Following several weeks of miserable weather and washed out weekends, we finally had a glorious sunny Saturday. So what did I decide to do? Well, attend the SQLBits III conference of course!
Held at the excellent University of Hertfordshire campus, the event looked promising based on the agenda I had printed off a few days beforehand. As it was being held on a Saturday, I was half expecting a low turnout. I was pleasantly surprised to see a full car park, a very busy reception area, and several hundred like minded individuals.
I attended the BI session track. This covered a range of areas including Data Mining, Data Visualisation, the MS BI end-to-end stack, cube design issues and SSRS. The Data Mining session demonstrated how data mining techniques can be used within Excel spreadsheets without having to use cubes. Data visualisation covered many of the areas I have blogged about in the past, including Sparklines and bullet graphs. Delivered by a representative from XL Cubed, this was an interesting presenation.
This was followed by an excellent demonstration of MS technology delivering different types of reports into a Sharepoint front end. A lot of this was done of the fly and the speaker came across very well.
Users perception of reporting cubes were the topic of the next session. A number of cube issues were discussed in this session including time dimensions (YTD, QTD), scaling of data, etc. The presenter delivered a series of possible solutions to common cube design issues.
The final presentation was based on SSRS 2008 and covered some of the differences to SSRS 2005. Again, a handy session, although it did run out of it’s allocated time.
Regular refreshment breaks throughout the day, lunch at midday, and plenty of opportunities to speak to like minded people. I also managed to bump into a number of fellow bloggers including Chris Webb and Andrew Fryer. And the sponsor stands provided demos of their latest products.
The event was sponsored by Microsoft, Idera, Quest, XL and Hyperbac. I was particularlyl interested in the XL cubed product. XL cubed acquired Bonavista Systems and is now selling products which incorporate Sparkline and Bullet Graph technology into Excel. There was also a camera crew taking interviews with speakers and attendees throughout the day, so no doubt this will appear on a website at some stage.
An excellent event and very well attended. A big ‘Thank you’ must go out to the sponsors of the event, the organisers and the speakers (clearly idenitifed by their ‘Kermit’ polo shirts).
I’m looking forward to the next one!