October Sydney training roundup – MS BI, Cloud, Analytics

The end of the year is closing in fast but there’s still plenty of chances to learn from specialist providers Agile BI, Presciient and of course, me!

Topics cover the full spread of DW, BI and Analytics so there’s something for every role in the data focused organisation.

Build your Data Warehouse in SQL Server & SSIS with the BI Monkey

Nov 24/25 – Are you about to build your Data Warehouse with Microsoft tools and want to do it right first time?

This course is designed to help a novice understand what is involved in building a Data Warehouse both from a technical architecture and project delivery perspective. It also delivers you basic skills in the tools the Microsoft Business Intelligence suite offers you to do that with.

Get more detail here

Agile BI workshops

Power BI specialist Agile BI brings your product updates on this key new self service BI technology:

Oct 15 – Power BI workshop – Excel new features for reporting and data analysis – more detail here

Oct 30 – What Every Manager Should Know About Microsoft Cloud, Power BI for Office 365 and SQL Server 2014 – more detail here

Presciient Training

Dr Eugene Dubossarsky shares his deep business and technical exercise across a range of advanced and basic analytics. Full details here but the key list is:

Dec 9/10 – Predictive analytics and data science for big data

Dec 11/12 –Introduction to R and data visualisation

Dec 16/17 –Data analytics for fraud and anomaly detection, security and forensics

Dec 18/19 – Business analytics and data for beginners

 

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July Training roundup

Ok, so there’s a lot of things happening in July or later in the year which you should be aware of, led either by me or people I know deliver great training across Microsoft BI, SQL Server, R, Data Science, Predictive modelling…  and more.

Build your Data Warehouse in SQL Server & SSIS with the BI Monkey

There’s a big advert to the right – this workshop taking place 28/29 July will help you get to grips with the core concepts of data warehousing, give you hands on experience implementing those concepts using the Microsoft SQL Server BI Toolset, then round it out with making you aware of all the peripheral details that can enhance your solution and success.

Register Now

AgileBI Workshops on SQL Server 2014 & PowerBI

AgileBI – which includes Iman Eftekhari, Viktor Isakov and myself – are delivering the following workshops:

  • What Every Manager Should Know About Microsoft Cloud, Power BI for Office 365 and SQL Server 2014 – 11/2 day session on July 24th
  • SQL Server 2014 & Power BI Jump Start – Full Day Workshop on July 31st
  • Power BI workshop – Excel new features for reporting and data analysis – lunchtime July 10th

Register Now

Presciient Training on R, Data Science & Predictive Modelling

  • Training led by the ever interesting Dr Eugene Dubossarsky in September across Canberra, Sydey & Melbourne – Sydney dates below:
  • Introduction to R and data visualisation – 9/10 Sep
  • Predictive modelling, data science and big data – 11/12 Sep
  • Data analytics for fraud and anomaly detection, security and forensics – 16/17 Sep
  • Advanced R – 18/19 Sep

Register Now

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SQL Server Data Warehouse Training in Sydney – July 28

The eagle eyed among you may have noticed I’ve added a big countdown banner to the right of the page announcing a course “Build your Data Warehouse in SQL Server & SSIS with the BI Monkey“, running for 2 days from July 28.

The course is aimed at giving an overview of how to build and manage a Data Warehouse using the SQL Server platform as a base. It’s aimed to be a solid mix of Data Warehouse theory and hands on development to get the concepts locked in. For full details see my new “Training” page, but the key outcomes are:

  • Learn how to get the Architecture right and keep your solution flexible
  • Understand the whole lifecycle of a DW project
  • Get hands on with the tools you need to move data

 

The high level agenda is:

  • The Three Main Data Warehouse architectures – Kimball, Inmon & Data Vault
  • SSIS Basics – Projects, Control Flows and Data Flows
  • Moving Data with SSIS
  • ETL Control Frameworks
  • Database considerations
  • How HDInsight (Hadoop) fits in
  • Code Management with Team Foundation Server
  • Testing
  • Build Automation
  • Deployment
  • Management
  • MDS, DQS and other useful Microsoft Toys

 
Click the button to register now – look forward to seeing you!

Eventbrite - Build your Data Warehouse in SQL Server & SSIS with the BI Monkey

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The Single Source of Whaaaaaaaaat?

A BI developers journey

Part 1: The Single Source of the Truth

Many moons ago, a young BI developer went in search of the Single Source of the Truth.

First he saw a priest, who held up a copy of the Bible and happily proclaimed that he held in his hands the Single Source of the Truth, delivered from high above.

Next he sought out an Imam, who held up a copy of the Koran and happily proclaimed that he held in his hands the Single Source of the Truth, delivered from high above.

Frustrated, he sought out a Scientologist, who held up a copy of Dianetics and happily proclaimed that he held in his hands the Single Source of the Truth, delivered from high above.

He turned to his venerable Data Warehouse manager. “I am so confused. All I sought was a Single Source of the Truth.”

The Data Warehouse manager held up a copy of the Corporate Information Management Policy, and happily proclaimed that within it was defined the Single Source of the Truth – the Data Warehouse – and this was delivered from high above by the Enterprise Architects.*

At this point, the young BI developer suspected all was not right with the world.

* In no way am I suggesting Enterprise Architects are godlike, except perhaps in their ability to give vague and largely useless directives

 

Part 2: What is this Truth thing, anyway?

The young developer turned to someone who cared deeply about numbers and facts, the Finance manager.

“Finance manager. What is this Truth business that I seek to define? Surely in your world it is simple? Cash goes in, Cash goes out, at some point the CEO takes a big pile of it to the Italian car dealership and buys something red and expensive?”

The Finance manager nodded sagely. “Well, yes. And .. er, no.” She looked at the young developer and asked a question. “When you say cash in, do you mean our bank balance? Or monies received? Do we include or exclude cheques that have not cleared? How about late instalments from our creditors?” She whispered conspiratorially to the young developer. “The truth is often whatever it needs to justify paying for the CEO’s next shiny toy.”

The young developer was even more confused at this point. If precision was not a guide, then uncertainty perhaps could be – so the developer sought out the Marketing manager. “Marketing manager. What is this truth business I seek to define?”

The Marketing manager grinned broadly, showing his perfect array of white teeth. “That depends on who I am trying to sell to. If I announce to the market the success of a new product, should I tell them how many we sold? Or perhaps shipped? Or how much we sold something for? It depends on who I am trying to please or impress.” He whispered conspiratorially to the young developer. “The truth is sometimes we don’t know and just tell them something that sounds good.”

The young developer was now terribly confused. Not only were there many sources of the truth, but sometimes the truth could be interpreted different ways – and even worse, sometimes it didn’t even matter.

 

Part 3: The revelation of the nature of truth

So, in his frustration he turned to his friend, a physicist, for surely a scientist should know what is true and what is false.

“Physicist friend. Surely the truth is not so hard to define? A thing is a thing, is it not? It is where it is, and it has characteristics that can be defined?”

The Physicist shook his head. “Let me tell you about the universe. At the tiniest scale we can know where something is, and how fast it is going. But the more we know about its speed, the less we know about its location. The more we know about its location, the less we know about its speed. We cannot know everything about it with certainty.”*

At this, the young BI Developer had a revelation.

“So, we cannot know everything. Just some things with certainty! We shouldn’t attempt to know everything, but just know what we can within the constraints that we put around it!”

With that, the young BI Developer wandered off and built one of many sources of truth, defining clearly when each would be true, and made some of the users happy.

* This is real physics – the Uncertainty Principle

Epilogue: What on earth is the BI Monkey on about now?

This odd story came about following from a conversation I had with a Data Warehouse manager recently who was very concerned that users would mash the official Data Warehouse data up with non-official data if given access to some of the PowerPivot technology. It’s not an unusual or invalid concern as when users get the numbers wrong the DW team can get the blame.

However I believe (and am not alone in doing so) that the world has moved on from a Data Warehouse being the Single Source of Truth for the enterprise. It cannot hope to keep up with or even reliably store all that data users may want, nor can it keep up with all the different views of what “the truth” actually is. So the Data Warehouse needs to change its role: become a Single Source of Truth for certain things, within defined boundaries.

A simple example of this could be Employee headcount. There are plenty of different interpretations  of this depending on how you count full time and part time employees, contractors, volunteers and so on. The DW can step back from this and say – we will apply this rule, to get this number, and that’s the corporate standard. If a user wants to do it differently in their own analysis, feel free. Just don’t expect the DW to have your back or help you when the numbers look wrong or don’t tie up to the Annual Report.

This approach allows the production of all corporate sanctioned stuff – Annual Reports, Regulatory reporting, etc. out of the DW as a traditionally defined Single Source of Truth – as those boundaries are very well defined. It also allows users to do wild and crazy things, mashing up official and non official data and doing their own analysis and interpretation – without having to wait for the development cycles of the DW team.

The Single Source of Truth isn’t dead…  but perhaps it is time for it to develop boundaries.

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