Top 5 Signposts to deep technical expertise at PASS Summit 2016


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!


Note to Self: Here is a group of cloud videos to watch

Happy Viewing!

Here is a group of Cloud OS videos for your viewing. Enjoy! I’m particularly looking forward to ‘pants versus shorts’, for example!

·        Introducing the Master of Mobility from Microsoft
·        Hybrid Identity:  Master of Mobility, Part 2
·        Mobile Device Management: Master of Mobility, Part 3
·        Sliding Window Data Partitioning on Microsoft Azure HDInsight
·        Bringing In-Memory OLTP to the Masses: GigaOM In-Memory Webinar
·        Information Protection: Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite
·        Mobile Device Management: Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite
·        Hybrid Identity Management: Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite
·         Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite Overview
·         Introduction to forecasting capabilities in Power View for Office 365
·         I Can’t Wait to Retire – Power BI for Office 365 Surfaces Insights for the Finance Industry
·         Pants vs. Shorts – Power BI for Office 365 Surfaces Insights for the Manufacturing Industry
·         Joint Private Cloud Fast Track Solutions by Microsoft and HDS
·         Making data more accessible

Mobile Business Intelligence Presentation Portugal 2013

I gave this presentation at SQLSaturday event in Portugal during March 2013.  Thanks to the organisers for taking such good care of me during my visit.

As I discussed during the session, there were three main strands of mobilising Microsoft technology:

– use third party products such as PivotStream to free your PowerPivots
– use cloud computing e.g. Azure
– use SharePoint

These options will not suit everyone but it might help somebody to decide which path is the right one for them. I look forward to your commentary and feedback.

The Progress of Mobile Business Intelligence

This Infographic from Domo in 2011 tells a story about the ROI of mobile business intelligence. I’ve enclosed it as-is.  It reflects the fact that I’m always being asked, at the start of any Business Intelligence project, whether the data can be mobilised.

The optimism of the infographic is interesting, since the figures shown below should be borne out by the time of writing this blog, which is March 2013.


In order to get a better idea of mobile Business Intelligence adoption, I suggest that you look at Howard Dresner‘s Mobile Business Intelligence Survey, which he conducts on a yearly basis.  To summarise, despite the earlier optimism of the original infographic, penetration of mobile BI today is modest, with majority of organizations report that fewer than 10 percent of users have access. As you might expect, smaller organisations have higher adoption of the new technology, with 20 percent of small business participants report that their mobile BI penetration is 81 percent or higher. So penetration in the small organizations is significant today. The take-away point is that there is a disparity between ambition and reality, where businesses are concerned.
Dresner’s research makes a calmer estimate: half of even the largest of organizations will be in the 11–20 percent band of using mobile Business Intelligence by 2015. There is a great deal of enthusiasm for mobile projects. In my experience, people can get distracted by the shiny-shiny new devices or applications, but forget that they still require clean, tidy data. Putting bad data on a mobile device doesn’t make it any better, and this is a key point which the whole mobile Business Intelligence discussion seems to miss.
In other words, on twitter, I’d like to see the hashtags #CleanData and #RightData used just as much, if not more, than the hashtags #BigData and #MobileBI, which are fairly ubiquitous where Twitter is concerned. These problems are less fun, and are often hard to do, which explains why they are much less popular than projects which involve shiny gadgetry.


Three Presentations, Two Continents, One Day!

I’ve just finished a Herculean effort for the community. I delivered two presentations at SQLLive360, Orlando, Florida… then stepped on a plane for a nine hour flight to London, to deliver a presentation on mobile Business Intelligence at a SQLSanta event that I helped to organise.

Why? Well, I’m not really sure, but I had a blast at both events.

SQLLive360 was an event which delivered four events in one location. Each event focused on SharePoint, Cloud, SQL Server and Visual Studio. The SQLLive360 team, which included my ‘go-to’ Big Data expert Andrew Brust, were incredibly helpful and worked very hard, and the event was a great success, judging from delegate comments. It was also great to see my SQLfamily: Tom LaRock, Allen White, Edwin Sarmiento, Grant Fritchey,William Pearson, Bradley Ball and finally, it was great to meet Lynn Langit at long last. Lynn’s been an inspiration to me for a long time, and it was great to talk with her.

So, then, straight after the Mobile Business Intelligence presentation, it was a mad dash to a town car, which took me to Orlando Airport for a 9 hour flight back to London. Once I arrived at Gatwick, after having had two hours sleep on the plane, I drove my car from London Gatwick Airport to central London, and arrived in time to deliver my presentation for the SQLSanta event in the Microsoft offices in London. Much kudos must go to Dave Ballantyne, Tony Rogerson and Neil Hambly, my partners-in-crime for organising SQLSanta. It was a lot of fun!

In case you’d like a copy of the presentation, please find it below.



Microsoft Surface available to preorder – what does it mean for Business Intelligence?

The Microsoft Surface is available to pre-order in the US and -hurrah! – in the UK. I’m hugely excited by the Surface, and, as I tweeted earlier, it’s ‘awesomeness and attractiveness in one device’ (thanks to Kung-fu Panda. No doubt we’ll have more to discuss at my SQLPass Summit session, where I will be talking about mobile business intelligence. In the meantime, here are my thoughts.

What does the device mean for Business Intelligence? We know that mobile business intelligence is on the rise. For example, Howard Dresner reported last year that, in his Annual Wisdom of Crowds Business Intelligence industry survey, 70% of organisations considered that 25% of their user base would be using Business Intelligence exclusively – yes, exclusively! – within two years. That’s an awesome assertion.

What makes the Surface interesting for mobile BI users? I haven’t seen one yet, but here is my guess:

familiarity – Excel is the world’s favourite Business Intelligence software. All the talk about half the world’s data to touch Hadoop by 2015 is all very well, but they’ve got to get it out of Excel first, where it is hidden and tucked away and passed around by email. I love Excel, and I’m a fan of anything that will help people to use it. Since it’s a Windows tablet, I hope that Excel is free to roam in the arms of business users everywhere via their Windows devices.

microSD card – it’s a small thing (boom boom) but I think that we have to recognise that we don’t always have internet access. This has always been a big issue with deploying mobile Business Intelligence. HTML5 will allow some offline capability, but what to do until this is available? Bing able to use cards is just easy. Load up your data, and off you go. Once you do have your internet access back, pop it up to SkyDrive where you can share it. Work where you are.

Once I get my hands on one – and I will! – then I can write more about how I see the Surface benefitting business users who want and need mobile Business Intelligence. My appetite is whetted for more. I cannot wait until the Surface is released!

 If you haven’t registered for the Summit, now is the time to do it and I look forward to seeing you there! I look forward to your comments.