Data & BI Summit Sessions

Data & BI Summit

I’ll be presenting two sessions at the Data & BI Summit in Dublin, Ireland from April 24th through the 26th. Per the session schedule, my sessions are DAX Query Use Cases on the 25th and Power Query M Language in MSBI Projects on the 26th.

Session: DAX Query Use Cases (4/25)

Most Microsoft BI developers are familiar with authoring DAX measures for Analysis Services Tabular models and Power BI datasets. However, far fewer are experienced with writing DAX queries or integrating DAX queries into MSBI projects. This session includes three 20 minute segments as follows: A) DAX Query Structure and Functions B) Embedding DAX Queries into DAX Measures and C) Leveraging DAX Queries in paginated Power BI Report Server reports. Attendees will learn the essential concepts and functions of DAX as a query language, powerful DAX features including variables and set-based functions, and how to utilize DAX Studio to develop and test DAX queries. 

Session: Power Query M Language in MSBI Projects (4/26)

The Power Query M Language is now the common data access layer across the MSBI platform including Analysis Services, Power BI, and Excel. This session will walk through examples of utilizing M queries in each of these products to access and enhance the value of source data. Within these examples, fundamental concepts will be described including query folding, parameters, and staging queries. Additionally, tools for developing and managing M queries will be reviewed including the Power Query SDK for Visual Studio and the Power Query M Language extension for Visual Studio Code.

There may be a free event near Boston next month that previews some of the material. Additionally, I’ll be presenting a two hour webinar (Prep and Model Your Data) on April 11th as part of a PUG Academy 2-Day virtual event. A link is not available at the moment.

Insight Quest Impact

Given these events, as well as final edits for Mastering Power BI and project engagements (Frontline Analytics), I’m out of capacity to author technical blog posts for a little while. Next week I plan to post an update on the Mastering Power BI project including the chapter outline, page counts, and a revised publication timeline.

In some ways you can think of Insight Quest as a Power BI Free license or maybe a Developer edition of SQL Server. You don’t pay anything to read through the blog posts and you can evaluate various techniques and examples for potential use in your scenarios. However, readers of my books, attendees at paid events, and clients of Frontline Analytics have provisioned resources (e.g. Power BI Pro Licenses, Power BI Premium) and thus obtain access to additional features and dedicated capacity.

A few thoughts on speaking….

I’m not a great speaker and every presentation is unique but I generally find that the following practices are well received:

  • Objective: The Transfer of Useful Knowledge
    • Any use of time that doesn’t directly serve this purpose is suspect at best.
    • More than 15 seconds of the About Me slide is too much.
    • Humor/jokes, music, slide animations, typing, opening files, personal stories, etc, should all be minimized in favor of useful concepts, details, and examples.
  • Examples are the best teacher
    • There’s certainly a place for slides and concepts but I try to limit this to about 20-30% of the session at most.
    • Each example should target a realistic and tangible scenario with the speaker providing context (why or why not do this?).
    • Each example should be thoroughly prebuilt such that minimal time is needed to click, type, browse, and wait.
  • Content should be fresh and forward looking
    • Attendees shouldn’t see a recycled version of something that’s been publicly available for free.
    • If you don’t have a new use case, a twist on an existing pattern, or an original perspective to share (via examples) then you should briefly identify the essentials and move on.
    • The latest features and tools in the MSBI stack should be used in the session even if these features are not the focus of the example.
  • Aim a Level Higher
    • Err on the side of being (slightly) too advanced rather than being too basic.
      • It’s much better for attendees to be interested though not completely confident in their understanding than to be bored.
    • Event attendees want to go further with the technology but also doesn’t want ‘edge cases’ or extreme examples.
    • There’s always free events, documentation, and ‘getting started’ materials that attendees can find to cover the basics (100 to 200 level material).
  • Limited Q & A 
    • Questions should be at the end of the session (or after the session) and limited to 10 minutes max.
    • Questions during presentations are usually an inefficient use of attendees times (those who didn’t ask the question)
    • Questions during presentations can cause other attendees and potentially the speaker to lose their train of thought.

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