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James Serra's Blog

James is currently a Senior Business Intelligence Architect/Developer and has over 20 years of IT experience. James started his career as a software developer, then became a DBA 12 years ago, and for the last five years he has been working extensively with Business Intelligence using the SQL Server BI stack (SSAS, SSRS, and SSIS). James has been at times a permanent employee, consultant, contractor, and owner of his own business. All these experiences along with continuous learning has helped James to develop many successful data warehouse and BI projects. James has earned the MCITP Business Developer 2008, MCITP Database Administrator 2008, and MCITP Database Developer 2008, and has a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Engineering. His blog is at .

Archives: March 2013

SQL Server 2012 Business Intelligence Enhancements

My first article in SQL Server Pro magazine has been published.  It is entitled “SQL Server 2012 Business Intelligence Enhancements” and can be found here.  I hope you enjoy it!

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4 comments, 519 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 28 March 2013

TFS vs SSIS project versioning

I had someone ask me the other day if they are using SSIS 2012 Project Versions, is there any benefit to using TFS?  The answer is Yes!  While Project Versions is a new feature that keeps prior versions of SSIS projects as they are deployed to the server… Read more

0 comments, 1,171 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 26 March 2013

Benefits of using views in a BI solution

Using SQL Server views throughout a Business Intelligence (BI) solution can provide a tremendous amount of benefits.  Here is a list of such benefits, taken in large part from the excellent video SQLBI Methodology by Marco Russo and Alberto Ferrari:

Benefit of views

  • Can be modified by anyone, even outside…

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0 comments, 367 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 19 March 2013

Why you need Business Intelligence

First lets define what Business Intelligence (BI) is.  My favorite definitions:

Forrester Research: “Business Intelligence is a set of methodologies, processes, architectures, and technologies that transform raw data into meaningful and useful information used to enable more effective strategic, tactical, and operational insights and decision-making.”

Gartner: “A broad category of… Read more

4 comments, 1,263 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 14 March 2013

Top BI Enhancements for SQL Server 2012 Presentation Slides

Thanks to everyone who attended my session “Top BI Enhancements for SQL Server 2012” at the Houston Area SQL Server User Group Monthly Meeting.

Here is the PowerPoint presentation: Top BI Enhancements for SQL Server 2012

Top BI Enhancements for SQL Server 2012

What are the new features and… Read more

0 comments, 637 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 13 March 2013

Parallel Data Warehouse (PDW) Version 2

Version 2 of Parallel Data Warehouse (PDW) is apparently due this month (and can be ordered as of March 1st).  The official name is Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Parallel Data Warehouse. Info on HP’s version: HP AppSystem for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Parallel Data Warehouse.  Here are some of… Read more

5 comments, 1,151 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 12 March 2013

Top BI Enhancements for SQL Server 2012 Presentation

Next Tuesday, March 12th at 1:15pm CST, I will be presenting the session “Top BI Enhancements for SQL Server 2012” at the Houston Area SQL Server User Group Monthly Meeting.  Below is the abstract.  I will be presenting in person but you can join online.  Details are here Read more

0 comments, 384 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 8 March 2013

Profisee Master Data Maestro

I have been using Microsoft’s Master Data Services (MDS) on a daily basis for the last 8 months.  I also have been using Microsoft’s Data Quality Services (DQS) for the last couple of months.  While both products are very good and are a great solution for Master Data Management… Read more

2 comments, 746 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 7 March 2013

Visual Studio 2012 now supports BI!

My most popular blog has been Visual Studio 2012 does not support BI.  In short, this means VS 2012 does not support SSAS, SSIS, or SSRS.  Well, not anymore!  Just released is Microsoft SQL Server Data Tools – Business Intelligence for Visual Studio 2012, or SSDT-BI or SSDTBI… Read more

8 comments, 1,124 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 6 March 2013

Microsoft Data Explorer

Data Explorer (download), which I first mentioned in my blog about PASS Summit 2011 (SQL Server 2012 and other PASS announcements), has finally taken the next step and is now a public preview.

Think of Data Explorer as a self-service ETL tool for the Excel power… Read more

5 comments, 684 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 5 March 2013