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James Serra's Blog

James is a big data and data warehousing technology specialist at Microsoft. He is a thought leader in the use and application of Big Data technologies, including MPP solutions involving hybrid technologies of relational data, Hadoop, and private and public cloud. Previously he was an independent consultant working as a Data Warehouse/Business Intelligence architect and developer. He is a prior SQL Server MVP with over 30 years of IT experience. James is a popular blogger ( and speaker, having presented at dozens of PASS events including the PASS Business Analytics conference and the PASS Summit. He is the author of the book “Reporting with Microsoft SQL Server 2012”. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

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?

BI is the “Gathering of data from multiple sources to present it in a way that allows executives to make better business decisions”. I will describe in more detail exactly what BI is, what encompasses the Microsoft BI stack, why it is so popular, and why a BI career pays so much. I will review specific examples from previous projects of mine that show the benefits of BI and its huge return-on-investment. I’ll go into detail on the components of a BI solution, and I will discuss key concepts for successfully implementing BI in your organization.

Building an Effective Data Warehouse Architecture

You’re a DBA and your boss asks you to determine if a data warehouse would help the company. So many questions pop into your head: Why use a data warehouse? What is the best methodology to use when creating a data warehouse? Should I use a normalized or dimensional approach? What is the difference between the Kimball and Inmon methodologies? Does the new Tabular model in SQL Server 2012 change things? What is the difference between a data warehouse and a data mart? Is there any hardware I can purchase that is optimized for a data warehouse? What if I have a ton of data? During this session James will help you to answer these questions so your response to your boss will provoke amazement and lead to a big raise. Or at least help to lead you down the correct path!


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