PASS (the Professional Association for SQL Server) is planning its fourth conference focused on business analytics.
What is unique about the PASS Business Analytics Conference is the emphasis on the people that are actually dealing with data and analytics day in and day out, said Jen Stirrup, director, Business Analytics Portfolio, at PASS. “Those are the people who have to deal with the data to find insights quickly and they are under a lot of pressure."
The 2016 PASS Business Analytics Conference is aimed at providing business analytics training across four tracks: Discover & Integrate; Analyze & Interpret; Visualize & Inform; and Communicate & Lead. Pre-conference sessions will be held on May 2 and general sessions will be held May 3 and 4.
The world of data is moving so fast at the moment that it can be difficult for people to keep up, said Stirrup. In addition, she noted, the challenge is compounded by the fact the requirement is no longer to simply be a guardian of data, but to extract meaningful value from it while it is being housed in repositories that extend well beyond relational data's rows and columns and streaming in from new sources such as social media and sensors.
While the PASS Summit, the non-profit group’s annual conference, speaks to the DBA and BI audience with a strong focus on Microsoft's relational database management system, SQL Server, Stirrup said this conference by contrast is focused on workers that may not even be part of an IT department, and users who may be dealing with languages such as R and Python, and Power BI tools and services, for example. “They need a broader technology set,” she said.
Beyond the technology, the conference is also aimed at helping to foster the next generation of data leaders, Stirrup pointed out, because many of those people who are doing analytics right now are going to take on new roles in their organizations in the next part of their careers with titles such as chief data officers and chief analytics officers. Every organization is trying to be "data driven" at the moment, Stirrup observed. “In order to do these jobs, you need a very good understanding of the business as well as of the data and obviously to do that you need help along the way.”
Setting the tone for the event, PASS has selected as the keynote speaker Jer Thorp, a data artist and educator, who is the co-founder of The Office for Creative Research, an Adjunct Professor at New York University's ITP program and a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Design Innovation. Thorp will share how adding meaning and narrative to huge amounts of data can help people take control of the information that surrounds them, and revolutionize the way we utilize data.
The day-two keynote speaker is Susan Etlinger, an industry analyst with Altimeter Group, a Prophet Company, where she promotes the smart, well-considered, and ethical use of data. She is a TED speaker, and regularly speaks about data strategy and best practices.
For more information on speakers, go here, and for more on the conference in general, go here.