Cross-posted from Rob Farley's blog

I mean really? Why should you spend some of your training budget to go to this thing?

Suppose you’re someone in the PASS Community who mainly looks after people’s data. That could involve database administration, performance tuning, helping developers write queries, that kind of thing. What part of “Advanced Analytics and Insights,” “Big Data Innovations and Integration,” “Data Analytics and Visualization,” “Information Delivery and Collaboration,” or “Strategy and Architecture” is relevant to you? It sounds all well and good for the BI team, who’s thinking about cubes and models and report subscriptions and Power something, but that’s not you.

The problem is that as data professionals, we’re no longer just database administrators. The world has become more demanding than that. Maybe it’s because of the financial difficulties that the Western world has been facing. Maybe it’s because we’ve outgrown our jobs as database administrators. Maybe we’re simply being asked for more than we were before.

Now more than ever before, if you’re a data professional, you need to be thinking about more than just transaction logs, corruption checking, and backups. You need to be thinking about the overall data story. You can tune your databases to cope with the large amount of data that’s pouring into them, as more and more systems produce consumable data. You can work with your developers to  help them understand the significance of indexes to be able to get the data out faster. But is this really enough?

Today, we need to be strategic about the data. An increasing number of companies are moving their data to the cloud, where the need for database administrators is not quite the same as it has been in the past. There are a number of tools out there to allow you to manage hundreds, even thousands of database servers, putting pressure on you to be providing more from your role.

And then you get asked into meetings! People more senior than you asking about what can be done with the data. Can you offer more than just a comment about how much they can trust you to make sure their data is available?

This is why you need to be looking at things like the Business Analytics Conference. It’s because you need to know how to make the data that you look after more relevant to the organisation that entrusts you with it. You need to know how to get insight from that data. You need to know how to visualise it effectively. You need to know how to make it visible through portals such as SharePoint.

And you need to know WHY these things are important.

Either that, or you need to call in external consultants who can provide these kind of services. You know how to get in touch. ;)
@rob_farley

PS: I should mention that I’m on the PASS board, so I see a lot of stuff about this conference. I’m not part of the organising committee at all, though, and have been remarkably separate from the whole process. I do consider that this conference is about helping people achieve more within the data space, and that’s something I think more people should be taking advantage of.