BI & Blondies, Community, Philo's café

Power BI forever… since the very first sight

End of May was the traditional and brilliant European Collaboration Summit with >2000 attendees. I was humbled to be interviewed in their magazine as one of their speakers, and I would like to share the article with you as I spoke about my love of Power BI

  1. Isabelle, you are one of the leading database and BI experts out there. How did the world of BI change in the past 10 years?

As for many other technologies, the most significant changes were coming from the Cloud Services apparition and the improved Self-BI offer. Power BI services were the key to reach the right audience: Business People. After all BI means Business Intelligence. One of my actual most exciting projects is not an IT-led one. If I may make a comparison, we have seen the same paradigm switch with the begin of collaboration tools and the start of SharePoint: giving people their own space to create and share insights.

The Cloud is also a “free-from-jail” card as it offers the ability to start a BI project without the need to buy a large appliance directly. You can quietly scale out elastically.

The usage of analytics algorithms that we once called Data Mining is now become genuinely democratic with tools like the Azure Machine Learning studio and the R or Python integration– as well in SQL server as in Azure. It is not uncommon anymore to have Data Science people close to BI teams.

Data is definitively the new black . Eventually.

  • What should I do if I want to start a BI project today? There are so many options…

Although the change of technologies, the equation remains the same. You need to grab the data and to do something with them. Unfortunately, if you want to achieve the correct result, your data needs to be clean and accurate. This challenge remains the hidden part of the iceberg who can sink the boat. Because of that, the BI methodology is still the key to success. So if you want to start a BI project, you need to have experimented BI people with you. Kimball theory is always valid: in a large Data warehouse as in a small Power BI data model. Do work with dimension and measures. Identify your facts. Build your model. Be the cleanest possible. Then, rely on modern architecture in a good way. Are you really in a big data environment? -Unlikely.  Do you need a lake? Probably – because of the Common Data Model. Do you need an expensive Azure Data Warehouse? –Not so sure.

Apply a simple pattern on your project then stick the right tools to the right place. Don’t be led by the appeal of the fancy newest techs.

The last word is GO-VER-NAN-CE. Self-BI is really nice empowerment of the user, but you also need to give them the means to do it properly:

  • “Single version of the truth” dataset shared across the enterprise with a Common Data Model
  • Easy access to prototyping activities through self-bi tools.
  • Clean delivery through the official app
  • Clear traceability of the data: date of refreshed, source, owner
  • You are one of the most passionate people in the community I have ever met. What does this community mean for you?

The community is one of the most beautiful parts of my work life. I’ve been working as a freelance for 10 years (23 in total). This can be a very lonely position unless you can share with your peers. Sharing knowledge is my passion, I started as a trainer and MCT, and I continue to do so at my customers and in the community. This makes me continuously learning to create a new presentation and a new demo. I am not only a speaker but also a data platform user group Leader. To have a fantastic event you need people to commit. I do. It comes with a reward as I am able to meet a ton of passionate people and build an excellent network. As a freelancer, this is a real virtuous circle.

  • You are one of the people who are with us almost from the beginning. How do you see the evolution of the Collabsummit?

Collaboration Summit has always been one of the most organized events I know. I can tell because I am participating in a lot of them and even running some as a community leader. I know what it takes to do so. For me, the CollabSummit is very particular because it is a community driven event but such on a big scale!

It keeps growing years after years, I don’t know how they manage to keep their commitment!

It is very amazing to see it also evolving with the new technologies and being close to the people needs. Probably the key to success as the fair prices and of course the excellence of speakers J.

  • What is Isabelle doing when she is not delivering database projects or being active in the community?

Interesting question. I like to gets my hands dirty, and I am doing myself a lot of stuff at home– from making my own bread to fix my tap or try to achieve minimal waste—meaning DIY. I like to think that children learn by example and I have 2 daughters. I want to show them a strong woman figure, I want them knowing that it is all about their dreams and I want them not impeach themselves because of stereotypes. I am passionate about the actual world transition and challenges; Climate, refugee, feminism and also quite active in those sectors. I need to live near a forest as trees are my oxygen. I enjoy an early morning hike on the weekends. I travel a lot for my conferences, and I try to visit each city, I really like old churches and castles. 

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