I’m speaking at Live! 360 Orlando

LSPK77

I’ll be speaking at Live! 360 Orlando, December 5-9. Surrounded by your fellow industry professionals, Live! 360 provides you with immediately usable training and education that will help make you the ‘go to’ expert in your organisation.

SPECIAL OFFER: As a speaker, I can extend $500 savings on the 5-day package. Register here: http://bit.ly/LSPK77_Home

I’ll be presenting the following sessions:

·         A Blueprint for Business Intelligence with SQL Server 2016

·         Agile Analytics with AzureML and R

·         Big Data’s Missing V: Visualization. How Do You BigViz Your Big Data?

 Join me and your fellow industry professionals for 5 days of immediately usable training.  Register today (make sure you use my special code LSPK77 to save $500) to guarantee your space! http://bit.ly/LSPK77_Home

All roads lead to Live! 360: the ultimate education destination! Bring the issues that keep you up at night and prepare to leave this event with the answers, guidance and training you need.  Register now: http://bit.ly/LSPK77_REG

Jen’s PASS Diary: BA Portfolio thoughts, please

As always, this isn’t an official PASS blog post, but one of my braindumps.

In a nutshell, I want to pick community brains. Don’t think analytics isn’t relevant to you, if you’re a DBA: without DBAs, there is no Data Science or Business Analytics. Your input is valuable.

You will have seen the latest blog post from PASS about the strategic direction of PASS Business Analytics conference. If not here, are a few key takeaway quotes:

“The heart of the plan moving forward is community growth, with a focus on expanding outreach to increase visibility, by strengthening local groups, and broadening the scope of our analytics community globally.”

“Business Analytics is a natural extension for PASS. We are committed to helping data professionals connect, share, and learn, whether they work in IT or in the business. We are very excited about the opportunities ahead and look forward to the continued growth and success in the area of Business Analytics.”

I’ve put together a plan of how that might shape up, but I need your help and ideas so that I can do the best job that I can.  for the people who put their faith in me when they voted for me to be on the PASS Board. You’ll see from the post that more than 25,000 PASS members from around the world identifying a professional interest in BA so that’s a lot of people to serve, so that they can connect, learn and share.

I still believe that the industry has got to the point where organisations are either crossing the Rubicon, or sitting on the Acheron where it comes to analytics and making the most of their data.

So tell me: what would you like to see, preferably with an emphasis on something ‘actionable’ that I can deliver? How can I best help you? What do you think would work? Wouldn’t work?

I’ll be releasing a vlog which outlines some of my thoughts and perspectives, in the near future. It will be my first attempt at a vlog and I’ll be happy for any tips too, so I can make that successful.

Here are some contact details:

email: jen.stirrup@datarelish.com

comments box below

twitter: @jenstirrup

LinkedIn: https://uk.linkedin.com/in/jenstirrup to connect

Now, I used to offer to do phone calls and GoToMeeting meetings. However, as many of you will know, I have had to close my Skype account and change my phone number due to various threats, which I reported to the police at the time. Note that these were not vague phone calls: at their height, I was receiving threatening phone calls at a rate of one every two minutes from a variety of phone numbers, day and night across timezones. Some people clearly have a lot of time on their hands. Although that has stopped, mainly because I have changed my details, I am reluctant to hand out these details.

If you’d like to talk, then you can contact me personally so that I go through a process to ‘verify’ you if I don’t know you, and then we will try to arrange something. I am sorry about the extra hoops but I need to protect myself as well as try to help people in the community.

Thank you again; I do appreciate it. I am humble enough to recognise that there is more brain power out there than simply mine. I can’t do everything myself, and I need help to ‘scale’. I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind Regards,

Jen

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Red hair and a teapot dress!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Birthday Power BI! London PUG News #PowerBI

To the Power BI Team – Happy Birthday and congratulations on all of your achievements! You’ve spawned a fantastic product plus a wonderful ecosystem of creative partners, happy consultants, MVPs and Community Contributors, User Group Leaders, and, of course, don’t forget the users. I’d like to thank and congratulate you! I appear in the video, a little way in.

Here’s a video that we all put together; Adam Saxton (@GuyInACube) put it together and worked with Paul Turley did the cat herding getting MVPs together.

Continuing the work, I’m one of the co-organizers of the London Power BI meetup, and we are having a Finance focused meetup this Thursday. Please find more details here amd register here:

Power BI in Financial Services – Rishi Sapra

Rishi will demo Power BI to analyse and visualise some financial datasets and explain why it is just perfect for Financial Services. This includes how and why analysts might move from Excel to PBI for data analysis/discovery as well as a high level view of how Microsoft are positioned within the self-serve/enterprise BI space compared to vendors such as Qlik, Tableau and IBM. Key topics to be covered include:

•  Overview of key functionality of Power BI and how it helps meet the needs of analysts working in Financial Services

•  A look at the EBA Stress Test dataset – both in Excel and then in Power BI

•  A Hands-on demo of working with this data to carry out data cleansing/transformation, calculations and visuals

•  How you can share your reports, keep the data up to date and apply security access by publishing to the Power BI portal.

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See you there!

 

 

WPC Day One: Translating Digital Transformation into Solutions

I blogged over at my ‘official’ company blog about strategic considerations regarding Digital Transformation. There is a lot of messaging directed at sales, partners and CEO level conversations. For the techies, however, how does the strategy translate into a technical implementation that you can actually deliver, to facilitate Digital Transformation within the organisation? In other words, how do you make solutions that are sustainable and relevant?

Microsoft can help with modern, cloud-based tools and a cloud platform. Partners have the ability to use tools such as Office365, Power BI, Microsoft Flow and AzureML to reduce the integration cost and friction to deliver technical solutions. These partners can speak directly to the digital transformation, and lead it. These tools can form composable units or modules, which can be fitted together to meet business needs directly, thereby facilitating digital transformation.

What are these tools? During the WPC keynote, Ecolabs showed off their solution, which involved Power Bi and Microsoft Flow. Here is the example Microsoft Power BI Solution below:
WPC Day 1 Slides
Microsoft Flow is a new tool, which was used to create some of the workflows to align the productivity processes with the resulting dashboard.

What is Microsoft Flow? Well, it’s a great little app and I think you should take a look. Microsoft Flow allows you to create automated workflows between your business or consumer applications and services and connects them so that you get some action, such as notifications, synchronize files, collect data, and more actions that might be useful to your business.

Why is that useful for a Business Intelligence implementation? Well, it can help to track where your data is going. As someone who often goes into organisations where people have ‘lost’ data or it is hiding somewhere that the business people can’t get it, I see Microsoft Flow as a way forward for Digital Transformation in the business by facilitating the flow of data around the organisation.

You can even create workflows on your mobile device. Here is the Ecolabs example from WPC:
WPC Day 1 Slides
Basically, a Flow connects your web services, files, and cloud-based data to save time and effort for everyone, every day.

It’s good to see that Microsoft are a much more open organisation these days; I think that Microsoft Flow is evidence of the open attitude towards other companies, organisations and methodologies that are outside of the Microsoft corporate boundary. In particular, I am a huge fan of Wunderlist and they mentioned it yesterday during the Day One keynote. I know that Wunderlist have been bought by Microsoft and I hope that Wunderlist will appear in Office365 soon, such as in Outlook.

How does Flow work? Well, you start with a template, which gives you a great head start. Why not give it a blast? If it means you get to use Wunderlist as well for all of your lists, and start to love it, then you can thank me!

 

You could even use Microsoft Flow for new Github issues, and send a notification to Slack. Or perhaps you could use Flow so that you retain Dropbox as your file storage system, integrated with Office365. The examples are endless, I think.

All this shows that the cloud is a great enabler, and a platform, which partners and companies can use in order to make their organisations more productive and collaborative. These are simple examples, and I’m sure that you can think of more! The integrations all happen in the cloud, and it is one way that the cloud can be used as a tool for Digital Transformation.

Any questions, send me an email at hello@datarelish.com.

Kind Regards,

Jen Stirrup

JenStirrup

 

 

5 Things I need you to do if you want me to nominate you for an MVP Award

mvp_logo

It’s great to see so many people want to participate in the MVP Program. I find that I’m being asked fairly frequently at the moment – say, a couple of times a week – by community individuals if I will nominate them.

Here are some disclaimers:

  • I have no influence over the MVP Program at all
  • I consider myself lucky to be part of the Program. It is a gift, not an entitlement, and it can be gone at any time.
  • The people who nominated me were not my friends, apart from one person (thank you Andrew!). These were generous people who gave their time to nominate me, and it turns out I was nominated by a lot of people, over a period of time, before I got the Award.

I tend to be happy to nominate people if they ask me; after all, it’s not my decision and it may be good for the Program as well as the individual. From my experience, it wasn’t my community ‘friends’ who nominated me, it was people who didn’t know me very well but they could see that I was making a positive difference in the community. I see the MVP Award as a ‘golden ticket’ to do even more positive things for the community; it is about being other-centered, and not self-centered, I think.

OutliersI don’t see that I am an expert now I’ve been given an Award. Throughout his book Outliers, Gladwell repeatedly mentions the “10,000-Hour Rule”, claiming that the key to achieving world class expertise in any skill, is, to a large extent, a matter of practicing the correct way, for a total of around 10,000 hours. What he doesn’t say is the next step: the world is moving so fast, you have to keep working all the time to stay on top. So that means that other things sometimes have to be let go.

My brother, a wise man, once told me that ‘it’s lonely at the top’ when I complained about the number of ‘real’ friends I’d lost, particularly over the past two years. Although I don’t see myself at the top of anything (unless it is a complete mess) I see that, sometimes, other people do; and that’s why they ask for the nomination. If I can inspire someone to do good things for the community, then that’s a good thing for me. In fact, leaders should leave a plan and a structure behind them in their trail; good leaders look at what they leave behind them, as well as looking far forward into the future.

I do nominate people myself, and sometimes I’m lucky that they get the Award after one or more nominations e.g. Stephanie Locke, Mark Wilcock, Ryan Adams and Mark Broadbent, but sometimes I nominate and it doesn’t happen for the nominee. I do try to nominate people who I can see are in my ‘trail’ and hopefully, if anything, my life will serve as a cautionary tale and a ‘teachable moment’ for others.

So, what do I need you to do for me? Tell me, in your own words:

  1. Your community activities. Please list them out for me. Don’t assume that I know. I don’t remember what I did, last week. I certainly will have very little clue what you did, even if you were with me.
  2. What you think you’d contribute to community life for Microsoft, their product groups, and the people who work at Microsoft. They are people too and I love most of the ones that I come across. Be generous with your time with Microsoft people too; don’t assume that, because they work for a massive company, that they aren’t under pressure or really busy. Trust me. They are. Don’t criticise without offering to help first.
  3. The area of expertise you think you bring to the MVP Program. I know we are all Data Platform these days, but it makes things simple.
  4. What would you like to do for the Program?
  5. Tell me more about you. Help me to find a thread that makes you unique, and stand out a little.

I know it seems a lot. I’m busy and i need help filling out the form, and I want to do a good job for you. If you can’t be bothered to give me these things, well, you can’t really expect me to spend hours collating all of this information for you! I can tweak it so it’s good English (for example) but you will help me a lot of if you can be your own voice. I don’t want to miss something out, because I forgot to put something in.

What you could do in return; say thanks to me, ask other people to nominate you too, and, most of all, nominate people yourself. Be generous with your time.

Help me to help you.
Image from page 311 of "Greek athletic sports and festivals" (1910)

Jen’s PASS Diary: The Happy Prince and the Swallow

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Picture Credit: checanty

Oscar Wilde was well known for his writing for adults, but he’s probably less well known for his excellent children’s writing, too. He tackles strong themes, and they are well worth the read for adults as well as children. In one short story, The Happy Prince, Wilde writes a rather sad tale about a statue of a Happy Prince, who is somewhat misnamed because he’s never really known true happiness. In the tale, there is a swallow who was left behind after his flock flew off to Egypt. Saddened by what he saw around him, The Happy Prince tasked the swallow with giving everyone the jewels of himself, until, eventually, there was only the basic iron left. The swallow flies around, giving out the precious stones in the statue, but eventually dies, breaking the Happy Prince’s heart. There’s more to it than that, and it’s a sad tale, and for various reasons it has always been special to me.

I think that being on the PASS Board is a bit like being both the Happy Prince and the Swallow. Like everyone, I have talents, experience and wisdom in some areas, and not others. I happen to try to use my talents, small as they are, for the benefit of SQLFamily. I have won both of my PASS elections outright as the winner with the most votes. This means that SQLFamily gave me a position, but also a mandate to try and help the community via PASS. I am a volunteer and I try my best, and I give my ‘jewels’ away for free where I think they are best needing to be spent, and I am also the messenger that takes them there.

It’s a lot of work, however, inside the tent. I’d like to explain a little about how much effort I put in normally. Since I’m in Europe, attending PASS calls means that I’m on the phone late in the evenings. If I have a few calls a week, then that takes out a few of my evenings. It all adds up, and anyone in IT knows it’s not just about the meeting, there is work outside of that as well. If I was based in the US, I’d take the calls during my working day; however, it’s a different story when you have your evenings taken out. I’m just putting that here so people understand that being on the Board, from this part of the world, is actually a huge commitment and this is my third year of doing it. Fortunately I am single so it’s not impacting time with a spouse, although it does impact my newly-found Netflix addiction.

What am I working on? A few things:

There’s a difference between PASS BA the event, and PASS BA the strategy. Both require a lot of work. Vision is ‘why’, strategy is ‘what’, and execution is ‘how’. The strategy is a follow on from a vision, a mission statement of where PASS would like to go. This diagram might help, and I sit along all three of these elements:

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Credit: Goulston Group‘s image.

The PASS Mission Statement has to translate into a strategy, which then translates into execution plans. Execution is crucial, but it shouldn’t be mistaken for a strategy. A strategy is all about making a decision about where to play, and the way to play. A strategy tackles more fundamental questions:

  1. What organisation should PASS be?
  2. How does this add value to PASS?
  3. Who are the target audience for the PASS BA proposition?
  4. What are your value propositions for the BA audience?
  5. What capabilities are essential to adding value to the PASS BA organisation, and differentiating their value proposition?

In future blog posts, I will try to speak to each of these questions from my input as the PASS Business Analytics portfolio holder. A strategy provides a foundation for decision-making. It’s a garden for growth and where to cut costs, and determining priorities. The strategy gives a signpost and a guide to prevent drift, or scope creep. Personally, I have never seen scope ‘creep’ – it usually gallops! So there is a lot to think about, as I try to help PASS continue to be successful, and move forward to further success.

A strategy is particularly critical in volatile environments, and there is none more volatile than the world of data at the moment. You just need to see the Apache top level projects at the moment. Apache Spark is à la mode, but now there is also Apache Flink and Apache Arrow to consider, which also play in some of Spark’s space. Also, you could consider Apache Apex which is designed to improve the performance and speed of big data components that work together as part of a larger system. How would an architect decide, and put these bits together?

I am continuing to make sure that my voice is heard and I’ve already made the following points:

  • Strategy – I have been working a lot on the PASS BA strategy. More details on this will be ongoing, but here are some details which I’ve previously posted. I’m supporting the team as we move forward to tell our story, and that’s involved a lot of research and teamwork. Thank you Teresa C for your help🙂
  • PASS are working on the BA Marathon, as promised in the last blog post. I’ve been having input on that.
  • I’ve raised the question of greater engagement and activity outside of the US. I’ve sent through my thoughts and ideas, and hopefully that will lead into more growth in that area, through strategy and execution. This is crucial; growing PASS will mean greater support and engagement outside of the US. My EMEA seat is supposed to give the ‘voice’ outside of the US to the rest of the Board, and I’ve already made these points on a number of occasion. In my own capacity, I spoke at SQLSaturday Vienna, SQLBits and I’m speaking at SQLSaturday Paris and SQLSaturday Dublin in June. I’m also speaking at Digital Pragmatism: Delivering Real World Improvements in Mental Health. I also spoke at Microsoft TechDays, a UK event.
  • Also, I’m supporting SQL Server Geeks in my own capacity and I’m delivering a precon for the team out there in India to help support their wonderful event and community. How much do I believe in the SQL Server Geeks event? I have 100% faith in the team out there – and SQL Server Geeks is going to be the highlight of my year.I’m delighted to see the growth in the community there. Amit Bansal, Manohar Punna and the team are doing a wonderful job. Pinal Dave runs a wonderful blog out of India. These are only a few people in that part of the world who are doing wonderful things, and they all contribute to make the Data Platform world better, both in person and online.

So, that’s a roundup. As always, please feel free to get in touch at jen.stirrup@sqlpass.org

 

 

 

 

 

See you in Paris? Presenting at SQLSaturday Paris?

Fancy joining me in Paris? 25th June, I’ll be there! The details are below.It’s the place to be, to learn Microsoft Data Platform technologies e.g. Azure, Power BI, SQL Server – and there’s a range of sessions for beginners to experts. Register here – http://www.sqlsaturday.com/510/eventhome.aspx 

Also, a big Thank You to the SQLSaturday Paris team for having me along again. They always do a professional, world-class job of organising the event. Contact Jean-Pierre Riehl for more information ( twitter and GUSS site  )

They are also offering workshops and here’s the information for you to check out. Kevin Kline‘s session will be in English.

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I will be attending Marco Russo’s session on DAX, Markus Ehrermueller-Jensen‘s session on data visualisation, Isabelle Van Campenhoudt and Serge Luca‘s session on Power BI, Kevin Kline’s session on Troubleshooting, and then I’ll be presenting on Cortana Analytics.

L’agenda

SQLSatParis Agenda

20 sessions, 25 experts internationaux
http://www.sqlsaturday.com/510/Sessions/Schedule.aspx

Le SQLSaturday, c’est LA conférence technique internationale de l’année. Avec plus de 25 speakers de 10 nationalités, vous retrouvez le meilleur des technologies Data de Microsoft : SQL Server, Power BI, Azure, deep dive, etc.

Les préconférences

Cette année, les préconférences sont de retour. Imaginez passer la journée entière avec un expert internationalement reconnu pour creuser un sujet particulier ? A mi-chemin entre la formation et la conférence, les préconférences vous permettent de découvrir en profondeur une technologies ou un savoir-faire.

Les premiers sponsors du SQLSaturday Paris

Microsoft, Pyramid AnalyticsData by Design, Jobly, AZEO, DCube et SUPINFO Paris.

Vous pouvez devenir sponsor en nous contactant: sponsors@guss.pro ou en passant par le site de l’événement: https://www.sqlsaturday.com/510/Sponsors/SponsorSignup.aspx