DBTA – PowerBI: The Self-Service BI App That Can Change Your Life





Here’s a real-world story: Data collection and analysis is, ironically, for a data management profession, one of the toughest parts of my job. I regularly pull data from our various databases and packaged application reporting systems for CRM, licensing, and user information. If you’ve ever worked with a packaged product, such as a CRM system, that includes reporting and querying features, then you know how inflexible they are. It can be infuriatingly difficult to get data out of these systems, systems for which you paid big money, without losing sleep, hair, and peace of mind. Working with … [Read more...]

Preventing tl;dr Emails





  A new abbreviation is beginning to take hold. I first heard of it on Seth Godin’s blog. The abbreviation? tl; dr. Too long; didn't read. I like the new abbreviation. It gives voice to something that has been going on for many years. The elephant in the room now has a name. For years, writers of emails have tried to use the medium to provide a comprehensive thesis on a subject. They have drafted elaborate prose in an effort to sway or convince the recipient of their position. All the while, the recipients have, at best, simply skimmed over the email and set it aside. It was … [Read more...]

IT Pro Events & Free Stuff for the Central USA – Jan 2015

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Central USA IT Pro Community News – Jan 2015 There are lots of free, in-person and virtual events happening in the central USA over the next few weeks. Don't miss out on training, ebooks, and other goodies! Upcoming Events Jan 10th – Kansas City – SharePoint Saturday Jan 14th – Online – A lap around Azure Websites Jan 15th – Detroit – BDPA Tech Meetup Jan 17th - Nashville - SQLSaturday #363 I'll be presenting two sessions at this event, along with many of the industry's leading experts. Come join us! Jan 19 – Detroit – Microsoft Web Camp Jan 19 – Chicago – Microsoft … [Read more...]

Three Wishes from SQLPASS.org in 2015




When I walked into the welcome reception at the 2014 PASS Summit in Seattle last year, I have to tell you that I was a little verklempt. I had a moment of "My baby has all grown up!" The event was so packed with people, so well executed, and so flashy. Thomas LaRock (b | t), the current president, and the rest of the board of directors have simply done a fantastic job growing and leading the organization. Comparing the 2014 Summit to the original 1999 Summit in the conference space of the Chicago Sheraton that cold September was quite a bit like seeing your little daughter coming down the … [Read more...]

DBTA – Tools to Evaluate Viability of Database Platforms

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As the manager for enterprise architecture in a very large IT organization, the C-suite executives frequently posed the question, "What database platform is best for this application today and for the future?" Implicit in that question was the idea that some platforms, for the application and for the database, might be more than adequate today but be trending in a direction that didn't match with our executive's goals. So what's a person supposed to recommend under those dynamics? Read the rest of the article … [Read more...]

Feedback is a Gift

  I'm reminded of a demonstration I saw as a kid. San Diego Chargers quarterback, Dan Fouts, had earned a reputation as a prolific passer, breaking record after record. Once during a practice, Fouts donned a blindfold, took the snap from center, dropped back, and fired a perfect strike into the hands of a receiver running down the field. Blindfolded, he was still able to complete the pass. He was able to do that because he had practiced that pass many thousands of times. His muscle memory was such that he knew exactly where to throw the the ball. Read the rest of the article … [Read more...]

DBTA – Other News in SQL Server 2014 RTM

  A while back, I told you about some of the coolest new features in the recent RTM for SQL Server. The RTM was announced during the “Accelerate your insights” webcast by a boatload of Microsoft’s top executives, including CEO Satya Nadella, COO Kevin Turner, and CVP Quentin Clark. They had lots of useful information to share and demos to show, but a few other items of note about Azure SQL Databases may have dropped under your radar because they came to light a few days after the big dog-and-pony show/webcast. Read the rest of the article … [Read more...]

Minimizing Interruptions to Stay “In the Zone”

  Have you ever been really focused on solving a problem? So focused that you tuned out the rest of the world around you? A monkey clanging cymbals in the cube next to yours wouldn't bother you, you are so focused. Some IT professionals call this "in the zone." Now, have you ever been interrupted by someone while you are in the zone? "Joe, got a question for you. It will only take a second." Aaagh! Studies have shown that it can take IT professionals up to 25 minutes to get back into the zone after an interruption. Think about that. That's productivity wasted. One 30 second … [Read more...]

DBTA – Big Data and Microsoft SQL Server HDInsight

  It’s time to follow up with a discussion of Microsoft’s cloud-centric approach to big data using HDInsight. MICROSOFT SQL SERVER AND BIG DATA IN THE CLOUD HDInsight is a 100% Apache Hadoop service, currently at v2.2, available through Microsoft’s Windows Azure cloud offerings. HDInsight makes all of the standard features you’d expect from a Hadoop implementation—the HDFS/MapReduce software framework and related projects such as Pig and Hive—available in a simple, scalable, and fairly cheap cloud environment. Behind the scenes, HDInsight uses Windows Azure Blob storage to manage and … [Read more...]

First Ask “Why”, then Ask “How”

  A common refrain we hear when presenting at technical conferences and training events is “How can I get promoted into IT management?” We hear this so often that we’ve worked out a sort of mental flowchart for the subsequent dialog. (We are IT people after all). And our exploratory question is, “Why would you want a promotion into management?” The variety of answers is as unique as the people who ask the question, but they are pretty easy to aggregate into several broad categories: Read the rest of this article at ForITPros.com … [Read more...]