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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: August 2013

Resume hoarders

Unfortunately in my line of work as a consultant, I am contacted far too often by resume hoarders, who are “recruiters” who sole job is to collect resumes, with no attempt at all to try to match the right person with the position that is open.  It’s just a matter… Read more

0 comments, 756 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 29 August 2013

Winner of the worst recruiter of the year!

Every week I get a bunch of emails from recruiters about jobs that I am not qualified for (see Low-rate recruiters – The bane of my existence).  Some obviously use keyword searches and just spam any person who has that keyword in their profile (i.e. I have Microsoft Dynamics… Read more

19 comments, 819 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 27 August 2013

Recruiters, pay rates, and client budgets

If a recruiter sends me a job description, the first question I ask is, “What is the pay rate”.  If it is not in the ballpark of what I make, I shut the conversation down as continuing would just be a waste of everyone’s time.  Better to do that then… Read more

2 comments, 639 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 22 August 2013

A placement firm’s “guaranteed” replacement

I have heard large placement firms say they are better than smaller firms because “They offer the client a guaranteed replacement in case the resource doesn’t work out or leaves project early “.  I asked my recruiter friend about this.  His response:

You can look at it that statement two… Read more

0 comments, 494 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 20 August 2013

SQL Server 2014: AlwaysOn

AlwaysOn was introduced in SQL Server 2012, and there are some enhancements in SQL Server 2014:

  • Now support up to 8 secondary replicas that remain available for reads at all times, even in the presence of network failures.  Failover Cluster Instances now support Windows Cluster Shared Volumes, improving the utilization…

Read more

0 comments, 1,428 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 15 August 2013

Dear recruiter: I will not help you do your job for free

I literally get 10-15 calls and emails a week from recruiters asking if I can help them to find a data warehouse or business intelligence person for an opening at a client they have.  And another 10-15 emails for positions not even close to my skill-set (many coming from keyword… Read more

9 comments, 730 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 13 August 2013

Best Practices to Deliver BI Solutions

If your company is planning to build a data warehouse or BI solution (see Why you need Business Intelligence), you need to be aware that BI projects have high failure rates.  Gartner says between 70% to 80% of corporate business intelligence projects fail (see Poor communication to blame for… Read more

1 comments, 1,049 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 8 August 2013

Presentations slides for Best Practices to Deliver BI Solutions

Thanks to everyone who attended my session “Best Practices to Deliver BI Solutions” for Pragmatic Works.  The abstract for my session is below and the recording will be available soon here.  I hope I provided some good info for you.

Here is the PowerPoint presentation: Best Practices to… Read more

0 comments, 447 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 7 August 2013

Why use a SSAS cube?

What are the advantages of using SSAS Cubes over a regular data warehouse for reporting?  Note I’m not asking why report on a data warehouse instead of a OLTP database. which is covered at Why You Need a Data Warehouse.  Think of it as if I have a reporting… Read more

2 comments, 1,018 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 6 August 2013

Best Practices to Deliver BI Solutions Presentation

I will be presenting a brand new session entitled “Best Practices to Deliver BI Solutions” tomorrow, August 6th, at 11am EST for Pragmatic Works.  You can register here.  The abstract for my session is below.  I hope you can make it!

Best Practices to Deliver BI Solutions

If… Read more

2 comments, 474 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 5 August 2013

Presentation Slides for Building an Effective Data Warehouse Architecture

Thanks to everyone who attended my session “Building an Effective Data Warehouse Architecture” for 24 hours of PASS, PASS Summit Preview.  The abstract is below and the recording of the session is available here.  I hope you enjoyed it!

Here is the PowerPoint presentation: Building an Effective Data… Read more

0 comments, 549 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 2 August 2013

PerformancePoint: Show Details greyed out

In PerformancePoint, when using a analytic grid or chart or a scorecard, if you are not able to use the “Show Details” option (a drillthrough action) because it is grayed out, one or more of the following could be the reason:

  • In Dashboard Designer, in the “Background” section of the…

Read more

0 comments, 627 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 1 August 2013