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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: April 2013

Enhance your career by blogging!

When I started my blog two years ago, I never would have thought how much it would help my career.  I can’t stress enough the importance of blogging to enhance your career.  And it’s a lot easier to do than you think.  I hope this blog post will encourage you… Read more

19 comments, 1,400 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 30 April 2013

Consultants – Why pay more?

As an independent consultant who has a higher bill rate than average, I would hope it is obvious to clients that the extra money spent would be well worth it.  But that is not always the case, and sometimes who have to help them to understand, like most things in… Read more

1 comments, 561 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 25 April 2013

Industry Expert Interview

I don’t know if I would consider myself an industry expert, but hey, it says it on the Internet, so it just be true (because you can’t put anything on the Internet that’s not true).  An interview I did to help those interested in a business Intelligence career,… Read more

0 comments, 400 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 23 April 2013

PASS Business Analytics Conference: the ultimate networking

I went to the PASS Business Analytics Conference last week, and had an absolute blast.  I presented two sessions, and attended many more, and was also part of the live blogging panel at both keynotes.  I learned a lot, but the best part about attending the conference was all… Read more

6 comments, 448 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 18 April 2013

Geoflow Preview for Excel 2013

Last week at the PASS Business Analytics Conference in Chicago, Microsoft disclosed a public preview of GeoFlow for Excel (download).  GeoFlow” is a 3D visualization tool for mapping, exploring and interacting with both geographic and chronological data, providing users with a new way to discover and share insights… Read more

3 comments, 376 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 16 April 2013

PASS SQL Saturday in Chicago Presentation Slides

Thanks to everyone who attended my sessions “What exactly is Business Intelligence?” and “Building an Effective Data Warehouse Architecture” at the PASS SQL Saturday in Chicago.

Here are the PowerPoint presentation: What exactly is Business Intelligence? and Building an Effective Data Warehouse Architecture.

What exactly is Business Intelligence? Read more

0 comments, 318 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 15 April 2013

PASS Business Analytics Conference Presentation Slides

Thanks to everyone who attended my sessions “Overview of Microsoft Appliances” and “Building an Effective Data Warehouse Architecture” at the PASS Business Analytics Conference.

Here are the PowerPoint presentations:  Overview of Microsoft Appliances and Building an Effective Data Warehouse Architecture.

Overview of Microsoft Appliances

Learn how SQL Server… Read more

2 comments, 257 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 15 April 2013

PASS Business Analytics Conference Live Blog

Apologies if you went to my site this morning to see my blog from the bloggers table at PASS Business Analytics Conference.  Turns out a firewall issue blocked me from getting to my site (and many others).  So I wound up tweeting updates at http://twitter.com/jamesserra.  You can review… Read more

0 comments, 434 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 12 April 2013

PASS Business Analytics Conference

The PASS Business Analytics Conference is almost here!  Check out the sessions to be presented at the conference and you will see there are a ton of great sessions and great speakers.  I feel fortunate to be able to speak alongside many of the experts in the industry and to… Read more

0 comments, 385 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 8 April 2013

Microsoft BI tools: How they use data sources

A quick list of how each of these Microsoft BI tools handles the two data sources “SQL Server” (relational-based) and “Analysis Services” (multidimensional-based):

  • Report Builder – Using “SQL Server”, auto-detects joins if source system has foreign-key relationships (by selected “Auto Detect” relationships on the “Design a query” screen).  Otherwise will…

Read more

1 comments, 616 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 2 April 2013