Adatis BI Blogs

Master Data Services Training in the UK

This is just a quick post to announce a range of SQL Server training courses, organised (and in some cases delivered) by Chris Webb. To start off there’s a SQL Server course delivered by Christian Bolton in December, followed by an Analysis Services course delivered by Chris in February. I’ll be delivering a Master Data Services course in February, before Chris delivers an MDX course in March. The details for all the courses are: SQL Server Internals and Troubleshooting Workshop - Christian Bolton – 6th – 7th December 2011 The Advanced Troubleshooting Workshop for SQL Server 2005, 2008 and R2 provides attendees with SQL Server internals knowledge, practical troubleshooting skills and a proven methodical approach to problem solving. The workshop will enable attendees to tackle complex SQL Server problems with confidence. Full details and registration here. Real World Cube Design and Performance Tuning with Analysis Services – Chris Webb – February 2012 A two day course that takes real world experience in showing you how to build a best practice Analysis Services cube, covering design issues such as data warehouse design and complex cube modelling. Day two then covers performance optimisation for Analysis Services, including MDX optimisation and cube processing. Full details and registration here. Introduction to Master Data Services with Jeremy Kashel – February 2012 An end to end look inside Master Data Services, this full day course will begin with a synopsis of Master Data Management before moving on to an overview of Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Master Data Services (MDS). The remainder of the course will cover the major MDS topics, such as modelling and business rules, which will include a number of practical exercises. More details and registration for here. Introduction to MDX with Chris Webb – March 2012 The Introduction to MDX course aims to take you from the point of being a complete beginner with no previous knowledge of MDX up to the point where you can write 90% of the MDX calculations and queries you’ll ever need to write. The three day course covers the basics, such as sets, tuples, members to more advanced concepts such as scoped assignments and performance tuning. Full details and registration here.

Master Data Services Kindle Contest

This is a quick blog post to announce that Adatis are running a contest in conjunction with Packt around Master Data Services. The winner will receive an Amazon Kindle pre-loaded with our Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Master Data Services book. In order to enter, all you need to do is follow @AdatisBI and copy and paste our eBook on Kindle message and retweet it using your twitter account. The message is: RT & Follow @AdatisBI for a chance to WIN the #Adatis MDS book pre-loaded on a Kindle ! ( Please mark your retweet with the hashtag (#), so that we can find and consider your entry. Only one entry per person will be accepted. You can find out the full details of how to enter, as well as terms and conditions, on the following page. Good luck!

Master Data Services Training

As I’m sure you’ve seen, registration for SQLBits 9 – Query Across the Mersey is now open. This time around I’ll be running a deep-dive training day with Tim Kent on Master Data Services. This will be a full day of training, showing you how MDS can be used to manage the master data in your organisation. We’re going to start by giving an overview of Master Data Management, before moving on to covering the following MDS topics in detail: Installing, configuring, and maintaining Master Data Services Creating and using models Version management Business rules and workflow Importing data into Master Data Services Integrating with other systems Security You can register for the MDS Training day, or one of the other 10 training days, by using the following registration page. Remember, the early bird discount expires at midnight on Friday this week! Update – We are running another MDS course in February 2012. Click here for the details.

Upcoming Microsoft Events

I’m pleased to say that I’m delivering a couple of Master Data Services sessions at Microsoft events over the next few months. SQL Bits Firstly, as I’m sure you’ve heard, SQL Bits 8 is running in Brighton from 7th – 9th April. I’m delivering a session on the Saturday that will show how Master Data Services business rules work, which will include looking at how to create and use a SharePoint workflow. Although last I heard it was getting pretty full, you can hopefully still register for SQL Bits here. Tech Days 2011 Tech Days is running again this year, from the 23rd – 25th May. There are a number of sessions running for Tech Days in London over the 3 days, covering areas such as Windows Azure, Windows Phone and of course SQL Server. The session that I’m doing is to show how we’ve implemented Master Data Services at one of clients, EMI, and how they benefit from using MDS. You can register for Tech Days 2011 here.

SQL Bits 7 Agenda

The SQL Bits 7 agenda was published recently, and I’m pleased to say that I will be delivering a session titled ‘End to End Master Data Management with SQL Server Master Data Services’. The heart of this session will be an end-to-end technical demo that will show the role of MDS in extracting master data from source systems, before demonstrating how data is fed via MDS to subscribing downstream systems. I’ll cover areas such as the MDS staging process, business rules and notifications amongst others. I’ve also seen from Simon Sabin that the SQLCAT team will be showing some of the features of SQL 11, code name Denali. Well worth going for that alone surely?! You can register for SQL Bits here.

Microsoft BI Conference - Day 3 Review

A highlight of day 3 for me was seeing Roberta Vork & Alyson Powell Erwin presenting a session titled 'Integrating Microsoft Dynamics Data for Planning, Analysis and Reporting in Office PerformancePoint Server 2007'. This started off with a demo of how to create PPS M&A dashboards on top of the AS cubes that come with a the various Dynamics products. Alyson mentioned that there are currently some sample M&A Dynamics dashboards available here, with more to come in the near future. Check the PerformancePoint Downloads page to get hold of them. Roberta's part of the presentation focused on how to get data into PerformancePoint via the Data Import Wizard. Roberta demoed importing data from AX, before discussing a few of the issues that you're likely to encounter when importing data from Dynamics. One of those issues may be that your PPS models are at a higher level than the data coming in, meaning that you will have to carry out a many to one mapping in some way before the data is usable in PPS. Another interesting point from the presentation is that PPS will be able to connect to Dynamics SL in mid 2009. The final session that I made it to was 'Mastering Data Cleansing in SQL Server Integration Services' by Rushabh Mehta. This was well presented, explaining why data cleansing is an important part of ETL. Although some of the techniques & SSIS tasks covered weren't all that new, Rushabh did show the new Data Profiling Task, which will allow you to carry out a detailed analysis of your source data, which is then viewable in the XML output or the Data Profile Viewer tool. Both presentations are available for download: Integrating Microsoft Dynamics Data for Planning, Analysis and Reporting in Office PerformancePoint Server 2007 Mastering Data Cleansing in SQL Server Integration Services So that's it for another year, although the date has already been set for the next conference - 6th-8th October again. Overall the conference was a success in my opinion, so I'll be doing my best to get out again next year.

Microsoft BI Conference - Day 2 Review

Just another quick update from me, this time on day 2 of the Microsoft BI Conference in Seattle. One of the most important sessions for me was 'Mastering Master Data Management', delivered by Colin White & Kirk Haselden. The summary for the session quite openly states that 'there is a lot of confusion surrounding Master Data Management (MDM)'. I would agree with this - but hopefully this presentation goes some way to addressing people's questions on the subject. The presentation covers some really good theory, showing that there are several different ways that MDM can be approached, although unfortunately we didn't get a look at the Microsoft MDM solution just yet. There was also more on Gemini yesterday, including a new stand in the exhibitor section where it was possible to talk to the development team. I got to see the new 'slicer' feature of the Gemini pivot tables in a bit more detail, which is a fairly similar to the slicers/filters in QlikView. Speaking about exhibitors, I also spent a bit of time at the Orange Peel stand, where I saw a demo of their Business Intelligence Studio product, which has actually been out for a while now. Business Intelligence Studio is an Excel add-in for PerformancePoint that allows the creation of PPS form templates with a number of interesting features, including the ability to add new dimension members from Excel, cascading filters, and the ability to run rules from Excel buttons to name a few. Finally there was also a PPS Planning session titled 'Implementation Tips And Tricks', delivered by Celia O'Kane & Julio Triana. This session covered some useful solutions around performance, business rules and security. Again, the presentation can be downloaded here.

Microsoft BI Conference - Day 1 Review

I'm just back at the hotel here in Seattle, so just some time for a quick post about day 1 of the 2nd Annual Microsoft BI Conference. The big news of the day was undoubtedly the sneak peak of "Project Gemini" - the code name for the core of a BI focused SQL Server release that will happen in the first half of 2010. The impressive part of the presentation for me was seeing an early version of a new Excel add-in to work with Gemini. We witnessed Donald Farmer manipulate 20 million (yes million!) rows of data within Excel, before creating a very slick report via a new version of Excel pivot tables, which he then published to SharePoint at the click of a button. Mosha Pasumansky explains a more about Gemini here. Once the introductory events were over, it was a chance to attend the more focused sessions, which explained particular tracks in more detail. Although there was a huge amount of choice, I naturally went for the PerformancePoint sessions: Michael Bower and Scott Sebelsky from Microsoft presented an introduction to Financial Consolidation with PerformancePoint Server 2007. This session gave an insight into what's involved in carrying out financial consolidation with PerformancePoint, providing some useful tips and tricks. There's more to come, as Michael will be releasing a white paper on financial consolidation with PerformancePoint Server at some point in the near future. Watch this space.... Finally, Srini Nallapareddy and Steve Hoberecht presented a detailed presentation on the various different types of business rules that you can use in PPS Planning. Srini explained the pros and cons of using different rule types, as well as providing some useful tips on how to optimise rules for better performance. You can download the presentation here.

BI Evening, TVP, 17th July 2008

I'll be giving a talk titled 'PEL Vs MDX' at the UK SQL Server Community's BI Evening on the 17th July at Microsoft's TVP offices in Reading. The content will be geared towards MS BI developers, and will highlight the differences between the two languages, with the aim that those with MDX experience will be able to make a fast start with PEL. Also speaking is Jeremy Kirkup from TAH, on 'Using Excel Services with Analysis Services and MOSS'. If you are just starting to explore delivering BI solutions with Excel Services and SharePoint then there are some issues that it is wise to be aware of in advance. This session will describe some real world lessons gained while creating BI solutions which expose Analysis Services data through the Excel Web Access web part. The Excel 2007 client has first class support for the some of the advanced features of Analysis services such as drill-through.  However, when exposing pivot tables to a browser through the Excel Web Access web part this feature is not available. The session will discuss a couple of approaches to implementing drill-through functionality for EWA based pivot tables using the MOSS SmartPart, AJAX and the Excel Web Services. You can register for the event here.