It is that time of year! Get ready for PASS Summit 2015, the world’s largest conference for Microsoft SQL Server and BI Professionals. I told you Microsoft was breathing life back into SQL Server BI on-premises earlier this year. Sometimes you just need to see it to believe it! Next week folks…you will finally see it along with a few other surprises!

This year PASS Summit is going to be totally fantastic for the BI and analytics crowd. SQL Server 2016 BI, Power BI and Cortana Analytics are all getting a lot of deep dive technical coverage. If you are watching from home, the October 28 keynote will likely be streamed live again along with highlighted sessions including one that I am presenting next week. To keep you in the loop, I will LIVE tweet under @idigdata with the #Summit15 tag. I also plan to write a few blogs on PASS Summit topics.

Must See Engineering Sessions

The community led sessions are absolutely stellar. Community led presentations are given by the top talent in the world. I won’t single out any of those sessions here since I need to be fair to everyone in my current role – but – obviously I have favorites. You can find all the sessions on the posted PASS Summit 2015 schedule.

Now it is fair game for me to promote my own peers in engineering!  If you are attending PASS Summit or watching the live stream sessions, check out our engineering presentations across SQL Server, Power BI and Cortana Analytics. These presentations are given by Program Managers that are working alongside developers building next generation solutions. Engineering led sessions are filled with brand new functionality that includes never seen before features and future build sneak peeks. If that was not enough to lure you to these sessions, think about finally getting ask those burning questions that I know you want to ask us.

Here are the “MUST SEE” engineering sessions. If I missed any, I will add more next week.

October 28

10:15AM PST: Foundation Session: Microsoft Business Intelligence [BID-204-M] in 6E
by James Phillips and Kamal Hathi
Get an overview of Microsoft’s Business Intelligence strategy – hybrid, on premises and in the cloud – including an integrated view with Power BI, SSAS, and SSRS. This session will have the most bleeding edge, best BI demos of the PASS Summit 2015 conference. You will see new and future capabilities being showcased. Do not miss it!

1:30PM PST: Foundation Session: Advanced Analytics [BIA-225-M] in 6E
by Jason Wilcox, Luis Cabrera-Cordon and Gobi Kumar
Cortana Analytics Suite is the fully managed big data and advanced analytics bundled offering that enables you to transform your data into intelligent action. This session is the overview of the suite with demos and customer case studies.

3:15PM PST: Business Intelligence Updates in SQL Server 2016 [BIA-315-M] in TCC 304
by Frank Weigel
In this session you will get an overview of SQL Server 2016 BI strategy, vision, new features and innovations. It will cover deeper details on the new features being added in SQL Server Analysis Services and SQL Server Reporting Services. It will also include a look ahead, outlining our vision for SQL BI beyond the SQL Server 2016 release. NOTE: Frank is presenting at the same time as my session. Go to Frank’s session – it is not being recorded and it is far more important than mine.

3:15PM PST: Power BI Overview [BID-310-M] in TCC 301-302 or live stream
by Jen Underwood = ME
In this session, I will share the latest updates to Power BI. I will include newly revealed futures and showcase the latest available demos if I can get my hands on them. Again, if you are at PASS Summit in person, go to Frank’s session. I will give this one again – I promise.

4:45PM PST: Power BI Desktop Overview [BID-309-M] in TCC 301-302
by Ariel Netz, Lance Delano and Miguel Llopis
Power BI Desktop includes data loading, modeling, analytics, and reporting capabilities from Power Query, Power Pivot, and Power View, but wait!  There’s so much more! Join the Power BI Desktop team in this session to learn about current features and future capabilities from the engineering experts.

October 29

1:30PM PST: What’s New in SQL Server 2016 Reporting Services [BIA-321-M]  in TCC 304
by Riccardo Muti
In this not to miss session, we will review the new features being rolled out in SQL Server 2016 Reporting Services. There are quite a few this time around including but not limited to new chart types, better support for mobile, new report styles, improved parameters, Power BI publishing and so much more. If you use Reporting Services, be sure to see this presentation that is jam packed with demos and details on the latest CTP.

1:30PM PST: Cortana Analytics Deep Dive: Information Management [BIA-323-M] in 6B
by Matthew Roche, Sonia Carlson and Wee Hyong Tok
This session will discuss on how to manage all your on-premises and cloud data to connect, prepare, orchestrate, and monitor information at scale with data from websites, apps, and devices with Azure Data Factory, Data Catalog, and Event Hubs.

1:30PM PST: Kerberos – I’m not dead yet! [DBA-403-M] in 6C
by Adam Saxton
In this session we will go over a top support topic – Kerberos and what it means for SQL Server business intelligence. You will walk away with knowledge of how it works, how you can get into trouble and how to correct any issues with it.

3:15PM PST: Advanced Analytics with R SQL Server 2016 [BIA-329-M] in 602-604
by Umachandar Jayachandran, Tobias Ternstrom  and Dotan Elharrar
R in SQL Server 2016 is probably my #1 favorite new feature! I have played with it already and highly suggest attending this session to learn about it. In SQL Server 2016 R advanced analytics is an additional new capability from Revolution Analytics. During the session we will see demos illustrating data exploration and predictive application development with R on top of SQL Server data.

3:15PM PST: Real Time Insights [BIA-324-M] in TCC 301-302
by Santosh Balasubramanian
As more and more data is generated from a variety of connected devices, the need to get insights from this data and predict future behavior and trends is increasingly essential for businesses. This session will detail how to build out an end-to-end processing solution with Azure Stream Analytics and Azure Machine Learning to address the modern business requirement of transforming data into insight, prediction, and action.

4:45PM PST: Power BI Desktop Data Prep, Modeling and Analytics [BIA-321-M] in TCC 305
by Robert Bruckner, Ariel Netz and Miguel Llopis
Another totally awesome deep dive Power BI Desktop session by the men designing and building it. This one will dig into the details of data loading, transformation, modeling and analytics. The team will cover best practices and also reveal a few hidden gems.

October 30

9:30AM PST: Making Power BI Content Refreshable [BIA-319-M] in 611-614
by Mini Nair
In this session we’ll walk through the various ways to keep your reports and dashboards in Power BI current. If you have on-premises data sources such as SQL server that you have waiting to refresh from Power BI – this session is for you! We’ll walk through what it takes to schedule refresh your on-premises data sources in Power BI. We will share best practices and things to avoid when scheduling on-premises refresh.

11:15AM PST: The Analysis Services Evolution [BID-311-M] in TCC 303
by Kasper de Jonge
Attend this session to learn about next-generation SQL Server Analysis Service improvements – there are a zillion. In this session we will look at how Analysis Services Tabular models simplify solving complex business problems using over 50 new DAX functions and how new relationship types can help solve many to many issues. At the same time improved performance allows faster loading and analyzing of data. Finally updated tools allow for increased BI developer productivity and ease of use in Visual Studio 2015.

11:15AM PST: Data Visualizations & Storytelling with Power BI Desktop [BIA-318-M] in 2AB
by Will Thompson
Sure, you know Power BI. You’ve made some dashboards, created some pretty, interactive charts. But are you ready to take it to the next level? Join the Power BI team and friends to learn the best visualization techniques to take your skills to the next level with live demos and customer examples.

2:00PM PST: Building Content Packs for Power BI [BIA-317-M] in TCC 303
by Theresa Palmer
In this session you will learn about Content Packs development. Power BI enables you to create compelling content for your users in neatly packaged solutions containing a prebuilt data model, reports and dashboards. The Power BI team will show you how we design Content Packs and key tips and tricks that help you deliver awesome content with natural language enabled content for your users.

2:00PM PST: Cortana Analytics Deep Dive: Preconfigured Solutions [BIA-405-M] in TCC 305
by Elad Ziklik
This session will be dedicated to understanding pre-built solutions and APIs for natural interactions to help you get started quickly with solutions for your industry and engage your customers through natural interactions. It will cover the Azure Machine Learning Gallery and Machine Learning APIs.

3:30PM PST: Integrating with Power BI Developer APIs [BIA-316-M] in TCC 301-302
by Josh Caplan and Jon Gallant
In this not to miss session, the team will cover Power BI APIs, extensibility points, and tooling to help you get the most from your data. Learn how to use Power BI to add real-time dashboards, integrate charts into your UI, build content packs, and create custom visualizations.

3:30PM PST: Datazen Technical Deep Dive [BID-312-M] in TCC 304
by Chris Finlan and Paul Turley
In this session, you will learn from the masters of Datazen – a platform for Mobile BI that offers dazzling data visualizations. It will cover 1) Setting up a single Datazen server, 2) Administering the Datazen Server using the control panel, 3) Data source connectivity considerations including data view design and defining query parameters, 4) Installing and using the Datazen Publisher, and 5) Review basic and advanced scenarios around dashboard design and dashboard drill-through navigation.