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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.

SQLSaturday in Houston

This upcoming Saturday I will be presenting two sessions at SQLSaturday in Houston (more info).  I hope to see you there.  Here are the abstracts:

Best Practices to Deliver BI Solutions

If your company is planning to build a data warehouse or BI solution, you need to be aware that BI projects have high failure rates. Gartner says between 70% to 80% of corporate business intelligence projects fail. And with “big data” adding more complexity you can expect even more failures. However, the major causes of these failures are well known and can be avoided by implementing a set of best practices.

I have worked on dozens of end-to-end BI projects and have seen my share of successes and failures. I will talk about the reasons BI projects fail and share best practices and lessons learned so your BI project will fall into the “successful” category.

Enhancing your career: Building your personal brand

In three years I went from a complete unknown to a popular blogger, speaker at PASS Summit, and a SQL Server MVP.  Along the way I saw my yearly income triple.  Is it because I know some secret?  Is it because I am a genius?  No!  It is just about laying out your career path, setting goals, and doing the work.  It’s about building your personal brand and stepping out of your comfort zone.  It’s about overcoming your fear of taking risks.  If you can do those things, you will be rewarded.  I will discuss how you too can go from unknown to well-known.  I will talk about building your community presence by blogging, presenting, writing articles and books, twitter, LinkedIn, certifications, interviewing, networking, and consulting and contracting.  Your first step to enhancing your career will be to attend this session!


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