Joshua Fennessy

PASS Business Analytics Conference – Keynote Day 1 Recap

Pass Keynote panorama

The PASS Business Analytics conference has officially begun this morning. Yesterday wrapped with a successful round of pre-conference seminars and the Welcome Reception – the chorizo was pretty amazing, #thankslarock.20140508_145852565_iOS

I was honored to be asked to sit at a special reserved table for bloggers and tweeters to broadcast keynote announcements live to the cloud!  I was joined by many fellow bloggers and friends include fellow BlueGranite coworker Melissa Coates (b | @sqlchick)

Today starts off with a keynote presentation featuring PASS president Thomas LaRock as well as Microsoft superstarts Amir Netz and Kahmal Hahti.

Thomas is the first to take the stage and kick off the second PASS Business Analytics conference. Thomas welcomes us and urges us to take hold of our passions for data and use that to give back to the community. PASS is one of the avenues that we can use to give back to. Join a local user group, join a virtual user group, start a user group if one doesn’t exist near you. Get involved. PASS has grown to over 100,000 members and operates largely on volunteer’s hard work and effort.

John Whitaker from Dell, one of the Platinum Partner sponsors of the PASS Business Analtyic ocnference this year joined the stage to help give us some insights into Big Data and how it’s penetrating the mid-market tier.  Big takeaways from this session are

1.) Big Data Projects are not just for enterprise

2.) One of the largest primary factors of successful implementation is IT to Business alignment

3.) Most successful implementations currently have been Real Time Analytics and Predictive Analyticsly

Overall John’s message is great and it’s an important one to hear. It’s also one we’ve heard before. Business has several challenges with data analytics: data complexity, data volume, and budget. While these challenges aren’t new, Big Data tools (like Hadoop) can help address these complexities in new ways that weren’t possible with traditional data analytics tools (like SSAS).

Collaboration between business and IT is also a key to success, which again, is nothing new, but as both tools and data become more complex that collaboration becomes ever more important.

Amir Netz is a Microsoft Technical Fellow and one of those great enigmatic speakers that really expresses his enthusiasm for Excel and analytics through his presentation.

Kamal Hathi is a director of engineering for Microsoft BI. Kamal is in charge of of the project teams that have created great new tools like Power BI.

Amir and Kamal really took charge of the room and drove up the excitement by announcing some AMAZING new features coming to Power BI. Seriously, there was a LOT of information during this keynote. Here is a brief recap:

The product updates came fast and furious during the demo

  •   Updates to natural language queries to make it even easier for users to get access to data
  • The Field list is now shown by default in Power Q&A
  • SSRS will be available in Power BI this summer
  • Data will be able to be hosted on premise, but reports surfaced in the cloud. Direct connection possible, no data refresh necessary
  • Power BI iOS application will be available this summer
  • Interactivity in browser of hosted Power View reports. Users will be able to interact and edit hosted reports without downloading to local machine first
  • New chart types available INCLUDING TREE MAPS!!!
  • Natural language dashboard creation built into Power BI and Power Query
  • Forecasting algorithms built into Power View allow for easy forecasting of current data
  • New chart modification features that include the ability to combine charts, filter specific values out of one chart, move chart features from one to another.

20140508_155838863_iOS 20140508_160419111_iOS 20140508_160810155_iOS

    As you can see, there were a massive amount of updates announced today. I’m sure I missed one or two, so be sure to watch the Power BI site for updates, as well as the #passbac hashtag for live conference updates.

The keynote at today’s BA Conference opening included some great new information about PASS, the Business Analytics community, and great new features avaialble within the Microsoft BI ecosystem.

I’ll be back tomorrow live blogging/tweeting the keynote presented by David McCandless – data visualization expert. Watch this blog and @joshuafennessy on twitter for updates.

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