PowerView and PowerPoint Interaction is not available offline

During my session at TechEd Europe, I was asked if Power View would still be interactive in PowerPoint, if the PowerPoint couldn’t connect to the Sharepoint source.

Unfortunately, this is not possible. We can look at the code inside the PowerPoint file by right-clicking on the Power View image, and selecting ‘View Code’.  We can see that there is a link to the Sharepoint PowerPivot Directory and also the Report Server. Here is my example below, and if you click on it, you will get my flickr larger version:
PowerView Silverlight

Alternative Hosting is being used in order to serve up Silverlight, which means that it needs to be able to point to the Sharepoint source in order to serve up the Power View report for interactivity. Since it is using Silverlight, it won’t be accessible on an iPad device.

I believe that this constraint has been put in place for security reasons; it is important to secure data and data visualisations, and it would make sense that Power View interactivity was restricted to where it could be best secured.

SQLPass Global Growth: Don’t be Afraid of Growth, Be Afraid of Standing Still

Do not be afraid of growing slowly; instead, be afraid of standing still (Chinese proverb)

The Professional Association of SQL Server is in a state of international growth, in order to meet international demand. PASS are moving from a US-centric organisation to a global organisation, which is a huge effort with many cross-cultural and cross-language complexities.  Cicero once said, the searching-out and thorough investigation of truth ought to be the primary study of humans. PASS are looking for your engagement and input into how they can grow effectively.

There is plenty of risk in trying to change an organisation. However, there is a real need for a global SQL Server association, and PASS are best situated to meet the demand. The stellar team at PASS are the only ones with experience in growing the organisation from a few members to an organisation that serves thousands of people in the United States. To do this properly, however, they will need to learn from experience and input from the community as a whole.
In other words, PASS need to talk little, to hear much, to reflect upon what has passed in company, to distrust one’s own opinions, and value others’ opinions that deserve it.  Here’s what I think. To give you some context, I’m a European who is involved in PASS in a number of ways:

·        I am extremely fortunate to speak at PASS Summit, having done two sessions last year and I’ve been successfully selected to give two sessions this year. If you love SQL Server, please do consider coming to Summit – it was a real life-changing, memorable experience to mix with so many like-minded people who I’m now privileged to call my friends. You will not regret it.

·        I help to organise Women in Technology events across Europe. So far, I’ve been involved in organising cross-cultural Women in Technology events in SQLRally Nordic in Sweden, Portugal, and Poland, with other events on the way. I’ve also been a Panel member at the WIT event in SQLRally in Dallas 2012, and also in SQLSaturday 109 in Silicon Valley.

·        I am a co-chair for the Business Intelligence Virtual Chapter in Europe. Basically this involves mentoring new webinar speakers, in addition to pestering well-known speakers to give us a Business Intelligence oriented webinar.

·        I have also spoken at the Performance Virtual Chapter as well as the Business Intelligence Virtual Chapter; please have a look at the Virtual Chapters. They are a wealth of training materials, which can help to put you ahead.  

For what it’s worth, here are my thoughts on how I’d like to see PASS grow:

PASSion – I would like to propose that PASS offer a program, similar to the MVP Program, which awards outstanding community members with an Award that recognises their efforts. PASS already have an Award which is handed out at Summit, but I think that there are many people who deserve a similar award for the work that they do for the PASS community. This Award could be handed out every three months, similar to the MVP Award. However, unlike the MVP Award, I don’t see that the PASS version would need to involve technical excellence, but would instead focus on superlative community efforts.  I can think of a few names immediately for their work at PASS for SQL Saturdays, User Groups and so on: Pam Shaw, Aaron Nelson, Mark Broadbent, Neil Hambly to name a few.

Community – SQLRally is currently being put on ice whilst the Board work out a differentiator. My own thought is that SQLRally could consist completely of affordably-priced paying precons and half-day sessions. The evening event could involve an after-dinner speaker rather than beers and games, for example. My belief is that this would move PASS from provisioning quality training in the SQL Community, to moving it to offer training provision which is business-oriented. Any profits can go back to growing the community. Since it would involve funds, it would be a smaller event which could be repeated or focused in order to meet the needs of businesses. Therefore, there could be a Business Intelligence focused SQLRally, a DBA-focused SQLRally, and Information Workers Rally (IWRally?) and so on. It could also be conducted in different languages, and so on.

Europe Board – I have had a look at the proposed structure, and noted that an International Events Subcommittee is in place. I think that’s a good idea. There needs to be a unified strategy or PASS risk being spread too thinly. PASS organisation of events is superlative, but I think that the ‘gently, gently, incrementally’ approach is the right one whilst we all find our feet.

Platform – as the volunteer who organises WIT events for PASS and SQL Events in Europe, I can wholeheartedly thank the PASS Board and team members who’ve offered amazing support to me, in order to make sure that these events rock. I’ve called on various PASS members for support, and have had an amazing response every time. I foresee PASS as a vehicle for supporting Women in Technology across Europe, and I’d like to be involved in making that happen.

I’ve no doubt that, like any period of growth, there will be teething problems. As long as we have a common goal as a community – in other words, to turn PASS into a truly global organisation – then this will help to hold us together, and not get distracted by sideshows. You don’t reach your goals if you allow your fear to grow bigger than your faith, and I hope that we can ride out any political issues along the way. As Nietzsche said, for a tree to become tall, it must grow tough roots among the rocks; in other words, the global emerging communities can use the existing US to help build new communities around the world.

As Franklin once said, energy and persistence conquer all things; as long we have a common goal, we will succeed as a community to support the up-and-coming, young communities who need help, guidance and support. If you are a member of PASS who listens to webinars, attends meetings, or attends Summit, then you should be thankful that you have an organisation that offers you these things. For international SQL Server lovers, they don’t always have the same opportunities, and this is what PASS hopes to offer to them.

My TechEd Europe Speaking and Expo Sessions

I’m very excited to announce that I’m helping out during Microsoft Expo Hours at TechEd Europe, as well as speaking!  If you’d like to drop by and meet me for a chat about anything Business Intelligence or SQL Server related, then please come and find me in the Microsoft Expo Hall at the following times:

  • Tuesday 26th June: 11:30PM – 2:00PM
  • Tuesday 26th June: 5:45PM – 7.30PM
  • Wednesday 27th June: 12:00PM – 2:30PM
  • Friday 29th June: 11:30AM – 1:30PM

My focus will be on Breakthrough Insights using Data Visualisation.

I will be presenting on Business Intelligence and Data Visualisation at the following times:

Room G106 on Thu, Jun 28 10:15 AM11:30 AM

MSDN UK Team Blog Pointer: Writing Better SQL with your head in the Clouds?

I’ve started to write more for MSDN UK in addition to my own blog. Here is a recent article that I wrote for MSDN, which points people at Itzik Ben-Gan’s series on Writing Better SQL. I liked Itzik’s series very much, so I decided to write the blog in order to point MSDN readers to it.

In the article, I point out the benefit of Itzik’s series, which I see as follows;

– it helps novices to write better SQL
– it helps more practices SQL crafters to write SQL for SQL Azure.

If you’d like to take a look, head over and I strongly recommend Itzik’s series for everyone.

MSTechEd Follow Up References on Data Visualisation and Business Intelligence

Here are some follow-up references from my MSTechEd session this week:
Every Friday at 1pm EST – that’s 6pm for us here in the UK – Howard Dresner ( blog | twitter ) and the BIWisdom team use Twitter in order to chair a discussion on business intelligence topics.If you are interested in Business Intelligence, please feel free to join us!
Stephen Few References
Any book or article by Stephen Few, and in particular, I recommend ‘Now You See It‘ 
I suggest you also look at his blog: www.perceptualedge.com Once you look at his site, you’ll see why I recommend it. Great writing and smart thinking.
Edward Tufte References
Nathan Yau References

I love the Flowing Data site, and Nathan Yau’s book is entitled ‘Visualise This: The Flowing Data Guide to Design, Visualization and Statistics‘.

Howard Dresner’s Site

Howard Dresner‘s site contains a lot of information, and I recommend that you look at all of it. Excellent work! 

I suggested that you look at his study called ‘The Third Annual Wisdom of Crowds Business Intelligence Market Study’ and Howard Dresner has written about it here. I discuss this study at the beginning and I strongly recommend it for in-depth analysis, and sometimes surprising results!
I hope that this helps!

My TechEd Videos and Slides, plus my favourite session!

Thanks to all who attended my #MSTechEd session! The video and slides are now at the Channel9 site and you can see them here.

The TechEd material is fantastic and there are lots of good sessions to choose from. I’d like to point you in the direction of the Business Intelligence track at TechEd, and here is a sample of the great content to view:

The 12 Reasons to Love Microsoft SQL Server 2012 with Dandy Weyn, Sean Boon and Thomas La Rock
The Dirty Dozen: Windows PowerShell Scripts for the Busy DBA by Aaron Nelson
Building Self-Service BI Applications Using PowerPivot by Julie Strauss
and my personal favourite:
BISM: Multidimensional vs. Tabular with Marco Russo and Alberto Ferrari

There are too many to list here, so please head over to Channel 9 and take a look!

My TechEd 2012 Journey, and some ‘Thank You’ messages from me!

I had the privilege of presenting at TechEd 2012 in June 2012, and my slides can be found below. My topic was Business Intelligence and Data Visualisation, and my intention was to present an overview of PowerPivot, Power View and some Reporting Services whilst providing a background on the ‘why’ of data visualisation.
Before you dive into the slides, a few big ‘Thank You’ messages from me:

I want to say a big Thank You to the organisers. They have put in a superhuman effort to make TechEd a success. In particular, I’d like to thank Dandy Weyn who helped me to overcome some AV issues right before my presentation, along with the other help he’s given me along this TechEd Journey. There are other people as well, such as the organising team at Microsoft, and I’d like to thank them.

I wanted to say a big Thank You to the audience. I loved the participation. Although they may not realise it, they’ve given me a wonderful lifetime experience at TechEd, which I’ll never forget. It was awesome to meet so many people who love Business Intelligence and Data Visualisation as I do. Before I started the session, I asked audience members to introduce themselves and each other. If some post-TechEd friendships spring up as a result of this, I will consider my presentation a success in ways that don’t find their ways into the evaluation summaries.

Therefore, the slide deck is a team effort since I’ve had lots of input and support along the way. Please head over to the Channel 9 site in order to download slides and view the video. The download slides and video link is here, and I look forward to your comments!