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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: June 2013

Visual Studio 2013 preview available

Wow, Visual Studio 2012 is just out of diapers and here comes the next version!

Microsoft officials released the preview of Visual Studio 2013 at the Microsoft Build 2013 developer conference on June 26 (along with TFS 2013).  Download here.  Meanwhile, many of the new hybrid application lifecycle management… Read more

0 comments, 478 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 27 June 2013

SQL Server 2014 CTP1 is here!

As I mentioned in my blog post describing the new features in the next version of SQL Server (see SQL Server 2014!), the CTP1 was to be released in June, and that time has come.

Download it here, or it is available for download through a MSDN or… Read more

1 comments, 559 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 25 June 2013

TechEd North America 2013 videos online

Microsoft has posted ALL the session videos for TechEd North America 2013 and they are available for free!  What a great way to learn all about SQL Server 2012 and Business Intelligence (some sessions have hands-on labs).  Check them out here.  Also check out the best of the data… Read more

0 comments, 423 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 20 June 2013

Low-rate recruiters – The bane of my existence

There is nothing more annoying to me in my profession than getting calls and emails from recruiters who are looking for senior-level BI people at ridiculously low rates.  A common example: they want someone with 10-years experience in BI to work in NYC for $45/hr, no expenses paid.  Seriously?  I… Read more

20 comments, 694 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 18 June 2013

Presentation Slides for Building an Effective Data Warehouse Architecture

Thanks to everyone who attended my session “Building an Effective Data Warehouse Architecture” for Pragmatic Works.  There were over 500 attendees!  The abstract is below and the recording of the session is available here.  I received a ton of questions and I have attempted to answer most of… Read more

0 comments, 505 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 14 June 2013

Levels in IT consultancy

The Big 5 IT consulting companies (Accenture, Deloitte Consulting, PwC (formerly PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP), KPMG, Ernst & Young) have various titles given to consultants along a career path.  Wikipedia had good descriptions of the titles, and using that and a few other descriptions I came up with these levels (most firms… Read more

0 comments, 429 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 13 June 2013

Building an Effective Data Warehouse Architecture Presentation

I will be presenting the session “Building an Effective Data Warehouse Architecture” this Thursday, June 13th at 11:00am EST for Pragmatic Works.  Below is the abstract.  It will be a remote presentation that you can join online.  Details are here.  I hope you can make it!

Building an… Read more

0 comments, 429 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 12 June 2013

Business Intelligence Maturity Assessment

Do you ever wonder how your business intelligence (BI) and data warehousing (DW) environment compares to other companies and what steps you should be taking to progress your analytics platform?

One of the first steps in any BI project is an assessment of your company’s readiness and capabilities for business… Read more

3 comments, 842 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 11 June 2013

IT recruiter’s response

I asked a recruiter to check out my blogs about consulting, and his response is below.  He had some good points on billling rates and what recruiters do behind the scenes:

I really enjoyed reading over your blog you have a lot of really good information in there. I… Read more

1 comments, 399 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 6 June 2013

SQL Server 2014!

Just when you thought you got a handle on SQL Server 2012, here comes the next version!  SQL Server 2014 was announced yesterday during the TechEd North America 2013 Day 1 Keynote.  It is due to be released in early 2014, shortly after the release of Windows Server 2012 R2… Read more

4 comments, 4,418 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 4 June 2013