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Good Habits of a DW/BI Developer

In this session we will review sensible techniques that make a big difference in your data warehousing, business intelligence, and analytics environments. Lessons learned and strategies from prior projects will be shared. Attendee participation is encouraged as we discuss design principles and development practices while dealing with agility and infrastructure which grows increasingly complex.

Level: Beginner (those with some BI experience will get the most out of the session)

Slides: Coming Soon

Upcoming Presentations:

Building Blocks of Cortana Intelligence Suite in Azure

Join us for a practical look at the components of Cortana Intelligence Suite for information management, data storage, analytics, and visualization. Purpose, capabilities, and use cases for each component of the suite will be discussed. Expertise required for implementation of each component will be covered as well. If you are a technology professional who is involved with delivering business intelligence, analytics, data warehousing, or big data utilizing Azure services, this technical overview will help you gain familiarity with the components of Cortana Intelligence Suite and its potential for delivering value.

Level:  A fast-moving introductory session

Target Audience: Technology professionals seeking to gain a high level understanding of the capabilities of the Cortana Intelligence Suite

Slides: Building Blocks of Cortana Intelligence Suite    <--slides last updated July 17, 2016

Presented At:

Power BI: Architecture, Integration Points, Implementation Options

In this session we will review Power BI implementation approaches, architecture, delivery options, authoring tools, data access methods, data refresh options, security, as well as functionality for sharing and distributing content. Components of cloud, on-premises, and hybrid approaches will be explored. We will conclude with the concept of "Bimodal BI" with use cases for how Power BI might be utilized for both self-service BI and certain corporate BI initiatives. 

Level:  A fast-moving introductory session

Target Audience: Technology professionals seeking to understand the system components

Slides:    Power BI: Architecture, Integration Points, Implementation Options <--slides last updated March 27, 2016

Presented At:

This session has evolved and was previously known as Power BI: Architecture, Use Cases, Strengths, and Shortcomings


Presentation Archives:

Administering and Managing the Power BI Environment (V1 - Power BI for Office 365)

Power BI for Office 365 is Microsoft's new self-service BI offering. Just because it emphasizes self-service doesn't mean a system administrator isn't an important role! In this session we will discuss the overall system components and how a Power BI site in SharePoint Online differs from an on-premises SharePoint BI site.  We will walk through how to best handle setting up connectivity to data sources, when a gateway is needed, and what data refresh capabilities exist. We will also consider how and when to create OData feeds from your corporate on-premises data sources and how those OData feeds affect Enterprise Data Search functionality.

Level:  A fast-moving introductory session

Slides:  Administering & Managing the Power BI Environment  <--Applicable to V1 (Power BI for Office 365) which is now deprecated

Presented At:

Power BI Architecture & Functionality in SharePoint Online  (V1 - Power BI for Office 365)

Power BI for Office 365 is Microsoft's new business intelligence offering which utilizes SharePoint Online and Office functionality. In this session we will discuss and demonstrate the key components of this hybrid cloud environment and what the prerequisites are for a Power BI site. Some key differences between a Power BI site in SharePoint Online versus a SharePoint BI site will be explored. We will conclude with a review of data connectivity options to be aware of. 

Level:  Introductory

Slides:  Power BI Architecture & Functionality in SharePoint Online  <--Applicable to V1 (Power BI for Office 365)

Presented At:

Maximizing the Data Exploration Capabilities of Power View

Description:  Would business users in your organization love to get their hands on an interactive, visually-oriented, data exploration tool? If so, Power View may be a useful addition to your BI environment to handle certain types of self-service reporting requirements. In this session we will demonstrate the features and functionality of Power View including highlighting, cross-filtering, play axis, small multiples, tiles, cards, maps, filtering, and exporting.

We will identify which situations Power View is most suited for, as well as its strengths and limitations. Capabilities in SharePoint 2010/2013 vs. Excel 2013 will be reviewed, as well as restrictions on types of data sources allowed. We will also discuss how to prepare a dataset in order to maximize the usability and functionality of Power View.  

Level:  Introductory 

Slides:  Maximizing the Data Exploration Capabilities of Power View

Presented At: 

The Lifecycle of a Reporting Services Report

Description:  In this session we will discuss various tips and best practices as we follow a report through its lifecycle via an end-to-end demo. Beginning with a discussion of requirements and useful templates, we will progress to a review of good report development and standardization practices, followed by suggestions for testing and validation. Next we will consider alternatives for deployment, report delivery, and handling ongoing enhancements and bug fixes. The lifecycle will wrap up with a discussion of maintenance and administration of the reporting environment.  

Level:  Intermediate 

Slides:  Lifecycle of a SSRS Report

Presented At: 

Tools and Techniques for Implementing Corporate and Self-Service BI

Description:  Business Intelligence requirements frequently change and having only a Corporate BI solution can result in slower delivery cycles and information backlogs. Yet the introduction of Self-Service BI introduces challenges around governance, change management, standardization, training, support, and access to unregulated data sources. In this session we will consider the benefits, obstacles, and techniques for integrating Self-Service and Corporate BI. Demonstrations of Microsoft BI tools will include Power Pivot, Power Query, Power View, Power Map, Excel, and SharePoint 2013.  

Level:  Introductory 

Slides:  Tools and Techniques for Implementing Corporate and Self-Service BI

Presented At: 

So You Want To Be a Rockstar Report Developer?

Description:  You don't want to settle for being an average report developer, right? In this session we'll walk through an end-to-end demo as we discuss various development, standardization, deployment, and documentation practices that will make your SSRS development life easier, your output of higher quality, increase maintainability, and ultimately save you time. Audience participation and sharing of experiences is encouraged as we cover choices you have for datasets, sorting, grouping, filtering, calculations, parameters, deployment, and delivery. This session focuses primarily on SQL Server Reporting Services 2012, although some concepts may apply to other BI tools as well.   

Level:  Intermediate 

Slides:  So You Want To Be a Rockstar Report Developer?

Starter Templates:

Report Requirements

Report Style Guide

Report Unit Testing Checklist

Presented At: 

Managing the "Power Pivot for SharePoint" Environment

Description:  In this session we will discuss management of data models and reports stored in the Power Pivot Gallery document library. Data Refresh and security considerations will be reviewed in depth. The relational and SSAS databases present in a Power Pivot for SharePoint environment will be introduced, as well as options for reporting on usage and other key metrics. This session, which is applicable to SharePoint 2010 and 2013, will help you become prepared to tackle the support aspects of a Power Pivot for SharePoint environment.  

Level:  Intermediate 

Slides:  Managing the Power Pivot for SharePoint Environment

Presented At: 

Managed Self-Service BI


Traditional Business Intelligence is changing … you heard about the ambitious data analyst down the hall who created a mashup of data from the internal data warehouse + Excel + an Azure feed?  Empowering knowledge workers is Microsoft's vision of delivering "BI for the Masses."  In this session we will dismiss the hype & examine how this new world of "Managed Self-Service BI" complements Corporate BI in SQL Server 2012 and SharePoint 2010/2013. 


  • Provide overview of each Self-Service component and expectations for its use:  PowerPivot | Excel Services | Power View | Report Builder
  • Discuss techniques to successfully monitor, secure, & manage the Self-Service BI environment

Level:  Intermediate

Slides:  Managed Self-Service BI

Presented At:

Dashboards...How To Choose Which MSBI Tool?

Description:  The Microsoft Business Intelligence (MSBI) stack has a few choices for visualization.  We will explore options, flexibility, limitations, and ease of use for creating dashboards & scorecards with:

  • PerformancePoint Services 2010
  • Reporting Services 2008 R2
  • SharePoint Server 2010
  • PowerPivot
  • Power View

This session will be a fun one!  We will compare and contrast options available in each tool, such as:  charts, gauges, maps, indicators, sparklines, data bars, and decomposition trees. 


  • Examine strengths of each tool related to meeting data visualization requirements
  • Compare and contrast common visualization options available in each tool
  • Conclude when you might choose one tool in the Microsoft BI stack versus another

Level:  Intermediate 

Slides:  Dashboards...How To Choose Which MSBI Tool

Companion Document:  MSBI Visualization Comparisons By Tool

Presented At: