Category: Conference Sessions

Looking Forward to the PASS Business Analytics Conference

By Mark Vaillancourt
(Cross-posted from Mark V SQL)

I have the great privilege to attend the PASS Business Analytics Conference in San Jose, CA. This is actually a bit of a surprise since the pieces only fell into place a few weeks ago for my being able to go.

I have been given the opportunity to be part of the Blogger Core again this year and will be Live Blogging the Keynotes. I will also be spending a fair amount of time in the PASS Community Zone chatting about PASS, BI, Data, Star Trek, Star Wars, Dr. Who, and Firefly. And Spenser: For Hire, if anyone is interested. Remember that show? It was awesome.

I wanted to take a moment to share some of the things I am really excited about. These are in no particular order, and this is certainly not everything.

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Interested in Self-Service Analytics at the PASS Business Analytics Conference?

By Kevin Kline
(Cross-posted from Kevin's blog)

I don’t know if you’re planning to attend the PASS Business Analytics Conference. But you'll be missing a ton of great content especially for data, analytics, and business intelligence professionals. There's still plenty of time to register and, if you use my discount code – BABS2B – you'll get $150 off the conference registration fee. There will be more than 70 sessions at the event by BA/BI experts from Intuit, Microsoft, SurveyMonkey, Wells Fargo, and more.

Last year’s inaugural event was quite the shindig, bringing in around 900 business analysts, data scientists, architects, and BI and IT professionals to connect, share, and learn how to get the most out of their data. This year’s conference promises even more real-world insights and best practices, how-to guidance, and strategic vision from some of the most knowledgeable and top-rated speakers in the industry. 

Still don't know what kind of content I'm talking about? Then check out the recorded content, which is more or less a preview of the full PASS BAC from the February 5th webinar phenom known as the 24 Hours of PASS: Business Analytics Edition.

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The Modern Analytics Architecture — My PASS BA Conference Session

By Joey D’Antoni
(Cross-posted from The SQL Herald

In a couple of weeks, I will be presenting The Modern Analytics Architecture at the PASS Business Analytics Conference in San Jose, CA (and this weekend at SQLSaturday Chicago). This topic feels like it has been a couple of years in the making—I got into “big data” when I was at Comcast, where we had a large number of effectively append-only applications that were running on very expensive relational database engines on top of a lot of equally as expensive enterprise SAN space. Even as recently as 2 years ago, the solutions weren’t fully enterprise ready, unless you had a really specialized team of engineers.

However, now that Hadoop is much easier to build and manage, there are SQL and other tools that make connecting to the data very easy. I had been wanting to build this session since I started with it to illustrate from an infrastructure, application, and business perspective of why the tool sets are changing and how you can use these new tool sets to gain richer analysis of your data.

This session isn’t just going to be about Hadoop. You will learn about how SQL Server (and other platforms) can be used as a very powerful analytics platform across large volumes of data. You will learn the infrastructure that drives big data and analytical solutions, and how to decide on whether to deploy on-premises or to the cloud. You will learn about the skills needed to work on Hadoop and some of other tool sets, and I might even crack a few jokes about Oracle.

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PASS Business Analytics Conference 2014

by Brian Mitchell
(Cross-posted from his Big Data and Business Analytics blog)

Last year, the Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS) tried something new with the Business Analytics Conference. I was lucky enough to attend, and I thought it was a hit. There was a diverse set of sessions ranging from traditional Microsoft BI to where open source solutions such as R can fit in an organization. Also, the keynotes were some of the best I’ve seen in years, with Amir Netz rocking PowerBI presentations and Steven Levitt absolutely killing it with his take on analytics. I’m expecting the PASS BA Conference of 2014 to be even better. If you haven’t registered and would like to spend some time in Northern California in May, register here.

I’m very excited about presenting at the PASS Business Analytics Conference with one of my teammates from the Big Data Center of Expertise – Tammy Richter Jones. Our session will focus on the Role of PDW (AU1) & Polybase in the Modern Data Warehouse. If you are interested in PDW and are wondering what Microsoft’s story is for integrating it into the larger ecosystem of Big Data and a modern data warehouse, I suggest you attend our session. This session is something we’ve been working on for a while, and we know you will come away from the session not only informed about the technicalities of how SQL Server PDW works but also be better prepared to utilize all of its new features in your environment.

The Abstract:
In this session, we’ll introduce and discuss the architecture of SQL Server 2012 Parallel Data Warehouse and the new Appliance Update 1. Specifically, we’ll dig into Transparent Data Encryption, Integrated Authentication, the new HDInsight Region, and functionality for adding capacity to an appliance. We’ll also discuss Polybase in depth. This session will not only discuss the technical details of the new features, but also the use cases for this technology, by examining how Polybase can help you:

  • Streamline your ETL process by using Hadoop as the staging area of the backroom
  • Export to your Hadoop environment your Enterprise Data Warehouse conformed dimensions
  • Use Hadoop as a low cost, online data archive
  • Enrich your relational data with ambient data resident in Hadoop

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My Session Picks for the PASS BA Conference

By Excel MVP Henk Vlootman

As I look over the packed PASS Business Analytics Conference program, I wish I could clone myself several times over so I could attend more sessions!

With less than a month until we meet in San Jose, I have been reviewing the agenda and planning my schedule. It has been almost impossible to choose – so many great analytics speakers and topics. In the Thursday 4:00pm slot alone, there are three sessions I would love to attend. But I have made my selections, which you can see below, and you can build your own customized itinerary by logging into the handy Schedule Builder.

I can’t wait to see everyone there. If you haven’t registered yet, sign up soon – and save $150 by using discount code BABT9G.

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Going to the PASS Business Analytics Conference

By John Welch
(Cross-posted from BI Thoughts and Theories)

I found out recently that I’ll be able to attend the PASS Business Analytics Conference this year, which I’m pretty excited about. Also, I’m not presenting at this conference, so I will actually get to relax and enjoy the sessions by other speakers. If you haven’t registered yet, now’s a good time*.

There’s a lot of great content at this conference, and it’s a bit challenging in some time slots to decide on exactly what I want to see most. However, there are three sessions that I will definitely be attending:

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PASS Business Analytics Conference

By Zack Barresse
(Cross-posted from Excel & Access Experts blog)

So, what is it?
The Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS) is an independent, non-profit organization, which is free to register with, committed to helping deliver high quality content and professional development. One of the great features of this conference is what you are paying for. The registration fee actually stays in the community and supports business analytics programs and events.

They are putting on a BA/BI conference in San Jose, CA, this year on May 7-9, 2014. Last year’s conference was a big hit, with some well-known names in attendance, including Bob Phillips, Rob Collie, Chris Webb, and many, many more. A lot of them are reprising their speaking roles again this year as well. In fact, Rob Collie is “doubling down,” as he puts it, delivering two speaking sessions. (May even do a third!)

Even though the organization is SQL-based, there are many things about this conference geared towards the Excel pro. With Microsoft’s new BI offerings in Excel (i.e. Power Pivot, Power Query, etc.), business intelligence has come full force into the Excel world.

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Don't Miss a Thing at the BA Conference – Get the Session Recordings

Can’t possibly attend all the sessions on your PASS Business Analytics Conference must-see list? You can catch those you miss and relive your favorites by ordering the session recordings at the special pre-event attendee rate of $295*.

Including over 70 breakout sessions across five comprehensive topic tracks – plus the Microsoft and David McCandless keynotes – the session recordings come on a convenient USB flash drive. Not only are the recordings a valuable resource as you continue your training throughout the year, but they are a great way to share the conference with your teammates.

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Occupy BACON: Let’s Do This. (Sessions & Discount)

By Rob Collie
(Cross-posted from PowerPivotPro)

Year One Was Great, So I’m Speaking Again – San Jose CA, May 7-9
I really enjoyed the inaugural PASS Business Analytics Conference, aka PASS BACON, last year. Before that, I’d never been to a conference that was even remotely aimed at “my kind of people.” That all changed for me last year. I think we have found our home.

THIS is the kind of conference we need – one that’s accessible without heavy technology expertise. One where Business Impact take center stage, and the only prerequisite is that you enjoy working with data. (And it helps if you don’t flinch at the word “Microsoft.”)

Which suits us Excel folks to a tee, doesn’t it? They might as well put us on the front page. But an explicit mention of Excel would scare off those other people – the non-Excel people (that we outnumber 100 to 1). Honestly, I think we should just take this thing over. You know, like… Occupy BACON. (Brief pause while I replace the previously-bland title of this post with precisely that.)

Putting my time where my mouth is, this year I am “doubling down” and presenting two sessions– a full-day “pre-con” and a “regular” session – see below for details. AND I’m in discussions about presenting a third session as well, stay tuned on that.

Last Year’s Referral Champion Wants to Repeat!
A little bird told us that last year, more people signed up for PASS BACON using the PowerPivotPro discount code than any other discount code.

Pretty cool, eh? Anyway, there’s a discount code again this year, but I’ve been slow to share it. Let’s pretend we did that to give all those “non-Excel” websites a head start, given that whole “100 to 1 outnumber” thing (in reality I have just been swamped). All righty then, here’s the code:

$150 Off When You Register With This Code: BASB5O

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BI and Analytics in 2014

By Carlos Bossy
(cross-posted from Carlos Bossy's Blog)

It’s become a tradition at the end of the year for bloggers and industry pundits to make predictions about their fields of interest, and business intelligence is not spared this annual ritual. While I’ve avoided (or forgotten about) making my own predictions, it seems that the future always comes up when I’m speaking at an event. People want to know what’s coming so they can prepare.

Four Areas to Explore
With the PASS BA Conference coming up in May in San Jose, CA, the question of future direction will certainly come up again. The field of business intelligence is undergoing a shift in how it’s delivered to users and the way it’s developed. After a period of having established common data architectures and practices, including Star Schema models, ETL processes, and cubes for what-if analysis, we are seeing new technologies driving us in different directions.

In my opinion, BI architects and practitioners should start thinking about the following.

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