Blog Post

TechEd 2013–Favorite Sessions


At TechEd 2013, I attended many excellent Business Intelligence / Data Platform sessions and thought I’d share an overview of a few of my favorites:

1. Overview of Business Intelligence in Microsoft Office & SharePoint 2013

Presented by: Peter Myers

This session provides an excellent overview of various Business Intelligence features in Microsoft Office and SharePoint 2013.  If you are looking for a glimpse at what these tools can provide, this session is an excellent starting point. 

Some of the features highlighted include Data Explorer, Apps for Office, Geo Flow, Data Mining in Excel, SharePoint Excel Services 2013 and Visio Services 2013.  Each feature is presented as a demo.

2.  Microsoft Data Explorer for Excel: Discover, Combine, and Refine your Data 

Presented by: Faisal Mohamood

Data Explorer is an Excel 2013/2010 Add-In, currently in preview, that simplifies the process of discovering, combining and refining data.   This session began with an overview of the data-related challenges Data Explorer addresses, then reviewed the goals of Data Explorer and wrapped-up with an excellent demo.

Challenges: Rapid rise in data volume, new data types/formats and increasing user expectations. 

Goal:  Deliver one user experience for all types of data sources, including the same set of capabilities.

Why Data Explorer?: 

  • Self-service data discovery, query and mash-up.
  • Designed for end-users
  • Handles any data source type/size
  • Allows for previewing data
  • Provides consistent user-experience
  • Ability to join data from different sources

The demo at the end of the presentation provides a very thorough overview of the benefits Data Explorer offers.

3.  Big Data Analytics with Excel 2013

Presented by: Peter Myers

This session is one of my favorites, since it combines two topics that I find very interesting: Big Data and Analytics.  The session was primarily demo focused and the demo was very well presented.  The first part of the demo involved copying a weblog to the HDInsight distributed file system and then used Apache Hive to create an external table object that is capable of being queried.  The second part of the demo involved PowerPivot in Excel 2013 to combine the big data from the weblog (using Hive queries to load the data into PowerPivot) with additional data from a relational data source and data feed.

4. Big Data / Small Data / All Data

Presented by: Shawn Bice

For an overview of the hottest topics involving the Microsoft data platform: Big Data, Analytics and In-Memory technologies….be sure to watch this session.  The session focused on a demo that combined data from several sources using various technologies: flight data (relational data source), user sentiment (twitter), application log (.txt file), and weather data (Data Marketplace).  The demo made use of several technologies to extract and analyze this data including HDInsight (Big Data) and Excel 2013 (mash up and visualization).  The session also discussed the new In-Memory OLTP functionality in SQL Server 2014.

5. Running BI Workloads on Windows Azure VMs

Presented by: Chuck Heinzelman

If you are a Business Intelligence / Data professional and are looking for an introduction to Azure, this is the session for you.  The session begins with an overview of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and discusses the components of an IaaS Implementation (Subscriptions, Affinity Groups, Azure Storage, Virtual Network, Cloud Service, Virtual Machines and Availability Sets).  Two options for creating a SQL Server image in Azure are discussed: Using a SQL Server gallery image or Bring Your Own Image.   The session concludes with a demo of the steps to build a BI farm in Azure.

Other sessions I recommend:


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