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 

No, I don’t receive “kickbacks” from registrations that use this code. But if enough people use it, that bolsters our cause by showing them how relevant we are. And… I don’t mind winning meaningless contests either. Meaningless victories are the easiest to brag about since typically there are no hurt feelings.

Partial List of 2014’s Relevant/Interesting Sessions
Here’s something I did last year that people seemed to appreciate, so I’ll do it again this year. I combed through the 70+ sessions currently posted and pulled out a bunch that caught my eye. Certainly not a complete list, and definitely biased by the interests of Yours Truly, but a list this long is a Very Good Sign indeed.

I’ve loosely categorized them as:
1. How-To – training on how to use tools, techniques, etc.
2. Strategy – how to implement a successful analytics/reporting strategy in your org (especially a Power Pivot and/or Power BI strategy). How to sell it to others, cultural best practices, etc.
3. Hybrid – a blend of the two above.
4. Crazy Aussie – Grant Paisley.

And yes, the first two sessions in my list are MY sessions. Click the links in the left column for full abstracts.

Session  Category  My Comments 
PowerPivot: Fundamentals and Patterns to Make You Effective TODAY

 How-To


My full-day preconference session. “Zero to sixty” with Power Pivot and DAX. ($595 additional fee, some of which does go to me.)

Your Own Data Revolution: PowerPivotPro’s Six Principles to Understand and Apply

 Strategy


Me again – session explaining HOW to apply Power Pivot and related tools for maximum effect within your organization.

Business Intelligence Transformed Our Finance Department

 Strategy


Director of finance at Microsoft itself! Very interesting and relevant from an org strategy perspective.

DAX from the Field: Real-World Case Studies

 Hybrid  

THE Alberto Ferrari! I’ll sit in and spy on what he’s been up to.  

M versus P versus R

 Hybrid
 
I really, REALLY, like the practical tone of this session abstract.

MDX for PowerPivot Users


 How-To


I, um, yeah. I think I am finally ready for this next leap in my data powers. Who better to help me than C-Webb?

Querying in DAX


 How-To


Another data powers leap that I feel ready for. And another monster instructor: Marco Russo!

Solving Complex Business Problems with DAX

 How-To

Kasper “The Mean Dutchman” de Jonge

Through Gardens Overgrown: PowerPivot to SSAS 2012 Tabular

 Hybrid 


How Power Pivot models can “mature” into SSAS Tabular models with zero friction.


BI in Windows Azure Virtual Machines: From Creation to User Access

 How-To


I personally wonder about the trade-offs of VMs in Azure vs. Amazon EC2. Do I get any special bells and whistles if I use the MS cloud?

Health Analytics: Quality and Effectiveness of Healthcare with Power BI

  Hybrid 


Healthcare = Big Money = Relevant. Enough said.


Kick-Ass Ad Hoc Cube Browser Built in SSRS 2014

 Crazy Aussie :)
Past sessions by “Grahnt” have resembled Gallagher shows. Watch for flying objects.

3D Visualization and Storytelling with Power Map for Excel

 How-To


The one and only Ari Schorr! (Make sure you ask him about the Pro Plus decision. He LOVES that question!)

Advanced Analytics in Excel 2013

 How-To

 
Advanced Spatial Analysis: Beyond Bubble Charts

 How-To

 
Data Analysis in Excel and Power BI for Office 365

 How-To

 
Enabling Enterprise-Scale Business Analytics 

 Strategy

Northrup-Grumman case study. Good for legitimizing Power * adoption in your org.

Fighting Global Cybercrime and BotNets using Power BI and Big Data

 Strategy


 
Natural Language Data Exploration with Power BI Q&A

 How-To

 
Panel: Has Big Data Killed the EDW?

 Strategy

I’m keenly watching this trend, as it could change things dramatically. Or mostly fizzle.

Power BI from an IT Pro Perspective

 Strategy

 
R and Hadoop: From Data Sources to Secret Sauce

 Hybrid 

Jen Stirrup!

Unlocking Business Value with Advanced Analytics
 Hybrid  Internal usage of Data Science at MS. Given that it’s MS, I expect MS tools to make an appearance.

Code and Link (Again)
In case you don’t want to scroll back up, here they are again:

BASB5O – Click to Register

Hope to see you there! I’ll try to organize some sort of “meetup” as the event gets closer. We’ll take over a restaurant or something.