Archive for Training

PASS Business Analytics Conference 2016 – San Jose CA.

I am writing my blog post this week from San Jose, California USA live from the 2016 PASS Business Analytics Conference.  For the benefit of those of you that are not familiar, PASS is the Professional Association for SQL Server.  Each year PASS holds a Business Analytics Conference – it is the premier conference for Data Analyst Professionals (as opposed to IT Professionals who are catered for at other events).  So if you are an Excel or Power BI professional, then this is the PASS conference that was created just for you.

Jer Thorp Keynote Speech

I really enjoyed the Keynote from Jer Thorp today.  Jer is a data artist – he specialises in turning boring data into meaningful visualisations.


There were a lot of gold nuggets that I took away from this session that really resonated with me and that I want to share.  Here is a list from my notes with some comments from me:

  • A great definition of Data is the “measurement of something“.

I love the idea of “Measurement of Something” as a way to describe data.  I get asked all the time what I do, and this description of data and analytics is really useful to simplify a complex topic.

  • Don’t think about the printed page when thinking of visualisations.

This is a lot harder to execute than it is to say.  Jer showed some fabulous examples of engaging graphics using custom developed visual tools.  For most of us we are practically tied to generally available tools like Power BI and Excel to create our visuals.  Thankfully these tools are developing lots of new visualisations (particularly Power BI) which opens up new opportunities for communicating.  But our job as Analysts is to seek out these tools and use them.

  • Visualisations should try to create an Ooh/Aah response
    • Catch attention => Ooh
    • Tell them something they didn’t know => Aah

This is really helpful to me as I sometimes wonder about the merits of “flashy” demos.  With the lens of “trying to get attention and then tell them something they didn’t know”, it makes the purpose and value of the whole exercise a lot clearer to me.

  • Data Visualisation should strive for Reduction or Revelation.
    • Reduction example: Blood pressure is a reduction of a person’s health into a simple 2 number measurement.
    • Revelation example: X-rays expand the available data to provide new insights that are not otherwise visible.

Reduction or Revelation is a simple concept that is easy to remember and will help any analyst focus on the task at hand.

  • Data analysis can be Confirmatory or Exploratory
    • Confirmatory maps to Satisfaction.
    • Exploratory maps to Joy.

Another simple concept to help focus you on the task at hand.

  • Good visualisations help you to ask new questions – i.e. it is question farming. You create new questions you didn’t think to ask before.

Like I said above, I have often questioned the value of “flashy” visualisations with moving bubbles etc.  But if such visualisations help people ask new questions, then they have achieved something great – I never thought about it that way before.

  • Upstream data. The closer you get to the source of your data, the better you will understand it.

I think I have always intuitively known this one.  I spent my career working in the retail industry and everyone there knows that the answers can’t be found in the office, but in “the trade” (in the retail outlets).  You need to get out and look if you want to understand your data.

Why not start planning for next year’s PASS BACON now.

For some reason business analysts don’t seem to hold attending conferences at the same level of importance as IT professionals.  I think this is a shame as there is a lot to learn and a lot of networking opportunities to be had.  If you are a data analytics professional, I hope you will consider attending a professional development conference at some time in the future.  There is no time like now to start planning for this – make sure you get some money put aside in next year’s budget.

What is the Best Training for Business Analysts?

The rate of change in the tools available to a Business Analyst has never been faster than it is in 2016.  The market is changing so quickly that many Business Analysts (BAs) are not even aware of the great new tools that are available to help them succeed in their jobs and careers.  Regular readers of my blog will already know what is hot, but let me cover off a bit of background to what is happening for the benefit of others before I answer the question about what training a BA should be doing (hyperlink to the bottom of the page if you can’t wait that long).

I am going to cover:

Read More

Brisbane and Sydney Training – it’s not too late to register

Power Pivot Training Australia

PowerPivot for Excel Live Training in OctoberPPPUniversityLogoShort600.png

I have 2 training events scheduled in October and it is not too late to register.

Brisbane – next week Mon 12th and Tues 13th October

This one is next week, but there are still a couple of places left if you have time to attend (despite a late rush).  You can register here or contact me if you would like to talk about the course.

Sydney – Thu 22nd and Fri 23rd October

Just 2 weeks left to register for the final training session in Sydney for the year.  The location of this course has not been finalised and it will depend on numbers.  You can register here

Hope to see you there.

Adelaide and Sydney Power Pivot Training – Early Bird closes soon

live training AustraliaPPPUniversityLogoShort600.png

There are 2 Power Pivot training courses scheduled for the end of this month

  1. Sydney on Thurs 23/Fri 24th of July
  2. Adelaide on Mon 27th/Tues 28th of July.

Early bird pricing with a saving of $200 off the normal price is closing in less than 2 weeks time.

Power Pivot is a revolutionary technology from Microsoft that allows Business Analysts to rapidly develop useful business reporting tools in Excel with speed and flexibility and without IT help.  Power Pivot is a very different technology to traditional Excel, and almost everyone who wants to leverage the tool will need some help getting started.  This hands on training course has been designed specifically for Excel users and provides the required foundation to use Power Pivot and DAX.

You can download the course outline here.

Check out the training page to see all upcoming training dates in all Australian cities.

Sydney Power Pivot Training just 2 weeks away

live training Australia

The next Power Pivot Training course from PowerPivotPro University in Sydney is just 2 weeks away.  There is still time to register and come along and learn new skills that will make you more productive and effective in your daily job role.  Those people that have completed the course tell me that Power Pivot is one of the best new skills they have learnt in years.  Here is a sample of comments.

Excellent course. Would highly recommend this to anyone who uses Excel.

“This is a great PowerPivot training course which has exceeded my expectations.”

Thoroughly recommended. Great course & great presenter. Matt’s style is very informative & comfortable & caters well for different levels of participant ability. Walked away with a sound knowledge of Power Pivot just itching to get stuck into it.”

Great course – nice presenter very clear.”

I would love to have you along at the session.  You can register at the link below.  Bring along another 2 colleges for a discount on the normal pricing.


2015 Australian Training Dates – Power Pivot for Excel

I have now locked all the training dates for my Power Pivot for Excel Australian Training public classes.  You can find full details of the dates here.

live training Australia

Why you should attend my Power Pivot for Excel Training

  • I am affiliated with Rob Collie from in the USA and I deliver training material developed by Rob that is targeted specifically with the Excel user in mind.  Rob was the Program Manager at Microsoft that worked on the first version of Power Pivot.  His unique insights on how the tool was designed to work makes this training course more targeted than most.
  • I have a background working for Coca-Cola and have years of experience both using data and building data tools.  I know what users think they need, and I know how to structure data to give them exactly what they really need.

Why you should register now

  • There are discounts for early bird registration as well as for multiple registrations from one company at a single session.
  • Everyone is busy working on what is important as well as what is urgent.  Learning a new skill to use a tool like Power Pivot will make you more efficient (save you time) and more effective (get better business results).  It is not urgent, but it sure is important.

Block some time in your calendar now so that you make sure you get the benefits from this training and can start to Excelerate your business results.

For more details

A full course overview is available here.  You can then click through for your location, find a date that works for you and click through to register.