I’m Speaking At IT/Dev Connections

I am honored to be part of the fantastic group of speakers in the Data Platform & Business Intelligence track at IT/Dev Connections this year. IT/Dev Connections is happening September 15 though 17th (with Pre-Cons on the 14th) in Las Vegas, Nevada at the ARIA Resort & Casino. The abstracts for my two presentations are below.

Overcoming Chartaphobia: Moving Your Organization Toward Interesting and Enlightening Data Visualization

Do your organization’s reports consist mostly of giant tables of data? Perhaps you’ve gotten as far as adding KPI indicators to the tables. Although tables of data presented as reports are commonly found in many organizations, they might be doing you and your users a disservice. You should optimize your data visualization just as you optimize your databases. Reports are a user interface that must be purposefully designed to help users achieve their goal of making informed decisions. In this session we’ll review some data visualization best practices and apply those concepts to the use of Microsoft reporting tools such as Excel, Power View, and SQL Server Reporting Services. You’ll leave with guidance on how to take boring, unreadable tables of data and turn them into useful and visually appealing reports.

Who Needs SSAS When You’ve Got SQL?

For SQL and .NET developers, SQL Server Analysis Services might seem foreign or unnecessary; however, it can offer many advantages for reporting and data exploration. In this session we’ll cover useful features of SSAS and discuss conditions under which it’s beneficial. Next, we’ll compare the two types of SSAS databases (multidimensional and tabular) and cover how to decide which type is right for your solution. Then we’ll explore common ways to retrieve data and browse your SSAS database, such as Excel, reporting tools like SSRS, and custom .NET applications.

Join Me at IT/Dev Connections

If you haven’t registered to attend, it’s not too late! And I have a discount code for you: Use discount code SPKRSOC15 to get $400 off.

In addition to my sessions, I’m excited about several others that are great topics and great speakers.

I hope to see you there!


Conferences, SQL Saturday

I’m excited about Kansas City SQL Saturday

It’s that time of year again. School is about to start, the weather is getting even hotter, beer festivals are occurring every weekend, and we are busy planning KC SQL Saturday. This is our sixth year (and my fourth year on the organizing committee), and I must say that I am genuinely excited about some of the changes we are making for this year. If you are in the Kansas City area and haven’t been to a SQL Saturday before, I encourage you to attend this year. Registration is free, and lunch is $15.

New Location and New Sponsor

Kansas City SQL Saturday 2015 will be held on October 3rd at Rockhurst University in Arrupe Hall. This brand new building has wonderfully functional and comfortable classrooms with HD projectors (with HDMI hookups!) as well as a theater that seats 500 people. There are also several areas throughout the building for attendees to sit and chat. Parking should be easy as Rockhurst is opening up a garage for us and there is also street parking available nearby.

We are happy to have Rockhurst as a new sponsor, and we think it is a great fit. The Helzberg School of Management has a new MS in Business Intelligence and Analytics program. The program “takes the data science techniques of statistical modeling, computer science and machine learning, and then adds the implementation, business and strategy skills you need to be successful in a corporate environment.” I’m glad that we have a program like this in KC, and glad to partner with them for SQL Saturday.

Moving SQL Saturday to a location just southeast of the Plaza provides a quicker drive for many local attendees and a better experience for those coming in from out of town.

New Recommended Hotel

Moving to the Westport/Plaza area also means we have improved options for hotels. This year our recommended hotel is the 816 Hotel. See the event news on the SQL Saturday KC site for instructions on how to get the discounted rate. 816 Hotel will provide free shuttle service to and from Rockhurst for SQL Saturday. The wi-fi, breakfast, cocktail hour, parking, and gym access are all included in the price of the room. Be sure to book your room by September 2nd to get our group discount rate.

New After-Party

If you aren’t aware SQLKaraoke is a thing. This year we have the VIP room at OffKey Karaoke reserved from 7 – 9pm for our after-party. This gives everyone time to grab some dinner at one of the many restaurants in Westport and then head over to sing or just enjoy the company. Our room holds up to 50 people, so feel free to join us. We’ve paid for the room, but you will need to take care of your own bar bill. If you are staying at the 816 Hotel, OffKey is just a few blocks away, within easy walking distance.

New Ride

If you are a speaker or guest who is flying in to KC to come to our event, you can now get Uber to take you to and from the airport. With the availability of Uber and the shuttle service from 816 Hotel, it’s possible that our out-of-town guests won’t need a rental car at all. We hope this helps keep costs down and make life easier.

Same Great BBQ

We are still having a delicious BBQ lunch at SQL Saturday, and it will still be supplied by Joe’s Kansas City. Vegetarian options will be available from Eden Alley once again as well. Please be sure to let us know if you have special dietary needs when you register for the event.

Also, we are once again doing a BBQ Crawl on the Friday afternoon before SQL Saturday for the speakers and volunteers. We try to hit up 3 places and get samples of their best dishes. This event is getting rather popular to the point that we had a caravan of 10+ cars roaming KC last year on our BBQ Crawl. This year, our new location makes it easier to plan a route that minimizes travel time and keeps people in the Westport area. Details of locations and times will be announced in September, but we usually start around 1:30 or 2pm. If you are a speaker or volunteer, be sure that you are in town and off of work in time to join us. We will have a speaker dinner later Friday evening, but many of us may be eating lighter since we will have been eating BBQ all afternoon.

It’s Not Too Late

If you think the BBQ Crawl sounds awesome, you still have time to submit a session and become a speaker! In addition to gaining your entrance to the BBQ Crawl and other fun, becoming a speaker sharpens your presentation skills, gives you practice explaining technical concepts, and increases your networking opportunities. For tips on picking a topic and writing and abstract see Devin Knight’s blog series and Adam Machanic’s blog postThe call for speakers closes August 4th. I hope to see you at SQL Saturday Kansas City!