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Mike Benkovich is a former Microsoft evangelist who has spent his career helping developers explore and apply new technologies to solving information challenges. His website www.benkotips.com provides developers with resources to get started and work with technologies including cloud, data and devices. Follow him on twitter @mbenko.


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BI Quick Start

How do you know what you really need to know?

Since Analysis Services was released in SQL Server 7.0 there have been a revolution in the toolset for building and using a data warehouse. In this 11 part webcast series join Mike Benkovich as he dives into how the latest tools can make building these types of solutions easier and more powerful.

Mike has worked in a variety of roles including architect, project manager, developer and technical writer. The coolest part of his job? Running into people who are still using (and liking) his software applications. Mike is a published author with WROX Press and APress Books, writing primarily about getting the most from your SQL Server database. Since appearing in Microsoft's DevCast in 1994, Mike has presented technical information at seminars, conferences and corporate boardrooms across America. This music buff also plays piano, guitar and saxophone - but not at his MSDN Events

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Our Schedule

1. Business Intelligence core concepts and a ‘Quick Start’ solution. (4/6)

This module covers fundamental BI application concepts and terms, along with a ‘Quick Start’ BI solution that uses new SQL Server 2005 technologies to rapidly develop analytical functionality without the complexity associated with traditional data warehouse methodologies. Topics include the new Unified Dimensional Model (UDM), a comparison of SQL to MDX as reporting query languages, the use of a Data Source View (DSV) to logically redefine data sources, and new dimensionality capabilities.

2. Building an Analysis Services Database. (* Rescheduled for Thursday 4/27)

This module focuses on using the BI Development Studio to design an Analysis Services application database, and then manipulating the resulting XML scripts to create customized versions of the application. Topics include Dimensions, MeasureGroups, Aggregations, Security, and Localization. Lab exercises focus on development tools, Analysis Services Scripting Language (ASSL) and Analysis Management Objects (AMO).

3. Building DTS Packages. (4/20)

DTS has been completely re-architected for SQL Server 2005. In this module, you will learn how to utilize the Control flow and Data flow capabilities, how to create packages that can be configured for different environments at deployment time, and how to programmatically create tasks, transformations, and packages. Lab exercises include building, customizing, and deploying DTS packages

4. Integrating Reporting Services reports into a Client Application. (4/27)

Reporting Services has been enhanced significantly for SQL Server 2005, including support for queries against an Analysis Services source. This module includes features most critical to including Reporting Services reports in a client application. Lab exercises include dynamically generating RDL, and creating ASP .Net applications that render reports by using Web Service calls as well as URL parameters.

5. Integrating Office Tools into a Client Application. (5/4)

Microsoft Office includes several tools that can be effectively leveraged to quickly build a powerful front-end application. This module helps you understand how you can take advantage of the strengths of these technologies. Topics include Office PivotTables and Charts, Excel PivotTables, the Excel Add-In Accelerator, and integration with SharePoint. Lab exercises focus on integrating Office Web PivotTables into an application, and seamlessly navigating from a custom report into an Excel PivotTable or Add-In Accelerators.

6. Creating Analytical MDX Queries. (5/11)

General purpose tools can create standard MDX queries. To make a custom application that answers serious business questions, you need to be able to create effective analytical MDX queries. In this module, you will learn the strategy for building powerful queries that don’t just display data, but show what it means. Lab exercises include creating queries to calculate changes and exceptions, and how to parameterize the queries so that you can include them in a custom application.

7. Creating Custom Client Applications by using ADOMD .Net and MDX Queries. (5/18)

Often, to get the desired user interface experience, you want to develop the front-end yourself. This module guides you through using ADOMD .Net to create a client application. Lab exercises include creating ASP .Net applications that parameterize standardized analytical reports and render the result by using ADOMD Net.

8. Advanced Analysis Services Workshop. (5/25)

This module focuses on issues that arise in Analysis Services with very large or very complex databases. You will learn how to effectively design aggregations, partitions, and processing schedules—including how and when to take advantage of the new proactive caching. You will also learn now to deal with complex Time issues, how to work with specialized requirements for financial accounts and currency conversions, how to manage many-to-many relationships, and other complex issues.

9. Integration Lab. (6/1)

This module is a large scale lab that will require you to integrate all the pieces of a BI solution—from data sourcing, to database design, to query design and reporting. The exercise includes a mix of user-interface, XML manipulation, creating configurations, and custom coding—all representative of a real-world development environment.

10. Advanced DTS Workshop. (6/8)

This module consists of a series of exercise that deal with a variety of complex, real-world data transformation issues. Topics include such topics as real-time data feeds, writing custom transformations to parse and map addresses, looping through multiple data sources, passing real-time flows directly to Analysis Services objects, and many others.

11. Working with Data Mining. (6/15)

Data Mining—using advanced statistical techniques to find patterns in large volumes of data—is a fast-growing area of business analytics. While SQL Server 2000 included rudimentary Data Mining tools, SQL Server 2005 includes far more powerful tools and algorithms, both for the developer and for client access. This module teaches you the concepts behind data mining, exposes the processes for data mining, and shows you how you can begin to include data mining tools within your application.