PASS Summit 2014 Day 1 Keynote

I’m sitting on the blogger’s table for the PASS Summit 2014 keynote, and this post is a quick summary of all of the BI-related announcements (minor and hopefully major) made this year. The really interesting developments will get their own, dedicated blog posts later…

  • Azure Machine Learning is now available to everyone with a Microsoft Account ID with no credit card or subscription necessary http://blogs.technet.com/b/dataplatforminsider/archive/2014/11/05/microsoft-announces-major-update-to-azure-sql-database-adds-free-tier-to-azure-machine-learning.aspx
  • It was announced (again) that Power BI in the cloud will be able to connect back to on-prem SSAS servers via the Data Management Gateway soon
  • James Phillips, the new guy in charge of MS BI, showed the same – new – Power BI that he showed at WPC this summer. This is not the Power BI that’s released today, but one with a much nicer dashboard experience and one that can be edited (rearrange charts, change chart types, combine two charts into a single combo-chart) directly from the browser.
  • Also in this new Power BI you can connect direct to services like SalesForce or upload Excel spreadsheets direct from the browser – you are building your models in the browser, not in Excel. This is significant for people who don’t have the right version of Excel/Office 365 right now, a very welcome development.
  • And all of this is HTML5, no Silverlight thank goodness. So it will work on far more devices.
  • Public preview of the new Power BI is coming soon!

PASS Summit And Other Speaking And Training Dates

This is just a quick post to advertise some upcoming speaking and training dates…

PASS Summit

I’ll be at the PASS Summit in Seattle next week, and if you see me around be sure to say hello! I’ll be presenting a deep dive session on MDX scoped assignments at 9:45am on Friday November 7th, and I’ll be signing copies of my new Power Query book on the Apress stand in the exhibition hall at 1pm on Wednesday November 5th.

I will also be live-tweeting (I’m @technitrain on Twitter if you aren’t following me already) and blogging throughout the keynotes each day too. I suspect there will be some big announcements this year – Jen Underwood dropped some hints, and a list of interesting sessions to attend, on her blog last week.

Future Decoded

On Wednesday November 12th I’ll be speaking about Power BI at Microsoft’s Future Decoded event in London, alongside the likes of Jen Stirrup, James Rowland-Jones and assorted celebrities like Professor Brian Cox, Sir Nigel Shadbolt and David Braben (the guy who co-wrote Elite!)

Training in London

There are a whole bunch of new courses up on the Technitrain site, taught by me and various other SQL Server experts (such as James Rowland-Jones, Jamie Thomson, Klaus Aschenbrenner, Andy Leonard and Allan Hirt) from around the world, and covering a wide variety of SQL Server and Microsoft BI topics. There are still places available on my Power Query course on Thursday November 13th if you’re interested in attending.

Training in Aarhus, Denmark

In December I’ll be teaching two one-day courses with my friends at Orange Man in Aarhus in Denmark: an introduction to Power BI on December 3rd and my Power Query course again on December 4th.

Technitrain Courses In London This Autumn

I’ve just put up a bunch of new courses (including a dedicated Power Query course!) on the Technitrain site that will be running this autumn in London. They are:

I hope to see some of you there! Don’t forget you can also get 10% off on my MDX training videos and lots of other great MS BI content at Project Botticelli using the discount code TECHNITRAIN2014.

Power BI Announcements At The PASS BA Conference

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!

SQLBits XII

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…

Upcoming SSAS and MDX Training Course Dates

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.

SQLBits XI Summary

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.