September 2019 CBIG Meeting: Classification Modeling in Python

Meeting Date: Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Session Topic: Classification Modeling in Python

Link to Session Materials

Session Description: In this session, we will have a hands-on session on building a classification model using Python. It will be an interactive session learning some basic concepts of predictive modeling and applying these concepts in developing a predictive model that is super useful in just about any industry. Come prepared with Python installed on your computer. The session will be taught with a Jupyter Notebook.

Moyo Lawal

Presenter: Moyosore Lawal is a Senior Analytics Associate at Syntelli Solutions with many years of experience working with data. Her role involves consulting with clients on data-related initiatives such as data engineering, science, strategy, and architecture. She develops POCs, designs and implements data solutions from concept to consumption. She has successfully managed projects on master data management, data engineering, predictive modeling and cloud solutions architecting. Moyo has an MSc in Data Science and Business Analytics from UNCC. She enjoys solving complex problems, catering and spending time with friends and family.

August 2019 CBIG Meeting: Data Flows – The New Azure Data Factory Feature that Brings the “T” to your ELT/ETL Pipelines

Meeting Date: Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Session Topic: Data Flows - The New Azure Data Factory Feature that Brings the “T” to your ELT/ETL PIpelines

Session Description: In this session we will discuss Azure Data Factory Data Flows, and how it can be a major component of your Data Engineering process. Attendees will learn how to get started with Data Flows, and how complex data engineering pipeline processes, backed by Spark and Azure Databricks, can be developed with ease in a graphical environment. This session will be “demo heavy” and is designed to get attendees excited about the possibilities of Azure Data Factory and Data Flows.

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Presenter: Marty Pittman is a Data and AI Solutions Architect in the Southeast Technical Solutions Professional team for Microsoft, based out of Charlotte, NC. In his role, he is responsible for working closely with enterprise customers in helping them transform their business through greater insights from data. Marty’s focus is on enabling his customers to implement advanced analytics and data science capabilities by leveraging Big Data, Data Engineering, Machine Learning, and AI technologies in Azure.

July 2019 CBIG Meeting: Power BI Use Cases

Meeting Date: Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Session Topic: Power BI Use Cases

Session Description: More than just a dashboard, be prepared for an overflow of uses of Power BI to digest data, create measures, identify trends and create reports and dashboards for user consumption. This is a session for demonstrating how existing business data tools functionality are fully transferable and optimized in Power BI.

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Presenter: Camir has been a Senior Data Analyst at Avast Software in the Small Medium Business Unit for 4 years (Charlotte, NC). He has been in analytics for over 15 years including a long career at Verizon. Camir uses analytics to uncover ‘the why’ of any and all results in business metrics. He has his degree in Computer Science with concentration in Telecommunications from PACE University New York NY; Certification in Google Analytics; Certificate in Language and Tools of Financial Analysis; Backup Teacher Assistant in Data Analytics at 2U/Trilogy; Microsoft Power BI Champion. Camir is married with 2 boys and his interests are date night with his wife, NY Sports, and Economics.

June 2019 CBIG Meeting: The Power of Electric Snakes! An Introduction to PySpark for Big Data Analytics

Meeting Date: Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Session Topic: The Power of Electric Snakes! An Introduction to PySpark for Big Data Analytics

Session Description: Big Data Analytics is becoming a major priority for more organizations every day. However, traditional Hadoop skills are still difficult to find, expensive to hire, and time-consuming to train. In this introductory session, we'll see how it is easy to get started with Big Data Analytics using Spark and Python. We'll learn how to perform standard analytical tasks, like creating RDDs and Data Frames, transforming columns and creating aggregations. Be sure to bring your rubber suits, because we'll be playing with lightning...snakes.

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Presenter: Brad is a Service Engineer on Microsoft's FastTrack for Azure Team in Charlotte, NC. Brad helps individuals and organizations leverage Analytics and Azure to revolutionize themselves and their industries. He has an M.S. in Statistics from the University of South Carolina, MCSE Certification in Data Management and Analytics, MCSE Certification in Cloud Platform and Infrastructure and various MCSA Certifications in Business Intelligence and Advanced Analytics. Brad is an active blogger at He is also an organizer for the Charlotte BI Group, a local PASS chapter in Charlotte, NC. You can connect with him on LinkedIn at and on Twitter @BreakingBI.

May 2019 CBIG Meeting: Spark Made Easy with Azure Databricks

Meeting Date: Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Session Topic: Spark Made Easy with Azure Databricks

Session Materials: Slides

Session Description: Apache Spark is a lightning-fast unified analytics engine for big data and machine learning. It is one of the most highly contributed open source projects for data processing. Engineered from the bottom up for performance, Spark can be 100x faster than Hadoop for large scale data processing by exploiting in-memory computing and other optimizations. Spark has easy-to-use APIs for operating large datasets and manipulating semi-structured data. Data enthusiasts are eager to learn more about this data processing engine, while a section of Data Engineers and Data Scientists claim it as their swiss army knife. Spark comes packaged with higher-level libraries, including support for SQL queries, streaming data, machine learning, etc. We will learn about the Spark data processing engine, its ecosystem, and explore a use case using the Azure Databricks platform.

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Presenter: Vishwas Subramanian (Vish) is a Data Engineering consultant at Syntelli Solutions. He has been primarily focusing on providing consultation in the insurance and finance industry space. He specializes in analyzing big data problems, providing optimum solutions for business use cases, and mentoring team members. Vishwas has a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. His research interests are Spark development, Visual Analytics, Android Devices, Machine Learning Algorithms and AI. When Vishwas is not providing incredible big data solutions for our clients, you can find him hiking, playing soccer, and travelling.

April 2019 CBIG Meeting: Step-By-Step Process for Creating a Timeless User Experience Dashboard

Meeting Date: Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Session Topic: Step-By-Step Process for Creating a Timeless User Experience Dashboard

Session Materials: Slides

Session Description: Business users are demanding that business intelligence (BI) and analytical applications employ the same level of experience as consumer apps. For a good dashboard to work successfully, it needs to showcase certain characteristics to portray the information the user is wanting to consume. In this session, we will go through a step-by-step process for creating a timeless user experience for dashboards and applications that can be scalable, usable and visually appealing.

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Presenter: Nicholas Holloway is a UI/UX Designer & Developer helping clients design and develop digital solutions in SharePoint 2010, 2013 and Office 365/SharePoint Online. Since 2010, he has designed digital web experiences for projects related to intranets, portals, websites and web applications with Fortune 500 and other reputable companies like Intel, Lockheed Martin, Five Guys, Georgia Pacific, Cox Communications, ARRIS Group, Simmons and many others that span multiple industry disciplines. He is just a designer and alchemist crafting concepts one pixel at a time! Nicholas has had a passion for collaboration and connecting with tech entrepreneurs across the globe. Outside of his work, Nicholas has been a co-organizer for Interaction Design Atlanta (IxDA), sponsor for One Child Matters, and speaker for local tech workshops/meetups.

March 2019 CBIG Meeting: Who Moved my Cheese and Crackers and Replaced it with Power BI

Meeting Date: Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Session Topic: Who Moved my Cheese and Crackers and Replaced it with Power BI

Session Materials: Slides

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Session Description: Driving user adoption is critical when implementing Power BI. This session navigates educating users on the benefits of this powerful tool and enabling them to see their data in a new light that drives significant time and cost savings. Plenty of practical examples and real life stories to help empower Power BI admins, super users, power users and technical resources to be a game changer and Power BI all-star for their organization.

Presenter: Miguel Viera is a Sr. Financial Analyst and Power BI Administrator at Pike in Mount Airy, NC.  Miguel has over 19 years of experience with company financials, internal applications and dashboard analytics.  A former collegiate All-American Middle Linebacker and two-time self-published author have provided him with plenty of opportunities to effectively encourage and inspire colleagues and youth alike.

February 2019: Annual CBIG Social Event

Date: Tuesday, February 12, 2019

It's our 6-year anniversary of launching the Charlotte BI Group. Please come help us celebrate! Don't miss this fun night of casual conversation about BI, data, analytics, and data science. We call this "Beers and BI" (but you don't have to drink beer). Appetizers and drinks will be provided by the CBIG group.

January 2019 CBIG Meeting: Predicting Risk of Health Crisis

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Meeting Date:  Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Topic: Predicting Risk of Health Crisis

Session Description:  Cardinal Innovations is a payer organization that manages NC state’s Medicaid fund. It operates primarily in behavior health space and its member profile includes members with severe mental health disorders (MH), substance use disorders (SUD), and intellectual & developmental disorders (IDD). The aim of the antipsychotic medication model is to identify members on an antipsychotic who are at a risk of crisis. The model takes into consideration behavior health (BH), physical health (PH), and pharmacy details to obtain a holistic view of a member. The BH includes data on members with schizophrenia, bipolar, other psychosis and substance use disorders. PH data includes physical disorders (e.g. nervous, circulatory, history of self-violence). The pharmacy data provides information on their antipsychotic medication adherence.

Initial descriptive statistics and factor analysis are performed to identify the right variables. Multiple predictive models like logistic regression, decision tree, random forest, and XGBoost model are employed to predict the risk of crisis among member population and correct model is chosen based on model performance. A risk score is assigned to each member based on the risk factors. Multiple stakeholders can now filter for members managed by their department to provide right care and thereby improve member outcome.

Presenter: Kartik Niyogi is data science & business analytics professional with a focus on healthcare analytics. He has more than eight years of experience with financial planning (FP&A), business analysis, and programming. In his current role as data scientist, Kartik engages with multiple stakeholders in understanding their business problems and translating them into analytic solutions. His healthcare analytics project involved improving member outcomes by developing a predictive model for identifying members at higher risk of mental health crisis or opioid use disorder. Other analytics projects revolved around improving business operations, such as text mining member progress notes and member forecasting for Finance. Kartik graduated from University of North Carolina Charlotte in Dec. 2017 with MS Data Science and Business Analytics.

December 2018 CBIG Meeting: Getting Started with Hadoop

Meeting Date:  Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Topic: Getting Started with Hadoop

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Session Description: Getting started with Hadoop with no prior knowledge of Unix, Linux or Java can be challenging. Considering big data and AI and their use in today’s everyday business, Hadoop is consistently a necessary skill to have. In this session, you will learn what Hadoop is, why it is relevant in the big data world, and how to use it. The session will get you started on your Hadoop journey.

Presenter: Moyo Lawal is a Data Science Consultant at Syntelli Solutions with several years of experience working with data for Software Testing, Quality Assurance, Business Analysis, Data Mining and Reporting. She specializes on helping businesses harness the power of data to achieve business goals. Moyo has a Master’s degree in Data Science and Business Analytics from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and enjoys event planning and catering.

November 2018 CBIG Meeting: Panel Discussion-How to Land Your Dream Job in Data Analytics

Meeting Date:  Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Topic: How to Land Your Dream Job in Data Analytics

Panelists: Leveat Ruse, Holly Davies, Keri Shearer, Kevin King, Alejandro Mesa

October 2018 CBIG Meeting: Deploying and Managing Microsoft Power BI Premium Capacities to Your Entire Organization

Meeting Date:  Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Presentation Materials: Managing Power BI Premium

Topic: Deploying and Managing Microsoft Power BI Premium Capacities to Your Entire Organization

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Session Description: Join this session to learn how to plan and manage your Premium capacity for your enterprise. Learn what factors to consider in planning your capacity and how to assess your plan through mechanics and best practices. You will use capacity usage metrics to understand the health and diagnose issues with your capacity. This session will focus completely on Power BI Premium.

Presenter: Danni Ortman began her technical career as a trainer in Dayton, Ohio in 1992 then transitioned to a SQL Server consultant working on SQL 4.21a, 6.0, and 6.5. Danni started at Microsoft a few months before the SQL Server 7.0 release as a pre-sales technical resource specializing in BI and Data Warehousing covering the states of MI, OH, and KY. Since that time, Danni has progressed in to many roles within Microsoft including account manager, account technology strategist, and productivity specialist for the retail/hospitality industry. Danni relocated from Microsoft Cincinnati to Microsoft Charlotte in April of 2013 to assume the pre-sales SQL Server technical role, and she currently focuses on Power BI.

September 2018 CBIG Meeting: Power BI for Data Science

Meeting Date:  Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Presentation Materials:

Javier Guillen’s presentation on Power BI for Data Science

Cardinal Solutions presentation on Azure Data Factory

Topic: Power BI for Data Science

Session Description: Data Scientists often use a variety of tools to perform engineering and predictive modeling activities in their quest to squeeze as much value from data as possible. Although Power BI is sometimes seen as “just” a front-end visualization tool, its capabilities for data manipulation along with its interoperability with popular data science platforms make it a good choice for data experimentation on a broad set of scenarios.This session will provide a high level overview of typical use cases that benefit from Power BI’s rich exploration capabilities in support of data science efforts.


Presenter: Javier Guillen is the Director of Data Engineering for Syntelli Solutions, a boutique management consulting company focused in Advanced Analytics. He has 18 years of experience working in technology, with ten of those in business intelligence. He is an adjunct professor for the City University of New York (CUNY) data & analytics program and also a board advisor for the Computer Technical Institute at Central Piedmont Community College. He co-founded the Charlotte Business Intelligence User Group, a non profit dedicated to promote technology in the local community.

August 2018 CBIG Meeting: Azure Data Lake: What, Why, and How


Meeting Date:  Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Topic: Azure Data Lake: What, Why, and How

Session Materials 

Session Description: We will explore the capabilities of Azure Data Lake (ADL), its use cases, as well as when to implement ADL as part of your data architecture. Options for integration of the data lake with SQL Server, Azure SQL DW, Azure SQL DB, and Azure Blob Storage will be discussed, as well as the roles of U-SQL and PolyBase in a multi-platform system. You will leave this session with an understanding of the benefits, challenges, and suggestions for getting started with Azure Data Lake technologies.

Presenter: Melissa Coates is a Solution Architect with BlueGranite in Charlotte, NC. She specializes in delivering modern data warehousing, data lake, and business intelligence solutions using cloud and hybrid and technologies. Formerly a CPA, Melissa is ridiculously proud to be an IT geek and downright giddy to be a Microsoft Data Platform MVP. When Melissa steps away from the keyboard, you can probably find her hanging out with her dog, paddle boarding, or playing in the garden. Melissa blogs at

July 2018: Using Integrated Microsoft Tools to Drive Productivity and Efficiency

Meeting Date:  Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Topic: Using Integrated Microsoft Tools to Drive Productivity and Efficiency

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Session Description: Not only are front office operations drowning in paper – the manufacturing floor can also be burdened by this relic of a bygone era. Using paper to capture time-sensitive production information introduces several kinds of “muda” (waste) in this process alone, such as waiting, inappropriate processing and unnecessary motion. More critically, the flaws of a paper-based information flow can impact actual production, such as when a time lag (“waiting”) results in overproduction or unnecessary inventory. Using Microsoft’s Office 365 apps and SQL, Mark and his team have deployed a solution designed to eliminate “muda”. Get ready for a walk through the key considerations, challenges and opportunities that were found during our development and deployment process.

Presenter: Mark Meirow is the Information Systems department head at Oiles America Corporation in Concord, NC, an automotive parts manufacturer and distributor. In over 20 years at Oiles America Corporation, Mark has lead deployment of two ERP systems, including SAP, and created tools to interface with the data generated therein. As a certified management accountant (CMA), it is important for him not only report information, but to make clear the linkages back to data sources. Long versed in Excel, he has been exploring the many new offerings from Microsoft since he attended his first SharePoint conference in 2014. Nowadays, he is immersed in PowerApps, Power BI, Flow, SQL and the many connections between them.

June 2018: Four Paths to Data Science Success using Microsoft Azure

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Meeting Date:  Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Topic: Four Paths to Data Science Success using Microsoft Azure

Session Description: Many organizations are beginning to understand they are sitting on a goldmine of data. Some already have data science teams, while others are struggling to get started. In this architectural session, we'll step into the shoes of Contoso Beverage Company as we explore some of the different options available for tackling our data science needs. Dig out your compass and lace up your boots, because the world of data science just got a whole lot bigger!

Session Materials:

Presenter: Brad Llewellyn is a Senior Data Science Consultant at Syntelli Solutions in Charlotte, NC. Brad helps individuals and organizations unravel the Data Science world in order to figure out how it can work for them. He has an M.S. in Statistics from the University of South Carolina, MCSE Certification in Data Management and Analytics, MCSE Certification in Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, and MCSA Certification in Machine Learning. Brad is an active blogger at He also an organizer for the Charlotte BI Group, a local PASS chapter in Charlotte, NC. You can connect with him on LinkedIn at and on Twitter @BreakingBI.

May 2018: Azure Stream Analytics and Power BI

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Meeting Date:  Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Topic: Azure Stream Analytics and Power BI

Session Description: Azure Stream Analytics enables you to take advantage of one of the leading business intelligence tools, Microsoft Power BI. In this session, we will learn how to use Azure Stream Analytics to analyze high-volume, streaming data. We will also use Power BI to create a real-time dashboard that will transform the live data into actionable and insightful visuals.

Presenter: Richard is a 25+ year software development and technology professional living in Huntersville, NC. His experience includes the design and development of small to enterprise class applications. For the last 10 years, he has focused on web based applications, and that is where his passion lives. He currently serves as Director of Engineering at SentryOne. Because of his technical community work, Richard received the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award and the Progress (Telerik) Developer Expert designation.When not developing software, he is focused on spending time with his wife Shondrecca and their five children (Richard III, Ayanna, David, Jonathan, and Stephen).

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April 2018: Moving Past What's Holding You Back - Steps to Career Success

Meeting Date:  Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Topic: Moving Past What's Holding You Back - Steps to Career Success

Session Description: You are a talented IT practitioner. You have unique skills and are appreciated by your team. And, you want to move forward, to take the next step in your career. So how do you prepare? What can you do now to make sure you are considered for and are offered great opportunities? You take 3 critical steps for success. In this session, Paula explains how to step up, set yourself apart and propel yourself forward.

Presenter: Paula Guilfoyle is a speaker, trainer and Executive Coach. Her passion is helping people succeed and companies profit. As the Founder and President of Claim Leadership she is an expert on thinking and behavioral change that transforms teams and cultures. Paula has spent nearly 20 years in corporate life and held numerous sales and human resources management positions for Fortune 500 companies, including GE and Aventis. She has a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology and Human Resources from The University of New York at Albany and is certified as a Coach by the International Coach Federation.

March 2018: Analysis Services Functional Showdown


Meeting Date:  Tuesday, March 6, 2018 

Topic: Analysis Services Functional Showdown 

Session Description: It's a CUBE SHOWDOWN! Not everyone will be familiar with SQL Server Analysis Services, but chances are you've interacted with some version of it. I'd like to provide a guided tour where we'll compare and contrast how to build similar functionality into both versions of Analysis Services (Tabular and Multidimensional)! Today, we're seeing much more development and investment in Analysis Services Tabular, but there are still features of the Multidimensional engine that Microsoft is still migrating and perfecting. If you've spent any time with either service directly within SQL Server, through Power BI Desktop, or using Power Pivot in Excel, come and see how they compare when building complex models and structures. We'll look at many-to-many dimensions, row-level security implementation, scoped measurement behavior, and loading performance.

Session Materials: SSAS Comparison

Presenter: Vincent Staropoli is a Solution Architect for BlueGranite, Inc. with over 15 years of experience architecting, leading, and implementing enterprise BI and Advanced Analytics solutions. He specializes in helping clients understand how to effectively leverage on-premise, Cloud, and hybrid data strategies. Vincent’s areas of expertise include solution architecture, training and adoption, Big Data, data warehouse design, and dimensional modeling.

Feb 2018: Annual "Beers and BI" Social Event

Our 5-year anniversary of launching CBIG. This was a fun night of casual conversation about BI, data, analytics. We call this "Beers and BI" but you don't have to drink beer! Appetizers and drinks will be provided by the CBIG group.

**Special thanks to Melinda Kaiser for helping with event planning & organization. 

Date:  Tuesday, February 13, 2018, 6pm to 8pm

Location: Selwyn Pub


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Jan. 2018: So What? Using Visual Stories to Drive Action

Meeting Date:  Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Topic: So What? Using Visual Stories to Drive Action 

Session Description: The typical graph in a business presentation often leads our audience wondering... so what? When the “so what” isn’t succinctly answered through effective visuals and story, it can lead our audience to ask for more data, more data, and more data. Join this short session, where Elizabeth Ricks illustrates how to avoid analysis paralysis by turning a typical business graph into an effective visualization weaved into a story. You’ll leave the session with a better understanding of the power of telling stories with data and practical tips you can immediately put into practice for greater impact when communicating in a data-driven way.

Speaker Bio: Elizabeth Ricks has a passion for good data visualization, information design and storytelling. She’s spent her career in various analytical roles in the pharmaceutical, retail, manufacturing and financial services industries where all of her roles have had one common theme: analyzing information and communicating it to stakeholders. Elizabeth has a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and a Master’s Degree in Business Analytics and in her career has touched the entire analytical process from gathering, cleaning, organizing, modeling and analyzing data and now spends her time teaching others on the often-ignored (and arguably most important piece!): communicating data to drive action.  She works as a consultant for Storytelling with Data and is based in Charlotte, NC.

Dec. 2017: Operationalizing R Using SQL Server 2016

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Meeting Date:  Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Topic: Operationalizing R Using SQL Server 2016

Session Description: R is one of the most popular statistical programming languages in the world. SQL Server R Services extends into the enterprise environment. In this session, you will learn the following:

  1. Introduction to R

  2. Functional Programming

  3. Migrating R code to SQL Server

  4. Producing R Plots from SQL Server

Speaker Bio: Kiran Math is a Software Engineer on the Construction Predictive Analytical team at Fluor, where he specializes in T-SQL, R, Python, C# etc. A resident of Greenville, South Carolina, he can be found cycling and hiking the trails around Greenville. He is active in his local SQL PASS chapter in Greenville, speaking and volunteering at SQL Saturdays.

Nov. 2017: What is Power BI?

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Meeting Date:  Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Topic: What is Power BI?

Session Description: You’ve heard all the buzz about Power BI, but you have no idea what it is or how it works. This session explains what Power BI is, who can use it and why you would want to. It’s an introductory session that gives you the information you need to determine if Power BI is right for you and your organization.

Speaker Bio: Angela is a DBA/BI Developer, living in High Point, NC and loves what she does. She's worked with all versions of SQL Server & worn all the hats that come with dealing with SQL Server throughout the years: developer, administrator, data architect and BI developer. She earned her MSCE: Business Intelligence in 2015. She volunteers with PASS in various capacities, ranging from Program Committee to cleanup at local SQL Saturday events. She is also the chapter leader for the PASS Triad SQL User Group in Greensboro, NC. In her spare time you can probably find her in the pool, she's an avid US Masters swimmer.

Oct. 2017: Performance Tuning Your ETL Processes

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Meeting Date:  Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Topic: Performance Tuning Your ETL Processes

Presentation Materials:

MSDN Article Mentioned During the Session:

Have a Follow-Up Question for Shannon? Post it here:

Session Description: When dealing with Integration Services (SSIS) and SQL Server you have four resources: CPU, Memory, I/O and Network. Learning how to maximize those resources takes time and experimentation. Lucky for you, I've put in years trying multiple strategies for getting the most out of my instances. In this session, I'll share tuning techniques you'll be able to apply the very next day!

Speaker Bio: For over 15 years Shannon Lowder has been spotting patterns and learning ways to work smarter instead of harder. He started with development and moved into database administration. Using T-SQL, Database Jobs and PowerShell, he automated himself out of contracts quickly. As Business Intelligence became a greater demand, he moved into SSIS, SSRS, and SSAS development. Early on, he tried using PowerShell and .Net to automate BI Development. Later those efforts turned to Biml. After founding a startup six years ago, he finds himself a data platform consultant, designing and guiding other professionals to build highly automated enterprise solutions. Today, he is a Biml Hero, one of eight data professionals certified to automate your data warehouse development using Business Intelligence Markup Language.

Sept. 2017: MS SQL Server 2016: Evaluating Columnstore Index Table Loads with Power BI

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Meeting Date:  Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Topic: MS SQL Server 2016: Evaluating Columnstore Index Table Loads with Power BI

Session Description: With MS SQL Server 2016, a clustered columnstore index can support nonclustered rowstore indexes. Because of this, a variety of OLAP and OLTP workloads can now take place. However, before users can access the respective data, developers need to load the data.

Speaker Bio: Scott Fountain is an application engineer with Wells Fargo. His focus involves ETL automation and business intelligence. Since 2010, he has developed solutions for manufacturing, education, agriculture, and finance. He holds an MCSA in SQL 2016 Database Administration and an MCSE in Data Management and Analytics.

Aug. 2017: Microsoft Flow - What Is It and How Can I Use It?

Meeting Date:  Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Topic: Microsoft Flow - What Is It and How Can I Use It?

Session Description: Microsoft Flow is a cloud-based workflow service that allows users to automate a wide variety of business processes. This presentation will cover the basics of Microsoft Flow and how it can be used to communicate between your favorite apps and services including Approval Processes, Notifications, and synchronization of data. There will be a demo integrating Power BI and Flow as a simple example of how the two technologies might be used together.

Speaker Bio: Brian Gregor is a Senior Development Consultant at Microsoft Corporation in Charlotte, NC. His experience has spanned technologies such as personal desktop operating systems through Enterprise Internet Platforms. Through his 23 years of tenure in Microsoft Services his passion has always been and will always remain with the customer. Currently his work involves helping customers make the most out of Microsoft technologies (and sometimes non-Microsoft) through development efforts.

July 2017: Tales from Building a SQL Server Data Warehouse in Azure

Meeting Date:  Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Topic: Tales from Building a SQL Server Data Warehouse in Azure

Session Description: In this session, we share our experiences and lessons learned from a recent migration to Azure for a SQL Server data warehousing environment. We begin with sharing our reasoning for running SQL Server in a VM vs. Azure SQLDB vs. Azure SQLDW. We will review our carefully-selected naming conventions, and how we structured development, test, and production within subscriptions and resource groups. Throughout the session we'll cover key decisions to be made during planning and setup, and a few gotchas to watch out for.

Presentation Materials:

Speaker Bio: Melissa Coates is the Lead Analytics Architect with SentryOne (SQL Sentry LLC) in Charlotte, NC. She specializes in delivering analytics, data warehousing, and business intelligence solutions using on-premises, cloud, and hybrid technologies.  Formerly a CPA, Melissa is ridiculously proud to be an IT geek and downright giddy to be a Microsoft Data Platform MVP.  When Melissa steps away from the keyboard, you can probably find her hanging out with her border collie, paddle boarding, or playing in the garden.  Melissa blogs at

June 2017: Azure Machine Learning: Making Data Science Easy(er)

Meeting Date:  Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Topic: Azure Machine Learning: Making Data Science Easy(er)

Session Description: There's a ton of buzz around Data Science and Machine Learning. What is it? What can we do with it? Do I have to learn a new language or tool? In this presentation, we'll walk through a simple example of how to use Azure Machine Learning to predict the prices of automobiles. During this presentation, we'll see how easy it is to (1) Set up an Azure Machine Learning workspace, (2) Clean up our data for modeling, (3) Train and Evaluate a predictive model and (4) Publish this model as an easily consumable web service.

Speaker Bio: Brad is a Data Scientist at Valorem in Charlotte, NC. He has an M.S. in Statistics from the University of South Carolina and an MCSE Certification in Data Management and Analytics. He is currently working on an MCSE Certification in Cloud Platform and Infrastructure. At Valorem, Brad's role involves educating clients and colleagues about Microsoft Data Science offerings, as well as how to fully utilize these offerings to solve business problems. Brad is an active blogger at You can connect with him on LinkedIn at and on Twitter @BreakingBI.

May 2017: Business Intelligence in SQL Server 2016

Meeting Date:  Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Topic: Business Intelligence in SQL Server 2016

Session Description: For those of us who work as Data or Business Intelligence Professionals, the release of SQL Server 2016 included a treasure trove of new features and capabilities. From using R inside SQL Server, to mobile-ready dashboards in Reporting Services, to the ability to capture data changes without using Change Data Capture. This release, and even later Service Packs, have brought us closer to the Cloud, enabled Big Data technology exploration, and raised the bar for the industry. During this discuss, we’ll review nearly all the new Business Intelligence features in SQL Server 2016 and put on our spelunking gear to dive into a few. Deep dive topics will include understanding the new Reporting Services portal, understanding the updated SSIS architecture, and how to incorporate R code into your analysis. Lastly, we’ll take a look at deploying Power BI reports to an on premise instance of Reporting Services! This is new functionality currently in technical preview, but we’re all excited for this to get rolled out!

Speaker Bio: Vincent Staropoli is the Data Practice Manager for Cardinal Solutions in Charlotte, NC. Focused on enabling business to make better decisions, he holds several Microsoft Certified Solution Expert designations for the Data Platform and Business Intelligence. He is active in the technical community and is passionate about all things data. Connect via LinkedIn ( or Twitter (@vstaropoli).

April 2017: Kafka for Real-Time Data Ingestion with .NET

Meeting Date: Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Topic: Kafka for Real-Time Data Ingestion with .NET

Session Description: Apache Kafka is a distributed publish-subscribe messaging system which can scale out to handle millions of messages per second.  In this talk, we will cover the basics of this powerful system, including general architectural and design principles.  We will also build a .NET project which uses Kafka to produce and consume messages quickly and efficiently.

Speaker Bio: Kevin Feasel is a Data Platform MVP and Engineering Manager of the Predictive Analytics team at ChannelAdvisor, where he specializes in T-SQL and R development, fighting with Kafka, and pulling rabbits out of hats on demand. He is the lead contributor to Curated SQL ( and a contributing author to Tribal SQL ( A resident of Durham, North Carolina, he can be found cycling the trails along the triangle whenever the weather's nice enough.

March 2017: The Four Levels of Thinking as a Geek Leader

Meeting Date:  Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Topic: The Four Levels of Thinking as a Geek Leader - What HR Doesn’t Tell You About Success

Session Description: As a highly technical expert, you have been successful because of your expert skills. People hire and promote you because of your talent and ability to solve hard problems. This is true. It's also not enough. What no one tells you is that you're only looking at one of the three factors that lead to career success. In this session, you will:

  • Learn the other two factors (and what you should do about them)

  • Learn the four levels of thinking needed to be an expert who leads

  • Assess where you are in each of the areas

  • Identify at least 2 practical things that you can do to improve your influence, get more support for your ideas and projects and gain more respect as a professional

Speaker Bio: Tom started his career as a computer science geek who spent a couple of decades in software and IT initiatives in companies from startups to Fortune 500 companies, leading up to being the VP of Products for a SaaS Big Data software company in the Telecom market. Today Tom is a speaker, trainer and coach helping clients communicate clearly, delegate effectively and manage conflict well. As the father of 7 kids, Tom has had lots of opportunity to fail at leadership, and today he will share about how he had to adjust his thinking as he became a leader of technology experts.

Session Materials:

Feb 2017: Use Biml to Automate SSIS Design Patterns

Meeting Date: Feb 7, 2017

Topic: Use Biml to Automate SSIS Design Patterns

Session Description: Perhaps you’ve heard the buzz about Business Intelligence Markup Language (Biml) and wondered, “Why is everyone so excited about Biml?” Occasionally, a new technology emerges that changes everything. For SSIS developers, Biml is one such technology. Business Intelligence Markup Language (Biml) is a powerful solution for rapidly creating SSIS packages and solutions. SSIS Design Patterns support various load profiles. Combined, Biml and SSIS Design Patterns offer a compelling solution for automating enterprise data integration.

Speaker Bio: Andy Leonard is a Data Philosopher at Enterprise Data & Analytics, an SSIS Trainer, Consultant, developer of the Data Integration Lifecycle Management (DILM) Suite, a Business Intelligence Markup Language (Biml) developer and BimlHero; SQL Server database and data warehouse developer, community mentor, engineer, and farmer. He is a co-author of SQL Server Integration Services Design Patterns, and the Stairway to Integration Services.

Jan 2017: Annual Social Event (aka "Beers and BI")

Join us to celebrate the 4th anniversary of the CBIG group which launched in Jan. 2013.  At this event we'll have casual and fun conversations about BI, data, analytics and get to know each other a little better. 

Location: Taco Mac, 4625 Piedmont Row Drive, Charlotte, NC 28210 (next to Southpark Mall)

December 2016: Effectively Deploying Power BI

Topic: Effectively Deploying Power BI

Abstract: It is generally a mistake to think that simply buying a license and handing it off to users will be enough to enable Self Service BI. Companies are discovering that planning Power BI rollouts are important to realize the expected value. This session will provide an overview of the different roles Power BI can play at an organization, how should teams use it and how to foster and measure adoption.

Presenter: Javier Guillen is a Principal for BlueGranite.  As an active blogger, speaker, and Microsoft community contributor, Javier is particularly interested in SQL Server Analysis Services technology, including Multidimensional and Tabular models, as well as the practical application of MDX and DAX patterns.

November 2016: SQL Server 2016 and PolyBase

Topic:   SQL Server 2016 and PolyBase

Abstract: This session will focus on the brand new SQL Server 2016 feature called PolyBase. PolyBase is a technology that accesses and combines both non-relational and relational data, all from within SQL Server. It allows you to run queries on external data in Hadoop or Azure blob storage. The queries are optimized to push computation to Hadoop. In this session, you will learn how to install and set up PolyBase, and how to use it once you've got it configured.

Presenter: Sean Werick is a principal consultant for Pragmatic Works.  He has been in the data industry for 15 years, focusing on the Microsoft data platform, both on-premises and in the cloud. He has architected, developed and integrated end to end solutions for customers in various sectors including finance, government, health care, and retail. He is extremely passionate about data, data science, and business intelligence. He believes in impacting businesses in a meaningful way through data.

October 2016: Practical PowerShell for SQL & BI Developers

Topic:   Practical PowerShell for SQL & BI Developers

Abstract:  PowerShell is always something you heard about and wanted to use but never did! Starting with the resources available for a PowerShell newbie, we will advance to what pro's use to automate their database activities and beyond, for both DBA's and developers. The goal of this session is to get you immersed in PowerShell. Ask questions and learn how PowerShell can enable you and more importantly do your job for you (the way, future is heading). We will also look at free libraries and tools to help you advance your automation abilities. Common automation scenarios is the theme! Anything done with clicks can be automated.

Presenter: Jana Sattainathan works as a Senior Oracle and SQL Server DBA at SCOR, a leading Reinsurance company in the world. He has spent most of his professional life around databases. At work, he has automated most aspects of his job using PowerShell. Most recently, he created PowerPump, a “PowerShell Database Copy Server” for his company to copy 50 billion rows (>20 TB,) from 4000+ of Oracle/SQL Server tables on a recurring basis to SQL Server targets for migration/testing.

September 2016: SSAS Aggregation Overview

Topic:   SSAS Aggregation Overview

Abstract:  The presentation will start with overview of the SSAS object hierarchy: DB,Cube, Measure Groups, Dimensions, Partitions.  Aggregations will be introduced next with an overview, their design, impact on query performance and processing times.  Relationship to Measure Groups and Dimensions will be covered next followed by aggregation invalidation and processing options.   The presentation will finish with the topic of detecting both missing and unused aggregation as well as some advanced concepts around the use of "Process Default" options with partially invalidated aggregations. Q&A will be handled throughout the session. 

Presenter: Constantin Ivanov graduated with triple Major in Accounting, Finance, and Computer Science.  He achieved his MSCD and MSCE certifications back in 1995; later on, he added MCDBA, and MCT.  For 15 years, he worked for Microsoft as a Software Architect.  During that time, he participated in over 400 MS SQL Performance Tuning Labs and assisted the MS SQL Product group with enhancing the products. He also delivered BI training as well as assisted ISV's with designing and implementing their products.  After Microsoft, Constantin worked for three years as a Principal BI Architect for  JDA. During that time he designed large scale SSAS cube implementation.   He is also the co-founder of the Charlotte-local BI company: Enterprise Software Solutions.  He also has a very strong expertise in .Net/C# and HTML5/JScript. 

August 2016: Panel Discussion

Topic:   Panel discussion: Time to re-assess your BI & Analytics investment?

Abstract:  Business intelligence & Analytics (BI&A) programs includes people, skills, processes, metrics, technologies and other components. With all these moving parts and an ever-changing technology landscape, the architecture, along with the processes and skills needed to support it, would need to evolve.

But are they evolving? How can we assess the performance of our investment in BI&A? How can we identify gaps and addressed them?

Join us in this panel discussion with leading professionals from well-known companies across the region to address these and other related topics you may have. 

July 2016: How to Define a Big Data Project

Topic:   How to define a Big Data project – A practical use case

Abstract: If you have been around technology for more than a few years, you would probably have seeing the term Big Data spreading like a forest fire to pretty much everything. By know, you already understand the basic concepts, but is it really all Big Data when you define a project or a technology need? 
On this presentation you are going to see a practical use case, the way it was thought out and designed and its implementation. It will also be time for an open discussion on the subject.   

Presenter: Hugo Carreras is the principal and founder of HCT International He has over thirty years of information technology and management experience specialized on Data Management, Data Warehouse, BI, Analytics and Big Data. Hugo served Fortune 500 organizations in several industries, including finance, transportation, telecommunications, public sector, and manufacturing. Hugo obtained a Master degree in Computer Science from the University of Miami, Florida and a MS and BS degree in Information Systems at University of Belgrano, Buenos Aires. He graduated at Harvard Management School Executive Program. He is also is a certified project management professional, PMP. 

June 2016: Building Blocks of Cortana Intelligence Suite in Azure

Topic:   Building Blocks of Cortana Intelligence Suite in Azure

Abstract: 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.

Presenter:  Melissa Coates is a business intelligence developer based in Charlotte, NC. As a solution architect with BlueGranite, she specializes in delivering BI and data warehousing solutions using corporate and self-service BI tools. Formerly a CPA, Melissa is ridiculously proud to be an IT geek and downright giddy to be a SQL Server MVP. When Melissa steps away from the laptop, you can probably find her hanging out with her border collie on a paddle board. Melissa blogs at

Session materials:

May 2016: SQL Server 2016 Business Intelligence

Topic:   SQL Server 2016 Business Intelligence:  What's New?

Abstract: With SQL Server 2016, you are going to fall in love with SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) all over again. If you never liked SSRS, now is the time to give it a second chance! Enhancements include support for modern browsers, mobile reports, KPIs, new SSRS web portal plus a LOT more.   Along with SSRS, other BI products in SQL Server 2016 have evolved significantly.  SQL Server 2016 truly offers a comprehensive, on-premises, enterprise-ready BI platform that will help you to transform complex data into actionable insights.

In this session, we will explore the enhancements that make SQL Server Reporting Services great again. We will also explore key enhancements on SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS) Tabular model.  Additionally, we will take a look at the improved toolset for BI solution development and administration.   For a complete list of all the new features in SQL Server 2016, refer -

Presenter:  Sajas Salahuddeen works for Microsoft Corporation. In his role as a Premier Field Engineer, he provides proactive and reactive support to Microsoft Premier customers on SQL Server products.  He loves working on all the products in the SQL Server product stack and is equally comfortable troubleshooting SQL performance issues, implementing High Availability & Disaster Recovery using SQL Server Always On or building compelling data models & insights using the BI products.

April 2016: The BI Platform Tree of Life

Topic:   The BI Platform Tree of Life: How a greater understanding of your IT landscape can sweeten the fruits of your labor.

Abstract: As a BI Professional, are you aware of the segments of your infrastructure that underpin your development/analysis? Have you ever wondered if there are improvements that can be made in order to ensure that the results of your efforts are reflective of the true body of work capable of environment in which you work? These issues exist within not only internal IT departments but for those working on independent projects that want to ensure top performance for their clients.

In this session we will discuss how each of the components of IT infrastructure ultimate impacts how the tools within the BI platform can perform. We will also discuss how your awareness of these components and the various configurations available can empower you to contribute more to the efforts of the respective IT team. Doing so will ensure peak performance of the end product and present a tangible value add from a personal development perspective, whether you are responsible for ETL, BI Semantic Model development, or Reporting.

Presenter:  Bryan Maynard is a Microsoft SQL Server Database Administrator and Business Intelligence Developer. He started working with the SQL Server product in 2003 as a data analyst when his company at the time was just upgrading from SQL 7 to SQL Server 2000 and has not let it go since.  He currently holds an active MCSA certification, with the ambition of completing my MCSE in both BI and the Data Platform in 2016.

February 2016: Top 5 Tricks to Optimize Excel Query in SSAS

Topic: Top 5 Tricks to Optimize Excel Query in SSAS

Abstract:   After developing a cube, a BI developer may assume users will do their best to query it efficiently.   In reality, users may end up creating highly inefficient pivot tables, triggering complaints the technology did not deliver in its promise of speedy reporting.

This session will provide an overview of useful techniques designed to optimize Excel pivot table performance against Tabular models.  These techniques can enhance the user experience and provide a way to better align with user expectations.

Presenter: Javier Guillen architects, develops and delivers Business Analytics solutions with a strong adherence to best practice patterns. His main focus is dimensional modeling, SQL Server Analysis Services, MDX & DAX, PowerPivot, Tableau, Data Science, R and Hadoop. Javier is the co-founder and co-organizer of the Charlotte Business Intelligence user Group (CBIG), as well as BI blogger, speaker and forum contributor.

Presentation Materials

January 2016:  3rd Annual Anniversary Celebration

Location:  Olde Mecklenburg Brewery

Theme:  Beers & BI!  Join us to celebrate CBIG's THREE year anniversary!  To celebrate, join your fellow BI peers for some casual conversation about BI, data, analytics and whatever else is on your mind!  We call this "Beers and BI" but you don't have to drink beer!  CBIG will provide some light appetizers and 2 drink tickets for each person.

December 2015

Topic:  SQL Server 2016 On-Premises Business Intelligence Tool New Features

Speaker:   Jessica Moss

Business intelligence developers and users everywhere are happily anticipating new updates to the on-premises business intelligence tools for SQL Server.  With the full release of SQL Server 2016 around the corner, Microsoft has released several preview versions of the on-premises tools.  Based on these previews, we can expect to see updates in Reporting Services, such as customizable parameters, mobile reports, and new chart types.  Integration Services also boasts new changes, such as incremental package deployment, better error handling, and new logging levels.  Finally, Analysis Services has additional features, including new DAX functions and extended event viewing.  This session will cover these new items and more in an interactive and demo-heavy presentation.

Jessica M. Moss is a well-known architect, speaker, author, and Microsoft MVP of SQL Server business intelligence.  Jessica's expertise includes data warehouse modeling, Integration Services ETLs, Analysis Services semantic modeling, Reporting Services report design, and helping customers across industries successfully implement and enhance their business intelligence solutions.  Jessica enjoys sharing her knowledge across the world, speaks regularly at user groups, code camps, and conferences, and has co-authored numerous technical books.  You can read more on her website:

November 2015

Presentation Topic:  The need of Emotional Intelligence (EI) in Business Intelligence (BI)
Speaker:  Javier Guillen  

Abstract: As new technology cycles emerge, we find ourselves immersed in a growing diversity of tools and infrastructures.  However, success in Business Intelligence sometimes depends less on engineering sophistication and more in our capacity to increase adoption. Realizing the two are not always correlated is key.  Too often we see adoption issues that account for partial or complete failure on expensive BI programs. In this presentation, attendees will learn about a perspective that can help increase chances of BI success by increasing trust and collaboration among I.T. and the business.

Javier Guilllen architects, develops and delivers Business Analytics solutions with a strong adherence to best practice patterns. His main focus is dimensional modeling, SQL Server Analysis Services, MDX & DAX, PowerPivot, Tableau, Data Science, R and Hadoop. Javier is the co-founder and co-organizer of the Charlotte Business Intelligence user Group (CBIG), as well as BI blogger, speaker and forum contributor.


August 2015

Presentation Topic:   Exploring Power BI and Cortana Analytics Suite
Speaker:  Jen Underwood

In this session, we will dive deeper into the recent Power BI and Cortana Analytics Suite announcements. We will introduce Cortana Analytics Suite and then dig into the Power BI cloud, Power BI Desktop, Developer APIs, D3.js custom data visualizations and many other areas.  The latest Power BI enhancements were influenced by over 500,000 unique users from 45,000 companies across 185 countries that participated in the global preview. These technologies are gaining market momentum. Please join me in this not-to-miss session to enjoy an open conversation on where Power BI is heading and see a few “bleeding edge” demos.

Jen Underwood is a a Microsoft Sr Program Manager of Business Intelligence & Analytics.   She works with external groups, customers, channel partners, MVP's, BI professionals and application developers to better connect the outside world to engineering.  She also held roles as an Enterprise Data Platform Specialist and a Business Intelligence Consultant for Big 4 system integration firms.  Throughout most of her 20 year career, she has been researching, designing and implementing data warehousing, business intelligence and predictive analytics solutions.  

July 2015

Presentation Topic:  SSIS Data Flow Performance Patterns
Speaker:   Andy Leonard

Use these patterns to improve SSIS 2014 Data Flow performance in your data integration enterprise: Incremental Loads, Blob Pyramid, and Type 2 New + Updated Rows.

Andy Leonard is Chief Servant Officer of Linchpin People, an SSIS Trainer and Consultant, SQL Server database and Integration Services developer, SQL Server data warehouse developer, community mentor, blogger, and engineer. He is a co-author of SSIS Design Patterns and Managing Geeks. His background includes VB and web application architecture and development; and SQL Server 2000-2014.

June 2015

Spotlight Sponsor:  SQLSentry

Presentation Topic:    Why Choose Hadoop?
Speaker:  Kevin Goode

Presentation Slides/Materials

This session will present Inmar's implementation of the Lambda architecture and how Hadoop and NoSQL are core components to providing real-time analytics to a data driven enterprise.  Inmar processes 2.3 billion coupons, 700 million pharmacy claims and 525 million returned goods annually for over 100,000 retail locations and 9000 manufacturers. In 2012, we made the strategic decision to hire a leading data scientist and use our transactional data across all lines of business to perform analytics and generate new data products in order to become strategic partners with our clients. This session covers the technologies and vendors we evaluated, our current architecture and why we selected each component. The presentation will also cover Inmar's implementation of the Lambda architecture, what worked and didn't work for us and where we are going next.

Kevin Goode is the Director of Platform Engineering at Inmar. He has 19 years of IT experience; 17 years of which has been focused on relational databases and the past 3 years have been focused on Big Data, Hadoop and NoSQL. He has worked in many industries including manufacturing, distribution and logistics, financial services, IT outsourcing and has worked for several fortune 500 companies.

May 2015

Spotlight Sponsor:  Intellinet

Presentation Topic:  Continuous Delivery for Data Warehouses & Marts
John Welch

Presentation Slides/Materials

Most data warehouses are in a constant state of flux. There are new requirements coming in from the business, updates and improvements to be made to existing data and structures, and new initiatives that drive new data requirements. How do you manage the complexity of keeping up with the changes and delivering new features to your business users in a timely manner, while maintaining high quality? Continuous delivery is an approach for managing this. It focuses on automation of many steps in the process, so that time is spent on adding new functionality, rather than repetitive steps. Attend this session and learn how Continuous Delivery can be applied to your data projects.

John Welch works at Pragmatic Works, where he manages the development of a suite of BI products that make developing, managing, and documenting BI solutions easier. John has been working with business intelligence and data warehousing technologies since 2001, with a focus on Microsoft products in heterogeneous environments. He is a Microsoft Most Valued Professional (MVP), author, and a frequent presenter on SQL Server BI topics. He also contributes to several open source projects, including SsisUnit, a unit testing tool for SSIS.

April 2015

Date:   Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Time:  5:30 pm to 7:30 pm

Spotlight Sponsor:  BlueGranite

Presentation Topic:  Securing the ETL Pipeline
Speaker:  Brian Kelly

We're going to look at typical ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) pipelines and consider the weak points an attacker might go after. Our goal in this isn't to cause FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt), but to discuss risks at each point, options for protecting the vulnerability, and what we've seen typically done (if anything). While this talk primarily focuses on Microsoft SQL Server, especially the database engine and SSIS, many of the points covered will be applicable to any solution set.

Brian Kelley is an author, columnist, and Microsoft SQL Server MVP focusing primarily on SQL Server security. He is a contributing author for How to Cheat at Securing SQL Server 2005 (Syngress), Professional SQL Server 2008 Administration (Wrox), and Introduction to SQL Server (Texas Publishing). Brian currently serves as a database administrator/ architect but has also worked as a infrastructure and security architect and incident response team lead.

March 2015

Date:   Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Time:  5:30 pm to 7:30 pm

Presentation Topic:  PowerBI as a Self-Service Platform

Power BI as a Self-Service BI Platform: Architecture, Use Cases, Strengths, and Shortcomings

Power BI is Microsoft’s newest solution to facilitate self-service business intelligence. In this session we will discuss which components of Power BI are associated with the cloud, Office 365, SharePoint on-premises, Excel, and the newly released Power BI Designer. Along with several demonstrations, we will discuss various ways Power BI can fit into an organization’s data delivery platform.

Melissa Coates is a Business Intelligence developer based in Charlotte, NC.  As a Solution Architect with BlueGranite, she specializes in delivering BI and Data Warehousing solutions using Corporate and Self-Service BI tools.  Formerly a CPA, Melissa is ridiculously proud to be an IT geek and downright giddy to be a SQL Server MVP.  When Melissa steps away from the laptop, you can probably find her hanging out with her border collie.  Melissa blogs at

February 2015:  Power Query: End Users and ETL Developers' Hug Day

Presentation Topic: Power Query:  End Users and ETL Developers' Hug Day

Speaker:  Rafael Salas  

Due to its complexity and rigid development cycles, traditional ETL processes are a costly element of information centric solutions. In many cases, end users grow in frustration as they are forced to wait for IT teams they know are "too slow", and processes that "miss the mark." Meanwhile, IT is battling what they perceive as an "unreasonable" number of requests coming from business users. IT and business don't look each other in the eye anymore.

This session will help address those concerns. You will learn how Power Query can be easily used to empower business users when discovering, combining, refining and publishing data while allowing IT to leverage self-service tools that fit in their overall architecture portfolio. We will use Power Query to show how business users can solve complex data  integration challenges that traditionally rely on IT driven technologies in a way that is intuitive and effective. As a bonus, you may get a free hug from a developer or an end user

January 2015:  Annual Anniversary Celebration

Location:  Dilworth Neighborhood Grille

Date:   Tuesday, January 20th

Theme:  Beers & BI!  Join us to celebrate CBIG's two year anniversary!  To celebrate, join your fellow BI peers for some casual conversation about BI, data, analytics and whatever else is on your mind!  We call this "Beers and BI" but you don't have to drink beer!  CBIG will provide some light appetizers and 2 drink tickets for each person.

December 2014

Speaker:  Justin Randall.  Justin is the Director of Professional Services at SQL Sentry, located in Charlotte, NC. With the perspective of nearly 30 years of data management experience, Justin leads a team that provides customers with mentoring, consulting and training services focused on SQL Server performance troubleshooting and optimization using SQL Sentry software. 

Presentation Topic:  Building Your Yellow Brick Road: Directing Your Path to a Successful Career.  

Presentation Description:  Most of us began our technology career through a combination of education, experience, and opportunity. In this presentation we will explore approaches to creating the career we want instead of the one we stumble into.

November 2014

Speaker:  Joe Dib is passionate about data! He spent his career, so far, manipulating data, working with databases, leading projects and managing (really mentoring) people. Joe has worked on all phases of Business Intelligence (BI) and Data Warehousing (DW) life cycle. He enjoys speaking (and teaching) on DW/BI strategic level topics as well as covering deep technical solutions. He has used various database platforms, many design methodologies, and different business intelligence tools.

Presentation Topic:  The Data Management Discipline (with a Focus on Data Warehousing).  We begin this session with a very brief yet important framework for data management. Then we explore the different aspects of the enterprise data management discipline. Finally, we delve into the different methodologies to design a data warehouse. We will talk about the Kimball, Inmon, & Data Vault methodologies. This is a high level conceptual talk (no coding) designed to help both developers and non-technical individuals to understand data management, data warehousing, and Business Intelligence disciplines. 

October 2014

No meeting in October due to SQL Saturday in Charlotte, sponsored by CBIG.

September 2014

Derrick Exum.jpg

Speaker:  Derrick Exum is a SQL Server and .NET enthusiast who enjoys learning from colleagues and industry leaders. Derrick is a Senior BI/ETL Developer at Sonic Automotive in Charlotte, a position he has held since 2011. He works on DW/BI projects and, since early 2013, has been working extensively with MDS and MDM. When not learning about Microsoft technologies, Derrick spends his time attending Butler HS football games and learning the piano.

Presentation Topic:  From MDM to MDS.  Have you ever wondered what MDM stands for and why you would use MDS?  Master Data Services is Microsoft's solution for a Master Data Management platform. This presentation will highlight a journey to MDM through MDS. It will touch upon:

  • Brief overview of Master Data Management (MDM)

  • What is Master Data Services (MDS)

  • Installation and Configuration of MDS

  • Gotchas to be aware of during installation

  • Useful system views created by MDS

  • Staging data best practices in MDS

  • Usage patterns for MDS

August 2014

Speaker #1:  Bill Carroll is a Sr. Escalation Engineer for Microsoft. He has worked for Microsoft for 15 years in Charlotte in the commercial support area. His primary expertise is Microsoft SQL Server, but has recently moved to supporting Microsoft’s Azure HDInsight (Hadoop) and Azure Machine learning. In his free time he enjoys the beach and watching moves with his wife and two daughters. 

Presentation Topic #1:  Introduction to Microsoft Azure Machine Learning.  This session will be an overview of Microsoft Azure Machine Learning also referred to as Azure ML ( Azure ML is currently in preview mode and provides data scientists with powerful cloud-based predictive analytics. In the session we will define some basic machine learning terms and attempt to predict survey results using Azure ML. We will show how to access training and test data and build experiments in Azure ML studio from a web browser. We will discuss the training, scoring, and evaluation of the model. We will then publish the model as a web service and attempt get a prediction from the web service from a C# application.

Speaker #2:  Leveat Ruse.  I currently develop effective recruitment strategies at MDI Group to attract top talent at all levels of an organization. I am an IBM certified trainer and began my career performance general Human Resources duties. I quickly worked my way up through the ranks to Business Development. My desire is to interact with others and help people achieve their goals and find the right career path.

Presentation Topic #2:  Building a Compelling IT Resume. In this session we will discuss tips and best practices to get activity from your resume.

July 2014


Speaker:  Patrick Keisler.  I'm a husband, a father, an Atlanta Braves fan, and oh yeah...I'm also a Microsoft SQL Server database administrator for a major investment bank, Wells Fargo Securities.  I have over 10 years of DBA experience and have gained considerable knowledge in SQL Server by supporting hundreds of applications ranging from high-volume trading applications to large data warehouses.

Presentation Topic:  Columnstore Indexes.  Have you heard about columnstore indexes? Maybe you've read about it, but not yet tested it? If you're developing or managing data warehouses, then the columnstore index is the biggest turbo button you'll ever get for your current hardware. Learn how SQL Server stores the data differently and how it uses new access patterns to retrieve data at blazing speeds. You'll see the difference between clustered and non-clustered columnstore indexes as well as the advantages and disadvantages of both.

June 2014

Speaker:  Shannon Lowder is a database architect and consultant with 14 years of experience in Microsoft SQL Server administration, performance tuning, and development. He specializes in designing highly available platforms and scalable data warehousing solutions including cloud-based solutions such as Microsoft Azure. In addition, he is well-versed in mentoring both DBAs and developers with respect to Microsoft technologies with regards to the day-to-day operational demands of small and mid-market companies and ensuring they are developing and instituting sound disaster recovery practices.

Presentation Topic:  Manage Your SSIS Packages with PowerShell.  We’ve all built ETL frameworks, and we’ve all learned things along the way that make them better.  So we have to go back and open all of those packages and update them so we keep them all following our standard.  That takes time, time we don’t have to spend.  Recently I’ve discovered SQLPSX, a set of modules for PowerShell that make it much easier to manage your frameworks.  From auditing your packages to get a list of all the variables used in all of your packages, to adding connection strings and executables, all this and more is now possible via PowerShell.  I’ll introduce you to the modules, as well as some of the problems I’ve hit along the way.  I even have something for those of you looking for a unit testing framework for SSIS.

Slides:  Manage Your ETL Framework with PowerShell

May 2014

Speaker:  Rafael Salas is a recognized speaker and published author with more than 15 years of experience in Business Intelligence and Information Architecture. He is the recipient of multiple industry recognitions, including the Microsoft MVP Award and The Data Warehouse Institute Best Practices Award. Rafael is an active member of the SQL Server technical community and blogs regularly at

Presentation Topic:   ETL: Avoiding Costly Mistakes. In this session we will review a list of common costly mistakes we make when designing and building ETL and data integration processes. We will also look at actionable recommendations to avoid these mistakes. 

You will get a checklist that you can use in your projects to ensure that the ETL processes include the capabilities that a solid data integration subsystem should have. After this session, you will be better prepared to assess the reliability of ETL solutions.

April 2014

Speaker:  Javier Guillen is a Solutions Architect for BlueGranite.  As an active blogger, speaker, and Microsoft community contributor, Javier is particularly interested in SQL Server Analysis Services technology, including Multidimensional and Tabular models, as well as the practical application of MDX and DAX patterns.

Presentation Topic:  Business Insight Through Cloud-Based Data Models. It is common for power users and data scientists to start mocking up their analysis in Excel.  As their reporting grows in sophistication, however, it is important to understand the options available to enable increasingly robust analytical capabilities without incurring high infrastructure costs during experimentation phases.

This session will explore promotion paths for Power Pivot models that mature to demand robust data transformations, as well as cleansing and master data procedures.  You will learn the pros and cons of using cloud-based Power Pivot environments, as well as the recommended architectures for model growth.

Slides: Business Insight Through Cloud-Based Data Models

March 2014


Speaker:  Brad Llewellyn is a Statistician, Data Miner, and Visualizations Expert for Mariner in Charlotte, NC. Brad enjoys his role as a consultant and loves the challenges it brings each day. He hopes to help bring Mariner and all of its clients fully into the world of Predictive Analytics.

Presentation Topic:  Data Mining with Excel and SQL Server Analysis Services.  Brad will discuss how to use Excel and SQL Server Analysis Services to uncover hidden information within your data.  Want to know which customers are going to buy your new product?  How about forecasting next year’s revenue?  You could even improve market share by improving upselling and cross-selling opportunities.  It’s all here, and much more.

February 2014


Speaker:  Letron Brantley.   SQL Server/OLAP Developer for Bank of America.  Letron is passionate about everything BI, has 15 years of IT experience, and holds an MCITP certification.  Letron is an active musician playing Sax and Bass, and is married with three wonderful kids.

Presentation Topic:  SQL Server 2012: Multidimensional vs. Tabular Model. Microsoft has given us two distinct models to choose from when creating solutions in SSAS.  There is the familiar Multidimensional model and the new Tabular model which was introduced in SQL Server 2012.  How do you know which one to choose?  Is one better than the other?  In this session we will attempt to answer these questions and discuss what we know about the future of Analysis Services.

Slides:  Multidimensional vs Tabular

January 2014

Social event at Duckworth's Grill and Tavern to celebrate CBIG's one year anniversary.

December 2013


SQLShot Speaker:  Brad Llewellyn is a Statistician, Data Miner, and Visualizations Expert for Mariner in Charlotte, NC. Brad enjoys his role as a consultant and loves the challenges it brings each day. He hopes to help bring Mariner and all of its clients fully into the world of Predictive Analytics.

Short "SQL Shot" Presentation:  Gaining More Insight out of Your Dashboards through Best Practices.  Brad will talk about a few simple ways to ramp up your analyses by applying best practices to your dashboards. 


Speaker:  Danni Ortman began her technical career as a trainer in Dayton, Ohio in 1992 then transitioned to a SQL Server consultant working on SQL 4.21, 6.0, and 6.5.  Danni started at Microsoft a few months before the SQL Server 7.0 release as a pre-sales technical resource specializing in BI and Data Warehousing covering the states of MI, OH, and KY. Since that time, Danni moved to many roles within Microsoft including account manager, account technology strategist, and productivity specialist for the retail/hospitality industry.  Danni relocated from Microsoft Cincinnati to Microsoft Charlotte in April of 2013 to undertake the challenging pre-sales technical role for the Carolina’s specializing in BI and Data Warehousing.  

Main Presentation Topic:  Power BI for Office 365.  Don’t just review the marketing slides on the internet, come see the products live.  With the newly released ‘Power BI’ for Office 365, Microsoft is providing everyone with powerful new ways to work with data in Excel and Office 365. Easily search, discover, and access data within and outside your organization and, with just a few clicks, shape and transform data. Analyze and create stunning interactive visualizations that uncover hidden insights to share and collaborate from anywhere, on any device.  During this session we will review the products that comprise the Power BI stack with demos and details on use cases for each product.

Slides:  Power BI for Office 365

November 2013


Speaker:  Andy Isley, BI Practice Manager for Scalability Experts.  Andy has 18 years of experience designing, managing and implementing data warehouses.  He has implemented data warehouses from small 5 GB to 100's TB.  His primary focus is business requirements, dimensional modeling, technical architecture designs, ETL design and implementation, reporting and analytics, and production support. Andy is a certified PDW instructor.  Andy has helped the MS COE develop best practices for implementing PDW.

Presentation Topic:  Is PDW Right for Your Organization? Microsoft has just released its latest version of PDW (Parallel Data Warehouse).  Many people have heard of it but few understand what it s or how they can benefit from it.  In this session we will discuss:

  • What is PDW?

  • How do you know if you need it?

  • What benefits will it provide to a BI solution?

This session will provide real world examples free of marketing hype.

October 2013


PASS Summit Preview Night



Jason Thomas:   Visualizing John Snow's Cholera Map Using Microsoft BI   Back in 1854, London was developing into one of the world's first modern cities, although without the essential sanitary infrastructures. This along with the increase in population made it the perfect breeding ground for many diseases, such as cholera. Around the same time, physician John Snow explored the correlation between diseases and contaminated water supplies and came up with one of the most famous maps in history. Relive the adventure of John Snow as we follow his journey in this session using Microsoft BI tools. As we recreate his map, we’ll also talk about the steps and best practices for exploring geospatial data.  


Melissa Coates:  So You Want to Be a Rockstar Report Developer? 

Don't settle for being an average report developer. We'll walk through the process end-to-end while discussing tips and best practices for SQL Server Reporting Services requirements gathering, development, deployment, testing, standardization, and documentation.  We will review techniques to increase report maintainability as well as save you time.

Audience participation and sharing of experiences is encouraged as we cover choices you have for data sets, sorting, grouping, filtering, calculations, parameters, deployment, and delivery. This session will focus primarily on SSRS 2012, although some concepts may apply to other BI tools as well. Join us for this session and take your reporting skills to the next level.


Rafael Salas:  Self-Service ETL and Power Query: Are We There Yet?

Have you determined the role that a self-service ETL tool could play in your organization? Self-service business intelligence technologies have gotten a lot of attention in the last few years, and capabilities have grown from data visualization to data discovery and enrichment. Power Query for Excel is Microsoft’s latest move in the self-service data-integration area. A free add-in for Excel 2010 and 2013, Power Query is receiving glowing reviews from BI pros and power users because of its friendly interface and rich capabilities.  

In this session, you’ll learn how Power Query for Excel can be used to discover, combine, and refine data. We’ll also look at some advanced functionality and the language used under the covers – M. After attending this presentation, you’ll be better prepared to support business users, understand how Power Query may fit into your organization’s BI landscape, and address potential risks of misguided implementations.


September 2013


Speaker:  Danni Ortman began her technical career as a trainer in Dayton, Ohio in 1992 then transitioned to a SQL Server consultant working on SQL 4.21, 6.0, and 6.5.  Danni started at Microsoft a few months before the SQL Server 7.0 release as a pre-sales technical resource specializing in BI and Data Warehousing covering the states of MI, OH, and KY. Since that time, Danni moved to many roles within Microsoft including account manager, account technology strategist, and productivity specialist for the retail/hospitality industry.  Danni relocated from Microsoft Cincinnati to Microsoft Charlotte in April of 2013 to undertake the challenging pre-sales technical role for the Carolina’s specializing in BI and Data Warehousing.  

Short Presentation Topic:  Power BI for Office 365

Short Presentation Description:  In July of 2013 Microsoft Announced Power BI for Office 365 which provides everyone with powerful new ways to work with data in Excel and Office 365. In this quick overview we will review the list of Power BI products with an explanation of uses as well as resources to find additional information.

Presentation Materials:  Power BI for Office 365


Speaker:  Ben DeBow is a consultant who works with customers of all sizes on their mission critical applications and SQL Server deployments. His versatility allows him to assist with everything from virtualization and consolidation to schema design, performance tuning, disk architectures, and everything in between. He has tuned and deployed some of the largest and most complex SQL Server solutions in the world. An active member of the SQL Server community, Ben is also an MCDBA, MCSE, and MCITP. He is also the co-founder of SQLHA with Allan Hirt, and can be reached at

Main Presentation Topic:  Developing Your Indexing Strategy

Main Presentation Description:  With rare exceptions, all databases have data that is accessed by users. The old adage “time is money” applies here – the sooner the user gets his or her results, the better. A key aspect of improving the performance of a query is ensuring that you have the right indexes on each table. Do you need a clustered index? Where will a covering index be appropriate? Do you even need an index at all for a small table? Could a columnstore index benefit my workload? Every indexing strategy is not only based on the right balance of indexes, but also knowing the code/schema and how people use the application to ensure that it is adjusted as things change over time. This session will cover the fundamentals of how to build an indexing strategy for your tables that will work today, tomorrow, and long into the future.

Presentation Materials:  Developing Your Indexing Strategy

August 2013


Speaker:  Steve Wake is a Sr. BI Consultant at Pragmatic Works with more than 20 years of experience in various IT organizations. Steve is a Microsoft Certified Professional with an MCSE in SQL Server 2012 Business Intelligence and MCITP in SQL Server 2008 Business Intelligence. Steve has experience in Manufacturing, Retail, Charities, Telecommunications and Financial Services organizations & switched to consulting to share/expand/teach on his experiences with Microsoft Business Intelligence. Steve is also very involved in the local community, speaking at events across the country and is currently President of the Denver SQL Server User Group. Steve blogs regularly at  and is on Twitter @stevewake, LinkedIn and Google+.

Presentation Topic:  Capture Change and Apply it with Change Data Capture & SSIS

Presentation Description:  Whether you are trying to setup a new data warehouse, keep it updated, audit changes to your databases or quickly load changes to another database, Change Data Capture (CDC) is a solution for all of these and can now be setup and supported easily with SQL Server & SSIS 2012! Change Data Capture (CDC) has been around since SQL Server 2008, but has been underused because it was difficult to fully implement. SSIS 2012 now provides support for CDC with new components that make consuming the captured data very easy to apply. This session will define what CDC is and with live demos show how it is setup on your databases. Once it has been setup then you need to consume and apply those changes, this will be demonstrated with live demos using SSIS 2012 to create packages that apply the changes.

Presentation Materials:  Steve's Blog


July 2013


Speaker:  Katherine Fraser has been working in the IT field since 1995, focusing on database modeling and development in multiple domains such as financial services, manufacturing, and logistics. In her current position as a BI technical fellow, she helps different product groups in her company design and build data stores and reports, analyze information and visualize data. Katherine has a Masters degree in Information Systems and has a weird passion for data storage and retrieval.  She is also co-leader for the Triad PASS BI chapter.

Presentation Topic:  Are Pie Charts Always Evil?  Information Design for Excel.

Presentation Description:  You just imported 5 million rows into PowerPivot. Now how do you make it look great in Excel 2013?  We'll look at the different chart types and visualization options, including Power View, and talk about how to use them effectively.  Following the recommendations of Edward Tufte, we'll build sample data views that achieve "graphic excellence" and avoid "chartjunk."  Learn how to choose the best chart type for your data, create hierarchies to enable aggregation, utilize cards and tiles and integrate images.  This session is all about using Excel to clearly display complex, multivariate data.

Slides:   Data Visualizations In Excel

Infographic Examples:  AAA Travel Forecast


                                     Healthcare Literacy

                                     Weather Forecast 

June 2013


Speakers:  Julie Smith and Rob Volk.  Julie Smith has spent the last 12 years bending data using varied tools such as MS Access, MySQL, and SQL Server 2000-2012. She is a Business Intelligence Consultant at Innovative Architects.  She is an active speaker, blogger and writer in the Microsoft SQL Server Community.   She is one of the co-founders of The Cloverleaf School of Atlanta, which educates elementary aged children with ADHD, High Functioning Autism and other learning differences.  In spite of being a SQL Server MVP, she remains “very simple woman with warm fuzzy secret heart.”   Rob Volk is a database administrator from the Atlanta, Georgia area, having worked in the wireless telecom, utility billing, and credit card processing industries for the past 10 years.  He started using SQL Server with version 6.5 and is very glad to have upgraded since then. He has presented at several SQL Saturdays and user groups. In his spare time he accomplishes more than he does on the job, just don't tell his boss. 

Presentation Topic:  Using Data Explorer + Other Tools for Data Assembly, Cleansing, Organization & Decision-Making

Presentation Description:  In this session we will cover the basics of using Data Explorer + other BI and event management tools using data from the SQL Saturday website.  We will look at lesser-known features like XML feeds, harvesting data from other websites, and social media sources.  We will use Business Intelligence tools such as the new Data Explorer to analyze this data and help guide decisions about speaker & session selection, sponsors, and pre-conference sessions.  Finally, we will look at other free tools like Yammer, Trello, and EventBrite and how they can help organize the details of an event.  If you've ever been frustrated managing an event or project via Excel and e-mail, you'll be pleasantly surprised! 

Slides:  Data Explorer

Excel Spreadsheet:  Data Explorer

May 2013


Speaker:  Joe Dib manages the Data Solutions Practice for Cardinal Solutions in Charlotte, NC. He spent his career, so far, manipulating data and working with databases.  Joe has worked on all phases of the Business Intelligence (BI) and Data Warehousing (DW) lifecycle. He enjoys speaking on DW/BI strategic level as well as covering deep technical solutions. Joe is a SQL Server convert. He worked on SQL Server early on in the career, moved on to other database and BI vendor platforms, then rediscovered SQL Server 2008 (and was sold on it!). 

Presentation Topic:  Overview of BI in SQL Server 2012

Presentation Description: A tour of SQL Server 2012 looking at different areas pertinent to Business Intelligence. This is a high level overview with some demonstrations. This session is perfect for managers and/or developers. We will also discuss how Microsoft tools of Excel, SharePoint, and SQL Server form the complete BI offering for self-service BI solutions and/or enterprise-wide BI platform.

Slides:  Overview of BI in SQL Server 2012

April 2013


"SQLShot" from Letron Brantley:  What is Big Data?  The Problem and Opportunity.  What is Hadoop?  How can Hadoop be used in conjunction with SSAS and other BI tools?  Presented by CBIG Member Letron Brantley, SQL Server/OLAP Developer for Bank of America.  Letron is passionate about everything BI, has 15 years of IT experience, and holds an MCITP certification.  Letron is an active musician playing Sax and Bass, and is married to Pamela with two wonderful kids (Jazzmin and Nathan) and one mystery child on the way.  (SQLShot is a 5-15 minute presentation.  Open to any CBIG member who wishes to "take a shot" at speaking.)

Slides:  Big Data / Hadoop / OLAP



 Roundtable Discussion Topic:  Corporate BI + Self Service BI: Friends or Foes?

Facilitated By:  Melissa Coates (BI Architect, Intellinet) & Javier Guillén (Senior Consultant, Mariner)

Description: This evening we plan to “step away from the keyboard” and consider a topic which is very relevant to today’s BI initiatives:  the relationship between Corporate BI and Self Service BI.  As companies attempt to find a proper balance between Corporate and Self Service BI, it is important to consider the obstacles, benefits, and solutions to achieve an optimal balance. 

We will review Microsoft's vision for an overall Business Intelligence framework which addresses analytical requests from both ends of the BI spectrum.  We will also discuss concepts in the context of the organization's need for data governance, change management, standardization, training, support, access of unregulated data sources, personal data exploration, among other challenges.

Slides:  Corporate BI + Self Service BI: Friends or Foes? 

March 2013


Speaker:  Jorge Segarra (aka SQLChicken) is an author, blogger, speaker, SQL Server MVP and community volunteer currently working as a DBA/BI Consultant for Pragmatic Works. Jorge has co-authored on several books including "SQL Server 2012 Bible" and “SQL 2008 Pro Policy-Based Management“. He was also a Redgate Exceptional DBA of the Year 2010 Finalist.

Topic:  What is a BI DBA?  (Business Intelligence Database Administrator)

Description: Have you ever read a job description (or needed to hire one yourself) asking specifically for a “BI DBA” and wondered what exactly that means? In this session we will discuss the expectations of the role, what the various pieces of the Microsoft BI stack are and what administrative components and gotchas are involved for each one. If you need to unveil the mysteries and intricacies of administrating an SSIS, SSAS and/or SSRS environment from a DBA perspective then check this session out!

Slides:  What is a BI DBA? 

February 2013


Speaker:  Bill Pearson, MVP.  Bill created Island Technologies Inc. in 1997, and has developed a large and diverse customer base since.  Bill's background as a CPA, Internal Auditor, Management Accountant and SQL Server MVP (BI) enable him to provide value to clients as a liaison between Accounting / Finance and Information Services.  Bill has implemented enterprise business intelligence systems over the years for many Fortune 500 companies, and focuses his practice upon the integrated Microsoft business intelligence solution.

Topic:   An Overview of PowerPivot for Excel

Session Description:  In this session, Microsoft BI Architect and SQL Server MVP Bill Pearson explores "Self-Service BI" as a concept.  He then provides a walkthrough of the primary features of PowerPivot, focusing on how we can exploit its capabilities to offer the benefits of BI to decision makes and analysts throughout our organizations.  "There is no service like self-service...."  This session applies equally to SQL Server an Analysis Services 2008, 2008R2, and 2012 Data Sources.  Objectives:  (1) Impact an understanding of Self-Service BI, including the advantages and challenges that accompany its introduction to the enterprise.  (2) Overview of the architecture and uses of PowerPivot for Excel 2010 within the organization to support Self-Service BI.  (3) Explore and demonstrate the assembly of data from diverse sources into models that deliver business intelligence upon demand, including exposure to accessing and relating data, and employing the Data Analysis Expressions (DAX) language, to construct PowerPivot applications that support analysis and reporting throughout the enterprise.


January 2013


Speaker:   Wayne Snyder - Wayne specializes in Business Intelligence Solutions, and is an international speaker, author, and PASS volunteer. He is a SQL Server MVP, co-author of Knight's 24 Hour SQL 2012 SSIS Trainer, and author of the popular Learnkey SQL Server Training series. He is a Distinguished Architect for Mariner (, who, on the weekend, sings and plays keyboards for the regional band soundbarrier (

Topic:   Information Visualization - What no one ever taught you about charts, graphs, and tables!

Session Description:  This session will provide you with some surprising and interesting insights into how dashboards should be designed. Called Information Visualization, there is a whole line of thinking which maps how the brain interprets what the eyes see. We will translate this into best (and worst) practices related to visualization in dashboard, scorecard, table, and report design. Both funny and informative, you will probably learn, as I did, that you have been designing your dashboards, scorecards and reports badly. We are going to take a visualization test, and learn how to convey information in a clearer, better way. You will be surprised.  Join me - this session is going to be hoot!

Slides:  Information Visualization