Tag Archives: SQL Server

3-D’s of Business Intelligence

A friend of mine aspiring to become a BI professional asked me what it takes to become a Business Intelligence professional?

Since the answer to the question is not a one liner I thought of answering it in a post as it will helps others.Before we get in detail let me define BI first,”Business Intelligence is the process of getting useful  and simpler analytics about business from its raw data sources“.

With that being said, it takes one to master 3-D’s (Data Building. Dashboards and Decision Making) to become a successful BI professional.

Data Building: Building your data from raw data sources is fundamental and crucial part of Business Intelligence. One should not use the data directly from real time systems for analytics – the reason is most of the time a company’s data systems are designed in the form of numerical values for easy computing and the numerical data doesn’t makes sense unless Attributes are added to it. Data building is like laying a foundation to your house, so extensive care and research should be taken at this step to avoid future costs.

Depending on the organization size your data building specs might change.Say If you’re a small company, I wouldn’t suggest you for a data warehousing and you can build one Master table from your Work orders or invoices and add multiple metrics to it.

Say If your company is dealing with lot of media files, I would advise you to have a non relational Hadoop kind of database like Azure.

Say if you’re running a massive Billing and Support Call center and  has to deal with tons of invoices and call volumes, a good approach is to have a datawarehouse  and track everything.You can have a combination of Type1 and Type2.

Key Tools and Technologies: SqlServer,Oracle,Teradata,Apache Hadoop,Azure

Dashboards: Once your data is built, the next step is to derive useful information from data in form of reports. By saying reports, I don’t mean long tabular ones- Why do I say that? Working with executives made me learn this trick,let me say it out for you. “Data doesn’t lie at detail and summary level“. You don’t need to have long detailed tabular reports to understand your business you can have them summarized by multiple metrics in a single dashboard. What if you don’t have one?try to combine as many reports as possible and summarize them. Dashboards allows us to view the business through different angles and gives deeper insights in a single view.

Key Tools and Technologies: Power BI, Tableau, SSRS, Business Objects and Excel

Decision Making: One may think a BI professional’s job concludes by creating dashboards. I wouldn’t agree with it, go ahead and analyse the dashboard and try making decisions yourself as if its your own company. This will embark a business mind in you, you may not become a business person overnight but with time it will increase your learning curve and establish yourself as valuable asset to your organization.

Would’t it be nice if you hand over a deck to your supervisor and say “I looked at it and our sales are dropping due to less price offers by our competitors”

Key Tools and Technologies: Your own Brain and curiosity.

Hope it helps:)

Back From Vacation Syndrome and SSMS Shortcuts

Was just back to United States from a long vacation and started to work. The first two days were filled with replying to all pending emails and settling up issues reported while I was away. Slowly was out of jet lag and my routine work life started. My client did gave me a new requirement to build a report. Came to my cubicle, opened SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) and started building the query for it. With me being away from work for few weeks, I thought I might have forgotten the tables, databases and relationships which exists between different database objects.

To my surprise, I didn’t forget any and I painted the whole picture of the report from different tables in my mind when my client gave the requirement. While building the query I noticed something strange, I have been stumbling with keyboard shortcuts I use with SSMS and just took a breath and yelled at myself (How could I?). Shortcuts are cool feature with SSMS and I love using them. I know I should get into my notes and brush up my shortcuts.

This time I wanted to know why did I forget them and started googling about it. The one word answer is Brain Plasticity. The ability of our brain to be flexible and adapt with new changes is called Brain Plasticity and our brain survives by forgetting too. The article I read quoted human brain doesn’t need to forget intentionally and any changes in the outside environment has an effect on our brain and it will make us forget to store new events. Think of it in this way, If I were to think about SQL and databases at my vacation it might have gone terrible right?, luckily I wasn’t and my brain was on vacation mode and now am back to work it will slowly store my work and daily life related data and events and might forget vacation mode and it keeps working!!!Amazing is our brain!!!

I just called it as Back from Vacation Syndrome:)

Here are the shortcuts I brushed up from my notes and would like every SQL Developer to be aware of it and forget only when they are on vacation:P

Ctrl + U  - To Change database connection

Ctrl + F6 – Toggle between query windows

Ctrl + F5 – To parse the code

Ctrl + R – To Toggle Result Pane

Ctrl K + Ctrl C – To Comment the code

Ctrl K + Ctrl U – To Un Comment the code

F8 – To view Object Explorer

Shift + Alt + Enter – To view in Full Screen

Ctrl + Shift + U – Converts the selected code to Upper case

Ctrl  + Shift + D – Converts the selected code to Lower case

Ctrl + Shift + Home – Selects the code from current cursor location to the beginning of query

Ctrl + Shift + End – Select the code from current cursor location till the end

Share with me if you find some more shortcuts are essential.


Top 5 features of SQL Server 2014:

Microsoft has officially launched its SQL SERVER 2014 this April at an event held in San Francisco, CA. Microsoft adds some new features and updates some of its existing features in every other SQL Server version. Sooner or later all our systems will be updated with this version.

So what does it means to a developer?

Is it a good sign or bad sign to a developer?

Did Microsoft made any ground breaking changes to its product?

Should I have to reinvigorate my T-SQL skills to work with 2014?

A Developer mind is bombarded with so many questions like above when we hear about a version upgrade. Don’t worry folks, I have got your back. I was excited enough like every other developer to get the 2014 version within first few weeks of its launch and done my review of it. I did learn a lot and my goal is to share some of its valuable insights a SQL Server developer must know to work with 2014. I will be posting my top 5 favorite features of SQL Server 2014 as a series over next few days. Please keep tuned.


-Junaith Haja