Top 5 Signposts to deep technical expertise at PASS Summit 2016

PASS_Joseph_blog

How do you find deep technical expertise at PASS Summit 2016?

cuf9aznw8aarklgSignpost Number 1: Watch Joseph Sirosh’s Day One keynote.

Attend in person if you can, or watch the live stream on PASS TV if you can’t. The world around us – every business and nearly every industry – is being transformed by technology today, and SQL Server 2016 was built for this new world and to help businesses get ahead of today’s disruptions.
I am very excited about Joseph Sirosh’s keynote at PASS Summit since he will be making announcements… can’t say what… but you can be sure that there will be cutting-edge content around SQL Server 2016 to solve real-world problems. I’m in the PASS Summit 2016 keynote as well, helping with some things… to be announced! I’m extremely honoured.

 

Signpost Two: Want to learn in agile, small groups with the experts?  Microsoft have also added a new type of session called a Chalk Talk. These are Level 500 sessions with Microsoft senior program management hosting open Q&A in a collegiate style setting.  Seating is limited to 50 so you’ll want to get there early to claim your spot.

Signpost Three: Want in-depth, one-to-one help? SQL Clinic is the place to be. SQL Clinic is the hub of technical experts from SQLCAT, Tiger Team, CSS, and others. Whether you are looking for SQL Server deployment support, have a troublesome technical issue, or developing an application the experts at SQL Clinic will have the right advice for you.

Signpost Four: Want to know about anything SQL Server? Microsoft has also increased investment in sending employees onsite to talk with attendees.  They’ll be easy to spot – all 500 Microsoftees will be wearing bright fuchsia t-shirts.  You can find them in big numbers the Day 1 keynote, Microsoft booth, SQL Clinic, Wednesday’s Birds of a Feather luncheon, Thursday’s WIT luncheon, and of course in our big booth in the Expo Hall.

 

Signpost Five: Want Mobile Business Intelligence? SQL Server 2016 offers end-to-end mobile BI solutions on any device at a fraction of the cost of other vendors. Join me at my PASS Session on Wednesday 26th October at 1.30pm, called Mobile BI and Dataviz with SQL Server 2016, R, and PowerBI [Room BID-304] If you want a calendar entry for my session, please download here below.

Outlook Calendar Invite

That’s not all!  The full PASS Summit schedule is here. With SQL Server 2016 , Microsoft is positioned as an industry leader, and now packs an even bigger punch in the recent Gartner Magic Quadrant for Operational Database Management Systems. SQL Server 2016 builds on this leadership, and is packed with powerful built-in features.

I look forward to seeing you there!

 

Guess who is appearing in Joseph Sirosh’s PASS Keynote?

This girl! I am super excited and please allow me to have one little SQUUEEEEEEE! before I tell you what’s happening. Now, this is a lifetime achievement for me, and I cannot begin to tell you how absolutely and deeply honoured I am. I am still in shock!

I am working really hard on my demo and….. I am not going to tell you what it is. You’ll have to watch it. Ok, enough about me and all I’ll say is two things: it’s something that’s never been done at PASS Summit before and secondly, watch the keynote because there may be some discussion about….. I can’t tell you what… only that, it’s a must-watch, must-see, must do keynote event.

We are in a new world of Data and Joseph Sirosh and the team are leading the way. Watching the keynote will mean that you get the news as it happens, and it will help you to keep up with the changes. I do have some news about Dr David DeWitt’s Day Two keynote… so keep watching this space. Today I’d like to talk about the Day One keynote with the brilliant Joseph Sirosh, CVP of Microsoft’s Data Group.

Now, if you haven’t seen Joseph Sirosh present before, then you should. I’ve put some of his earlier sessions here and I recommend that you watch them.

Ignite Conference Session

MLDS Atlanta 2016 Keynote

I hear you asking… what am I doing in it? I’m keeping it a surprise! Well, if you read my earlier blog, you’ll know I transitioned from Artificial Intelligence into Business Intelligence and now I do a hybrid of AI and BI. As a Business Intelligence professional, my customers will ask me for advice when they can’t get the data that they want. Over the past few years, the ‘answer’ to their question has gone far, far beyond the usual on-premise SQL Server, Analysis Services, SSRS combo.

We are now in a new world of data. Join in the fun!

Customers sense that there is a new world of data. The ‘answer’ to the question Can you please help me with my data?‘ is complex, varied and it’s very much aimed at cost sensitivities, too. Often, customers struggle with data because they now have a Big Data problem, or a storage problem, or a data visualisation access problem. Azure is very neat because it can cope with all of these issues. Now, my projects are Business Intelligence and Business Analytics projects… but they are also ‘move data to the cloud’ projects in disguise, and that’s in response to the customer need. So if you are Business Intelligence professional, get enthusiastic about the cloud because it really empowers you with a new generation of exciting things you can do to please your users and data consumers.

As a BI or an analytics professional, cloud makes data more interesting and exciting. It means you can have a lot more data, in more shapes and sizes and access it in different ways. It also means that you can focus on what you are good at, and make your data estate even more interesting by augmenting it with cool features in Azure. For example, you could add in more exciting things such as Apache Tika library as a worker role in Azure to crack through PDFs and do interesting things with the data in there. If you bring it into SSIS, then you can tear it up and down again when you don’t need it.

I’d go as far as to say that, if you are in Business Intelligence at the moment, you will need to learn about cloud sooner or later. Eventually, you’re going to run into Big Data issues. Alternatively, your end consumers are going to want their data on a mobile device, and you will want easy solutions to deliver it to them. Customers are interested in analytics and the new world of data and you will need to hop on the Azure bus to be a part of it.

The truth is; Joseph Sirosh’s keynotes always contain amazing demos. (No pressure, Jen, no pressure….. ) Now, it’s important to note that these demos are not ‘smoke and mirrors’….

The future is here, now. You can have this technology too.

It doesn’t take much to get started, and it’s not too far removed from what you have in your organisation. AzureML and Power BI have literally hundreds of examples. I learned AzureML looking at the following book by Wee-Hyong Tok and others, so why not download a free book sample?

https://read.amazon.co.uk/kp/card?asin=B00MBL261W&preview=inline&linkCode=kpe&ref_=cm_sw_r_kb_dp_c54ayb2VHWST4

How do you proceed? Well, why not try a little homespun POC with some of your own data to learn about it, and then show your boss. I don’t know about you but I learn by breaking things, and I break things all the time when I’m  learning. You could download some Power BI workbooks, use the sample data and then try to recreate them, for example. Or, why not look at the community R Gallery and try to play with the scripts. you broke something? no problem! Just download a fresh copy and try again. You’ll get further next time.

I hope to see you at the PASS keynote! To register, click here: http://www.sqlpass.org/summit/2016/Sessions/Keynotes.aspx 

What I learned from David Bowie, and Statement of Support for Wendy Pastrick for PASS Board of Directors

Firstly, I don’t speak for PASS generally. Denise McInerny has already written a statement of support and you’re welcome to read it. I encourage you to learn about all the candidates campaign platforms on the PASS Elections site and to vote. The voting period is Oct. 5-11.

87598346_bowie

“Don’t be the first to do something. Be second.” – David Bowie

 

 

I’ve decided to write this statement because Wendy cares about the same things that I do, and I am going to summarise them here.

EMEA

I’d like more support on the PASS Board for Global Growth. Grant Fritchey has started to take this on board, and I look forward to more support and input from the EMEA perspective on the Board itself, and throughout the community. Ideally, I’d like ‘lessons learned’ to be at the heart of the LATAM onboarding so that it is set up for success.

I’ve been on the Board for nearly three years, and it’s been a consistent heartache for me that PASS isn’t growing in Europe. I have tried my best. I haven’t been able to do as many SQLSaturdays this year after the financial difficulties wrought by the failure of SQLSaturday Edinburgh, and the problems that precipitated. Further, the Board have to declare precons, which is fine, in order to be transparent. However, it’s made me nervous of offering to do PASS precons because I am worried that I will be accused of financially profiting from the community in some way. Since I am nervous of the accusations, it means that I don’t do PASS precons anymore and this compounds my ability to travel. I often do precons for free in return for travel being paid, actually, to help the event do the success, but I’m aware of the perception.

So Wendy has understood that PASS has so much potential to grow outside of North America, and one of her key election missions is to support Global Growth. For me, it’s music to my ears and I’d like to have a friend on the Board right beside me, who prioritises it. I haven’t been able to do this by myself and I hope that Wendy might be more successful in highlighting it.

Business Analytics

I need more support to work on Business Analytics as well. This is the second thing where I am first. Wendy’s been instrumental in delivering something that we will announce shortly but it’s good news. No spoilers here so you will have to wait!

What I learned from David Bowie

In business, sometimes you don’t want to be first. For Europe and BA, I was first, and being first isn’t easy. I need a ‘second’ and I think Wendy can help to break the back of some of the work that needs done in EMEA and in Business Analytics. I need another voice that will be heard, and two voices will carry further.

What is hard about being first

man-489744_960_720To be first is to be brave and a pioneer. Being first means that you have the burden of expectation, and that the target isn’t always clear.

It also means that people can withdraw from you and what you’re doing, because they are not sure if you are going to be successful. It’s easier to get behind the second person because it means that the first person has already absorbed the pain of the initial journey. It also means that there is someone to blame; everyone just blames the person that just left, right?

102636981_smSeymour Cray, father of modern day supercomputers, is quoted as saying “I’m certainly not inventing vector processors. There are three kinds that I know of existing today. Those three were all pioneering processors. One of the problems of being a pioneer is you always make mistakes and I never, never want to be a pioneer. It’s always best to come second when you can look at the mistakes the pioneers made.” If my example serves as anything, it will be to show some of the mistakes and issues that have been clarified through the process, and can be picked up and resolved.

I’ve put this photo here. There are plenty of PASS official ones but I’ve borrowed it from Hope Foley’s blog. It’s a shame that Wendy’s not facing the camera, but this is Wendy the person; joining in, strongly participating in the community, and bringing wisdom, fun, joy and friendship along with her. This is always how I will think of her.

20140809_211752

So I’ll vote for Wendy.

I wish the other candidates well, of course. I’d like to thank them for their courage in going forward. They have done a great thing in putting themselves forwards, and they are winners purely for that.

race