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PASS BAC Preview Series: Business Analytics Defined

The PASS Business Analytics Conference (PASSBAC) Preview Series continues with more great insights from PASS Board Member, Douglas McDowell, who gives unique perspective on what PASSBAC is and how this conference was developed to address the expanding technical education needs of its business community. 

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FEATURED PASS BOARD MEMBER:  Douglas McDowell, Executive Vice President Finance

Douglas_McDowellDouglas McDowell (@douglasmcdowell) is CEO, North America, for SolidQ. He serves as the Executive Vice President for PASS and has been a PASS volunteer (Chapter Leader, Regional Mentor, Board member) since 2001. Douglas, also a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) and member of Microsoft’s Business Intelligence Partner Advisory Council (BIPAC), holds an assortment of post-graduate degrees including an MBA, Masters of IT, and even a degree in Culinary Arts.

Hey, have you heard the news? PASS is offering a premium education and networking event, the PASS Business Analytics Conference, April 10-12th, in Chicago focused on Business Intelligence and Analytics.

(By the way, I have been a PASS volunteer for over a decade – so when I talk about PASS, I say “we.”)

Ever since we announced this event, “What is Business Analytics?” has been a popular discussion. I’ll admit, I’m completely immersed in the world of data – devouring daily updates about upcoming releases of big data, self-service analysis, and data visualization software, and reading much Gartner and similar tech research. I find myself overly familiar with the incremental Analytics continuum: from Descriptive (reporting what happened) to Diagnostic (slice/dice to find out why) to Predictive (use data mining to forecast reoccurrence) to Prescriptive (applying knowledge to affect change). Each of these steps rise in difficulty as they increase in corporate value – and they are all incorporated within the Business Analytics or BA moniker. And yes, Business Intelligence is core to Business Analytics.

I liken Business Analytics to a tube of biscuits: sleek and contained until you peel the label off and *pop* you are surprised by all the technologies that enable Business Analytics: reporting, relational data, ad-hoc query, OLAP, unstructured data, tabular, data mining, data visualization, master data, ETL, data quality, data governance/stewardship, collaboration, search, mobile, etc.. All companies use business analytics, even if they have not progressed along the entire Analytics continuum or adopted each underlying technology.

PASS is focused on education and networking for Microsoft SQL Server professionals. In recent years, as SQL Server has grown, we have embraced reporting, business intelligence, big data, and most bordering technologies required to architect, develop, deploy, maintain and optimize information management and data-centric applications using and/or touching SQL Server. PASS has never changed its mission or struck off in a new direction, but the technical education needs of its membership has expanded.

PASS serves the community with international conferences, local grassroots events and virtual events. An audit of the content available through these many channels reveal: reporting, relational data, ad-hoc query, OLAP, unstructured data, tabular, data mining, data visualization, master data, ETL, data quality, data governance/stewardship, collaboration, search, mobile, etc. So if you apply inductive reasoning then PASS is a Business Analytics community organization.

BA is bigger than PASS, but PASS has a lot to offer to BA professionals. Education without community has finite value, but build a network surrounding education, then the value of accountability and reciprocation becomes infinite. That is the value of community and PASS.

If you have not already considered the PASS Business Analytics Conference April 10-12th in Chicago, you must reconsider and register now! The event offers an unmatched speaker program, bolstered with amazing keynotes from Microsoft’s Kamal Hathi & Amir Netz and Dr. Steven Levitt, excellent sponsorship from the best exhibitors and it is hosted at an ideal location and venue. If you still need more to get you going on your way to PASS BAC, check out the Reasons to Attend and how to Convince Your Boss and I’ll see you in Chicago!