This morning I was wondering whether we’d see any cool new stuff announced at the PASS BA Conference this year, or whether we’d see the same old Power BI demos yet again. It turns out there were a whole load of announcements, some of them very cool indeed – and here’s a brief summary:
- A native Power BI mobile for iOS will be available by the end of the summer. Other platforms (which means Android I guess) will come soon after that.
- SSRS will be available in Power BI sites and will be able to connect back to on-prem data sources. This is big, in my opinion – it will be very attractive for a lot of existing MS BI customers. Also the way to get SSRS reports on mobile?
- Power View in Power BI will be able to connect back to SSAS on premises (just Tabular though, or Multidimensional too?)
- A new KPI editor in the Power BI site will allow you not only create KPIs but arrange them to create dashboards. This looks like the replacement for PerformancePoint.
- Time series forecasting is available in Power View online now. It’s available in charts and you just forecast by dragging the chart forward; outliers can be corrected easily. Will need to check this out later.
- Power View is getting a treemap visualisation.
- Power View is getting a new Data Exploration mode that allows you to edit reports in the browser. This has a lot of cool new stuff, such as the ability to drag data points out of existing charts to create new charts.
Lots to follow up on there… more blog posts on this coming soon, I promise!
In case you missed the announcement yesterday, SQLBits XII will be taking place at the International Centre, Telford, UK on July 17th-19th. SQLBits is the biggest SQL Server and Microsoft BI conference in Europe and will feature precons and sessions from some of the best-known SQL Server experts in the world (I see Brent Ozar and Brian Knight have already submitted sessions, which is cool). And apart from all the amazing technical content it’s a lot of fun – just ask anyone who’s been to a previous SQLBits!
Full details and the link to register can be found on the SQLBits website: http://sqlbits.com/ Hope to see you there…
If you’ve got some training budget burning a hole in your pocket, here’s a quick reminder of some upcoming SSAS and MDX courses I’m teaching:
Hope to see you there! If you’d like to find out about new courses by me and other SQL Server people, you can sign up to the Technitrain newsletter at http://www.technitrain.com
PS I’ve also got Andy Leonard coming over to London to run his ever-popular SSIS Design Patterns course too, in early September.
So, another SQLBits is over. After the London event last year, we (ie the SQLBits Committee, which I’m a member of) decided to scale things back a bit and return to a more manageable, friendly size, and to concentrate more on making the conference fun to attend. That’s not to say we didn’t want to maintain our high standards regarding content – and yet again we had some great sessions from world-class speakers – but a conference isn’t just about the presentations, it’s also about networking, meeting people face-to-face that you’ve only had contact with online, and having a few beers to facilitate this. As SQL Server professionals we’re a lot better off as part of a wider community: in terms of our technical knowledge, in terms of who we know to ask for help when we hit a problem, in terms of finding our next job, and in many other ways. I hope SQLBits does its bit to help build that community.
You can see what people are saying about SQLBits by following @SQLBits and searching for the #SQLBits hashtag on Twitter, and liking the SQLBits Facebook page; there are some eye-popping photos there, not to mention a video of my performance in the pie-eating competition. If you were there and you’ve got more photos and videos, please share them!
It only remains for me to thank the rest of the committee, Simon, Martin, JRJ, Darren, Chris T-O, Tim and Allan; our team of helpers, ably led by Annette; Helen, for her work on the party and merchandising; our sponsors; our speakers; and of course everyone who attended and made this the best SQLBits so far. I know I always say that, but it really is true.
The PASS Business Analytics Conference in Chicago finished yesterday, and because I was there and because I did a fair amount of cheerleading for it (see here and here for example) I wanted to post a few thoughts on how it went.
I’ll be honest and say that I had a few worries before the event. Would anyone want to go? Would the sessions be a repeat of what get on the BI tracks at the PASS Summit and hundreds of other SQL Server conferences? In fact, everything went really, really well. Some of the sessions were quite sparsely attended (though this had nothing to do with the quality of the content – some of the best sessions didn’t get much of an audience) but overall there was a very respectable number of people (1200ish?). I had as many people in my session on OData as I’d get at any other large conference, and it was standing room only in at least one of Marco’s sessions. I also rather liked the fact that it was smaller than the Summit – it made it much easier to meet all the people I wanted to meet. If it carries on for a few years it could easily attract a much larger number of people.
Regarding the content I was particularly pleased because a lot of the topics I’d asked for turned up on the schedule. In fact one thing that struck me (and a few other people said the same thing to me as well) was that this was the first conference I’d been to in a long time where there were sessions that I really wanted to see in every time slot. My favourite session of the whole conference was Marc Smith on NodeXL; anyone that reads my blog knows I’ve been a big fan of NodeXL for a long time, but I learned a lot from this session because it concentrated on the basics of social network analysis rather than the tool itself. This was a prime example of the kind of topic that you simply wouldn’t get at a regular SQL Server conference – it was a business analytics session. Even the more technical presentations, such as the one on HPC Services for Excel, was outside the usual boundaries of SQL Server BI. Incidentally, I must get round to playing with HPC Services for Excel – you could use it to parallelise some DAX calculations, or even to batch process large numbers of PowerPivot models on desktop machines overnight…
So, in summary, the conference was a big success and I had a great time. I’ll definitely be going back next year. And did I mention that I got to meet Steven Levitt of Freakonomics fame?
This is just a quick post to mention that this summer I’ll be running two courses in Australia, one in Sydney on July 23-26, and one in Melbourne on July 29-August 1, in association with the folks at Wardy IT. The course content will cover all things Analysis Services Multidimensional: there’ll be one day on SSAS cube design, two days on MDX queries and calculations, and one day on SSAS performance tuning; you can see the full course outline here. It’s aimed at intermediate-to-advanced SSAS developers who want to deepen their knowledge and learn best practices. I’m really looking forward to it, and I hope to see you there!
This is just a quick note to say that I’ll be speaking, and running a preconference seminar, at the SQLDay 2013 conference in Poland on the 22nd-24th May. I’m looking forward to it because I’ve never been to Poland before!
You can find all the details of my precon, “Real World Cube Design and Performance Tuning with Analysis Services”, here:
If you can’t make it to Poland, I’d love to see you at the PASS BA Conference (btw the discount code BAC521BL now gives you a $200 discount if you haven’t booked already), DatabaseDays Switzerland, SQLBits or one of my courses in London. Blimey, that’s a lot of teaching… and there’s more to be announced soon too.