Jen’s PASS Diary: SQLSaturday Edinburgh: My heartfelt thanks go to…

SQLSaturday Edinburgh went ahead last Saturday, June 13th, and everyone had a great day. It’s clear that people in the community believe in what I am doing. They voted with their feet to attend, to speak, and to sponsor. We had high quality speakers delivering world-class content – 8 MVPs, 2 Microsoft staff, and the remainder are international speakers – and we know that Content is King.

Basically, SQLSaturday Edinburgh Business Intelligence edition was the turning point for the Business Analytics and Business Intelligence ( SQL Server based ) community in the UK.

  • Our event only had five people who had spoken at SQLBits (Carmel Gunn, Bob Duffy, Gary Short, Chris Webb and Satya Jayanty).
  • three of our speakers (Mark Wilcock, Chris Webb and Bob Phillips) all spoke at PASS Business Analytics Conference last April in San Jose, and they all spoke at PASS SQLSaturday London Business Analytics in November 2014.
  • The other speakers have delivered sessions internationally in their field of expertise: Visio, SharePoint, CRM, and this was the first time they’d spoken at a SQL event.

We tried to be more BI and BA focused, and did it work? The feedback so far is a resounding YES. We didn’t try to squeeze the formula for other SQL events onto this one, jam some R in there, and announce it as an analytics event. The content was focused on what we do with data, why, and what the business value is.There will be more on this in future posts. In the meantime, however, I have a lot of thank yous!

I also want to say a heartfelt thank you to the volunteers, without whom, the event would not have happened.

  • Malcolm Smith
  • Izabela Borzecka
  • Robert French
  • Melissa Coates ( Twitter ) who helped by collating templates from her events to use.
  • Prathy Kamasani ( Twitter ) who is just simply amazing. Her smile lifts me and she has really helped to keep me going with her sunny attitude and unfailing support.
  • Rodney Kidd ( Twitter ) has been a rock and a great listener, as well as a helpful, kind gentleman.

Prathy, Rodney – I cannot thank you enough, and your friendship and support will stay with me forever. Thank you.

I want to thank the following sponsors for putting themselves forward to support me in what I’m doing for the Business Intelligence and emerging Business Analytics community in the UK. Without them, there would be no event. Fact.

SQLSaturday Edinburgh 388 Sponsors

I also want to thank our amazing SQLSaturday speakers. If you’d like to download their slides, you will find them on the site.

The speakers were, in order of appearance:

Jon Woodward ( Twitter / Website )

Iain Elder (Twitter)

David Parker ( Website )

Chris Webb ( Website / Twitter )

Ian MacDonald ( Website )

Adam Vero ( Website )

Bob Duffy ( Website / Twitter )

Carmel Gunn ( Website / Twitter )

Peyman Blumstengel ( Website )

Murali Nagaraj ( Website )

Peter Baddeley ( Website / Twitter )

Tom Sykes ( Twitter )

Niall MacLeod ( Website / Twitter )

Mark Wilcock ( Website / Twitter )

Bob Phillips ( Twitter )

Dave Lawrence ( Website / Twitter )

Tim Jones ( Website / Twitter )

Jean-Pierre Riehl ( Twitter / Website )

Gary Short ( Twitter / Website )

Satya Jayanty ( Twitter / Website )

Ric Howe ( Twitter / Website )

If I have missed anyone, it will be a genuine oversight due to a very tired little Jen missing things out!

I owe people emails so please forgive me until I catch my breath! Please bear with me. I’m doing my best.

Love always,

Jen Stirrup

Jen’s Pass Diary: Reflections and a plea for help for the ‘little guy’.

This blog does not represent PASS. Here, I discuss a few threads:

  • PASS HQ Meeting
  • A plea for help for SQLSaturday Edinburgh along with some SQLBits commentary
  • A plea for the little guy – my thoughts on Business Analytics and Business Intelligence
  • and a well wish to someone dear to me
  • PASS HQ Meeting

I have attended another Board meeting in Vancouver this week. It was split into two parts: a main Board meeting, and then separate ‘side sessions’ with key HQ team members.

What’s it like at PASS HQ? Well, they have a friendly office dog who is always looking for cuddles and tidbits! Pets aside, the team work incredibly hard. As a consultant, I walk into customer sites a lot, and I can say that the sense of ‘sqlfamily’ and community is felt throughout the team there, in the same way as community members also show a spirit of community. I really enjoyed my few days there, and I’d like to thank the team for their warm Canadian welcome and their ongoing support.

What happened at the PASS Board meeting? Well, lots was discussed, and you should await your PASS Connector newsletters, and your BA newsletters, for more information. All I can say for now, is that there is a *lot* of news coming and I hope that the community will appreciate it.

  • A plea for help for SQLSaturday Edinburgh along with some SQLBits commentary

I’m running SQLSaturday Edinburgh Business Intelligence Edition on 13th of June and I desperately need volunteers! If you’d like to register for the event, please register here. If you can help, please email me at jen.stirrup@datarelish.com Activities include: registration desk, room monitoring, PASS sponsor desk. I’m glad to say that I have a few volunteers, and I will thank them specifically after the event has occurred. So watch this space.

The SQLBits committee have decided to hold a team meeting on the same day as SQLSaturday Edinburgh. I’m as excited as anyone else about any SQL Server community news coming from the SQLBits team. However, this does mean I have lost some key volunteers who are headed to the SQLBits community team day, rather than come to SQLSaturday Edinburgh. I can totally understand their decision: SQLBits has ‘sex appeal’ and it is a much bigger event. SQLBits is a fantastic event, which I’ve been glad to be part of as a speaker and support it in different ways (more below).

In comparison, my SQLSaturday is a small event, so much so, that nobody realised the clash in dates when they organised their team meeting. I’m not part of the Committee – although I have volunteered to help them in this capacity for a long time – so I was not aware of this clash. I wish them all the best, but it does mean that I’m down some great experienced volunteers, and I am appealing to the tech community for help, assistance and love in trying to make sure that SQLSaturday Edinburgh Business Intelligence goes well operationally on the day for the SQLSaturday Edinburgh organising committee of one person – me! It does serve a real community need in Scotland. Not everyone attends SQLBits – England can seem as far away to Scottish people, as Scotland is to a lot of English people. The event is an unusual mix of rural locals, some of whom will travel for hours via boats from the isles. On the other hand, we get delegates flying in for the BI and BA angle, who come in from all over Europe. I am working hard, in term of my PASS Board activities, in doing things for the European community in particular, and the fledgling BI and BA community here in Europe and in the US via the PASS Business Analytics Conference which I helped to lead.

I am a Committee of one person for SQLSaturday Edinburgh – there is no failover here – and I hope that people will help, but until I ask for help, I’m not going to get any. So here we are! I hope that any potential volunteers will be as excited about this community as I am. Every little helps, as they say, so if you could help with small things like room monitoring or on the PASS booth, that would be fantastic.

  • A plea for the little guy – my thoughts on Business Analytics and Business Intelligence

I believe I am doing some ground-breaking work in doing Business Analytics and Business Intelligence dedicated events in Edinburgh (and London! – more news later!). We are trying something new this year. I have recruited cross product group MVPs and speakers from C#, Access, Visio, SharePoint and Excel as well as SQL Server and Azure. The underlying focus is on BA / BI but I am emphasising the ‘practical’ aspect of data by reaching out to different product groups, with the common theme being data. CRM, for example, is rich in data even if it isn’t traditional SQL Server BI. It’s a BI / BA event so that immediately cuts out DBA oriented content. I believe that the DBA audience is well served in the UK, with SQLBits, SQLRelay so I am not worried about this community missing out. I am worried about the ‘little guy’ who needs to nail data together, and find the promised insights from data and Big Data that Cx level executives are expecting. These Big Data promises need to be delivered by someone, and that person needs training, education, and a community for them to ‘learn, share and connect’. I am trying to work towards that globally as part of PASS, and particularly here in Europe. You will see more news about this from PASS official channels and I will keep it for that – for now, just know that I am bursting to share news!

Again, it is a risk to try this, but I think we will offer enough range within the topics to expand the audience, particularly since we are not actively seeking DBA content. We’re simply expanding in a different, data platform direction.

I hope that this blog isn’t perceived as a complaint about SQLBits or the team- it isn’t. It’s just that SQLSaturday Edinburgh is right down to the wire, and I only found out about this issue a few weeks ago. So I am getting desperate for volunteers and I wasn’t going to share this news at all, however, my efforts to turn up volunteers haven’t been met so I’m hoping for help for this ‘little guy’ too!

What will I do if I don’t get volunteers? I have the option to hire a delegate management package from the SQLSaturday Edinburgh venue. All will not be lost, but I didn’t budget for this emergency measure when I planned SQLSaturday Edinburgh. If I am stuck, I will do this, but obviously community events are run on a very tight budget and I am hoping to avoid this measure.

  • and a well wish to someone dear to me

I am, and have been, a long-term SQLBits supporter since SQLBits 2. I continue to wish them all the best in all that they do. Also, as my previous business partner is part of the SQLBits committee, I indirectly supported the event in terms of time off, my speaking, DitBits and so on, to help to make it happen. I was glad to do that, I don’t regret it for a minute. Here, please note that I wish Allan Mitchell the best wishes for his future ventures and adventures, and I wish this for him from the bottom of my heart.

Jen’ Diary: Board Meeting, BA Marathon, PASS BA features on TechNetRadio!

Here’s another diary entry for my time on the PASS board. I don’t represent PASS officially here. I know it has been quiet but I am busy on PASS, work, and other community things such as SQLSaturday Edinburgh and TechDays UK. So far this year, I have had one night off! It’s 2.30am here in the UK and I’m churning out a blog, so I can’t be accused of shirking!

If you are attending Pass BA Conference and looking for a discount, please email me at jen.stirrup@sqlpass.org and I have a discount code to give away.

I attended the PASS Board meeting in January, talking mainly about handing over the Virtual Chapters portfolio but the main focus of my time was the PASS BA Conference. We talked about our goals for the Portfolio, our progress so far, and our next steps. I also shared some marketing insights. I’m on the Program Committee, so I talked about our process for going out and getting the big names in the analytics industry – people who live and breathe analytics. It has been a lot of fun, but it has also been extremely hard work to get the right speakers. Our speaker list is here. We still have some names to release, so watch that space.

I’ve also been helping some of the sponsors with thoughts on their content and material. Hortonworks are going to put on a great session and you’ll get more details of that, in the future.

I also took part in the PASS BA Marathon. My session is here. Again, the PASS HA team did a great job of supporting this event and the sessions are extremely fresh. The speakers did an amazing job!

I was also part of the process in securing our amazing Day 2 keynote speaker, Mico Yuk. I have so many things to look forward to at PASS BA, and Mico’s session is a real highlight for me. Mico has many achievements, including one of the top 50 Analytic voices on Twitter. We are blessed to have her with us, and I can’t wait to hear her talk and to get to know her in person.

More good news! What did Microsoft’s Jen Moser, Jen Underwood and Miguel Martinez @sqljen @maikelson @idigdata say about the ‪#‎passbac‬ with TechNetRadio?

I’m so excited to be part of this opportunity to grow the business-focused data community, the data analyst, the business analyst, who works with data but doesn’t work in the IT department. It is a exciting growth in our approach and our fantastic speaker list reflects our vision about the emerging BA community and what they really want.

Miguel is correct; we worked hard to invite big name analytics speakers, and they are coming!

Listen here!
//channel9.msdn.com/Shows/TechNet+Radio/TechNet-Radio-Data-Insights-Action-Register-NOW-for-the-PASS-BA-Conference/player

Jen’s Diary: A belated Review of my first year on the Board

Disclaimer: I am not officially talking for PASS here. These are my own opinions.

I’m a year into my tenure on the Board of Directors for PASS. What have I done, and what have I learned?

The Skinny:

  • Set up new VCs
  • Supported other VCs with speakers, Microsoft ‘go to’ contacts, I created a Pathway for people who needed help with their VCs
  • Helped to run two VCs as a VC Leader or Co-Leader – Business Intelligence, Excel BI, and Data Science
  • I helped with two User Groups, and run a third as the leader
  • I ran two SQLSaturdays and planned a third for this year
  • I spoke at a ton of events all over Europe and the US: Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Ireland, Portugal, France, Budapest (Hungary), Darmstadt (Germany), Vienna. I also spoke at User Groups around the UK, SQLSaturday Exeter, SQLSaturday Edinburgh, SQLBits.
  • I also delivered a lot of VC sessions, and you can see those over at the PASS Business Intelligence YouTube channel.
  • I helped with the PASS Business Analytics Conference, eventually inheriting the Portfolio from the awesome Denise McInerny. I’m now in the driving seat, and I love this challenge!

workhardandbenice

The Full Fat version!

Virtual Chapters – I drove through opening up some new VCs in:

Data Science, which is getting a logo as we speak! I’m second in command to Mark Tabladillo for this one.

Excel BI which I now run

High Availability and Disaster Recovery – see, I’m not just all about the BAs. All about the BAs… get it? No? ok.

In-Memory VC which is run by Niko Neugebauer and Ami Levin

I also rebooted some VCs, so:

Azure VC was rebranded as Cloud

Oracle VC was eagerly adopted by Mark Broadbent

Professional Development was rebooted and led by Neil Hambly and Matan Yungtan

I also supported Global Growth by helping the following VCs get up and running:

Global French – this is a real gift of a VC and if you speak French, it is well worth a look. It isn’t just covering France: it covers Canada too, and French speaking Africa. They are a great team and deserve to be congratulated!

Global Chinese – these guys are taking off and they are doing brilliantly.

Global Spanish – I wish I knew what the Spanish word for ‘awesome’ is. These guys are awesome! They deliver VC sessions on a weekly basis. That’s right – weekly. They are so community spirited and they share their expertise.

I’ve helped the other VCs with things like getting speakers. I’ve managed to get some of them a ‘go to’ contact in Microsoft, so that they have someone to speak to, in order to get expert help, Microsoft speakers and so on. That program is still ongoing.

I identified that VC leaders sometimes need help with learning to use GoToWebinar and so on. I produced a pathway series that was aimed at helping people with tips and tricks. It was well attended and I hope it helped people. Here is the first segment of the Pathway here.

What else did I do?

I delivered SQLSaturday Edinburgh and SQLSaturday London Business Analytics edition. It’s unusual for someone to organize two SQLSats in the same year, but hey,it was fun! Each event combined hundreds of attendees in total, and I helped to provide a lot of training hours to a lot of people.

I also kicked off SQLSaturday Edinburgh 2015, which is a work in progress. I’m pleased that I have quit a few registrations already and I haven’t really done any advertising yet. It’s in June so there is plenty of time.

I also run the Hertfordshire SQL Server user Group, I help support Neil Hambly (President) as second-in-command for the London user Group, and I help run Hampshire SQL Server user Group whilst the current owner is on maternity leave.

And I’ve been spending a massive amount of time on the PASS Business Analytics Conference. Wow, this has been a lot of work but I think that the emerging data professional community will love what we are doing. It’s a real break from PASS Summit and from previous editions of the PASS BA Conference. Look at our announced speakers so far and I have got serious Imposter Syndrome when I speak to them. They are simply amazing, knowledgeable, accessible and authoritative, and expert at what they do. The great thing about helping to lead a conference is that I get to help choose, as part of a team, whom I’d like to see speak, so I (very selfishly) contacted the best people I came across as experts in analytics, whether it was through in-person events, conferences, thought leaders on Twitter, influencers on LinkedIn and so on. And we are lucky they are coming along! here are a few examples:

Chandoo – making you awesome at Excel

Dean Abbot – Data Mining and Predictive Analytics Expert

Jordan Goldmeier – Excel guru and decision maker thought leader. Data Visualisation expert, Excel MVP

James Taylor – CEO of Decision Management Solution, an authority on Decision Management and the effective use of business rules and predictive analytics

James Kobielus – Big Data Evangelist at IBM.

Rob Collie and Avi Singh of PowerPivotPro – yes, these two are a great team!

There are a whole ton of great speakers being announced, so why don’t you head over and take a look?

header_logo

To summarise, I’ve worked hard and I hope people can see the value in what I do. I know I haven’t attained perfection – which I am humble enough to admit.

Thank you for the friends who have stayed with me on this journey.

Thank you to the PASS Board membes who serve alongside me. They continue to inspire me, and overwhelm me sometimes with just how smart they are.

Thank you to Judy and the rest of the PASS team at PASS HQ. They are all individually amazing, and together they are an fantastic team. I rely on their insights and wisdom. And here they are!

PASSBATeamAwesom

Here is hoping for a great 2015!

Data Visualisation with Hadoop, Hive, Power BI and Excel 2013 – Slides from SQLPass Summit and SQLSaturday Bulgaria

I presented this session at SQLPass Summit 2013 and at SQLSaturday Bulgaria.

The topic focuses on some data visualisation theory, an overview of Big Data and finalises the Microsoft distribution of Hadoop. I will try to record the demo as part of a PASS Business Intelligence Virtual Chapter online webinar at some point, so please watch this space.

I hope you enjoy and I look forward to your feedback.

SQLSaturday Edinburgh sponsors Melissa Data have some free giveaways

SQLSaturday Edinburgh sponsors Melissa Data are announcing some free Data Quality community editions and giveaways coinciding with SQLPass Summit 2013 and I thought it was worth mentioning.

Melissa Data Features Community Editions of Data Quality Components for SQL Server at PASS Summit

Advanced Formatting and Address Parsing Now Free to SSIS Data Integration Developers

Rancho Santa Margarita, CA, and Charlotte, NC, PASS Summit Booth #221 – October 10, 2013 – Melissa Data, a leading provider of contact data quality and integration solutions, is highlighting newly available, free Community Editions of its flagship Data Quality Components for SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) at PASS Summit 2013 from booth #221. Community Editions include Contact Verify and MatchUp components, and enable data integration developers with ready access to sophisticated address parsing, formatting, and matching.

“Creating parsing engines is often a complex process for developers, however Melissa Data’s verification tools have already solved the challenge,” said Bud Walker, director of data quality solutions at Melissa Data. “Our Community Editions reduce the time and resources required to build a parser from start to finish, quickly enabling parsing as a foundational capability that allows data to be transformed in many other ways.”
Contact Verify CE enables address, phone and name parsing, and email syntax correction. MatchUp CE provides deduplication of up to 50,000 records using nine basic matchcodes. Melissa Data’s Community Editions of Data Quality Components for SSIS can be downloaded for free with no license required.
Community Editions are part of Melissa Data’s premier collection of data quality tools for all editions of SQL Server 2012, including Enterprise, Business Intelligence, and Standard, via SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) as well as the SQL Server 2012 Enterprise Edition’s Data Quality Services.
For more information about Melissa Data’s Community Editions of DQ Components for SSIS, visit Melissa Data at PASS Summit (Booth #221), click on www.MelissaData.com/ces, or call 1-800-MELISSA (635-4772).

Big Data overview of the Microsoft distro of Hadoop

Here are my Big Data slides from SQLSaturday Dublin and SQLSaturday Edinburgh.

This is part of the preview work that I’m doing for our SQLPass Precon which I’m jointly conducting with Allan Mitchell MVP this October, in Charlotte, NC.  Here is the link to register, and I hope to see you there!