A basket was finally setup on the prize table for people to place them, but we only had about 30 of them turned in by the end of the day (not a high rate for the work put into them, but great concept).
  • bring camera – yeah I did have my blackjack phone, but an actual camera would have been a better idea and by the end of the day I didn’t take a single picture.  Jason Strate did bring his, so I am anticipating some to be posted on his follow up blog posting sometime soon.
  • double check event guide prior to print – wasn’t a huge deal, but there were a couple minor glitches.  The schedule on the web site had Brian Knight’s sessions back to back and in the guide we had Brian Larson set to present in between his sessions.  We simply made this designation on the poster by the room and made an announcement to the people in the room and standing in the hallway.  Wasn’t a huge deal, but none the less a glitch.  In the guide it also had two different times for the drawings, not a big deal.  The other thing that I missed was stating that Microsoft User Group Support Services (MSFT UGSS) was also a sponsor and provided funding for the event.
  • more communication – I should have provided more information to sponsors about a few things like how the raffle process was going to work at the end and came up with a table designation for them that placed them in the area according to their service.  Some of the sponsors did swap tables, so that was solved for the most part (basically between the DBA and BI vendors).  Should have provided more information in the event guide about prizes, breakfast, lunch, surveys, and PASSMN 2011 election.  People asked for the most part and I explained it, but it would have helped to include a few more details in the guide and in email reminders prior to the event.  I did do one blog posting about the event prior to go-live, so hopefully that provided a little more insight – Inside Scoop on SQL Saturday 58 – Minnesota.  Over communicating is never a bad thing, especially for such a large event.  Live and learn I guess.  This was a big task to pull off based on the size of the event.
  • more planning time – so we started setting this up on August 9 with getting the SQL Saturday site setup and then on August 11 I started talks with Mystic Lake Casino.  81 days (2 months, 2 weeks, and 6 days) later the event happened.  Pretty amazing that we were able to get 24 sponsors and everything put together in that time period, but all-in-all I think it was extremely successful and we can only improve upon this for next year.  The PASSMN Executive Board did a great job in helping out and my wife also came through for me big time.  I have a tough time asking for help and I am working on that and next year we will definitely need a few more people to help out during the day at registration and at the prize table (need to create a schedule and sign-up sheet).
  • bring chap stick – sounds rather odd, but for some reason my lips got very dry and they still are today.

It would have been nice to sit in on a couple of sessions, but I did not.  I spent my time making sure everything was running smoothly, helped with registration, worked the prize table, talked with the sponsors, talked with speakers, and of course talked with attendees.  I wish we would have been able to come up with some way to record them, maybe with more time we could have tried to get Live Meeting setup and have everyone record their sessions (if they were okay with that of course).  Hopefully we will be able to get everyone to upload their content and have it available on the schedule page (click on the session and the download link will be available if they have done this).  I uploaded my content today – Leverage the MS BI Toolset to Monitor Performance.

I did get a lot of compliments on the event, the location, food, setup, speaker lineup, and prizes.  That was good to hear.  I hope everyone enjoyed it (how could you not?).  I know I did and it made me feel really good to see everything come together and to have people actually show up, volunteer, sponsor the event, and for people to come and speak.  We only had 16 speakers/volunteers show up for the dinner the night before the big event and 18 people show up for the after party (was hoping for more, so not sure what happened there – we hit the happy hour though).  I would like to see some better numbers for these two items, so next year we will try and improve upon that.

Now next year we will have to see if we have this on a Friday or Saturday.  We would anticipate that we would need a larger lunch area if we provide food for the event.  Mystic Lake could still work, but based on a convention style setup with the costs we would have to evaluate this (going to add a Platinum level for sponsorship).  I will not be on the PASSMN Executive Board next year.  After two years of being the Chair/President I have decided to open the spot up for someone new.  I have definitely enjoyed being a part of the board and am very pleased with how things have gone the last couple of years.

I will actually be shifting my focus over to the Microsoft BI User Group here in Minnesota next year.  I will be working with GNet Group and Microsoft, so this will now include Superior Consulting Services.  Next year I believe we are going to try to pool the two user groups together and combine forces to have another event like this, but try and make it even more special (is that possible? can it be done? yes, we can surely try or best).  We might have to explore the possibility of going down to the U of M campus and doing it on a Saturday, but we will see because I am still not a fan of the Saturday events.  We will publish a survey to get feedback about this year’s event along with suggestions/ideas for next year soon (please take a few minutes and provide some meaningful feedback with constructive comments).

I did a little PowerPivot analysis with the attendee registration last week (did you think I wouldn’t…) just to see how we were distributed and what companies were attending.  I know for a fact that Mystic Lake had at least 10 people in attendance, so they were our number one company for attendance if you factor out the blanks.  A little data cleansing would need to be implemented here to get the company names standardized because you will see quite a few different variations of the company names (data quality problems? nah).  Here is what we had (this is who registered, not actually attended):


And just remember, this was a FREE event for all of the attendees.  Simply amazing with a big kudos to all of the organizers, volunteers, Mystic Lake staff, and our sponsors!

I did upload my presentation material and this is available on the schedule page once you click on the session – Leverage the MS BI Toolset to Monitor Performance.  A reminder will be getting sent out to make sure that the other speakers upload their content as well, so hopefully over the next week or two all of them will be available.

Well, that is it for this one.  We should be ready to announce the new PASSMN 2011 Board shortly (doesn’t look like a vote will be needed – 2 years in a row).  We will have three new members on the board next year and I will still be around and volunteer when needed.  I am a fan of the SQL community, so I will always be around to help out.  We still have at least one more meeting this year and possibly two if we have a December meeting and it seems like we typically squeeze one in.

Posted in SQL Server, Training | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »


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