August has been a busy blog month so I am going to keep this one short and sweet. There are a couple key updates in SQL Server World floating around right now. The first is related to PASS, another comes from Marco Russo on rallying for a BI MCM and the last comes from SQLCAT.
A PASS announcement on July 26, 2013 by Thomas Larock explains additional new leadership and the vision for PASS over the next two years. This was followed by a SQL Connector article on August 21, 2013 titled the PASS Mission Statement: Updated for a Growing Community. PASS is expanding into new international markets and new data-related markets. We have already seen PASS touching new audiences including the Business Analyst (Excel User) with the PASS BA Conference (similar to INFORMS). PASS, like the SQL Server product line, is also expanding into new areas of data such as big data and cloud.
With PASS BA and these two recent announcements, there seems to be confusion about what this means for PASS within the wider SQL Server community. I have heard some misinformation myself last week prompting me to ask around and write this blog. If confused, read the two PASS vision and mission articles linked above and you will see that the foundational SQL Server Core is still there in the PASS we know and love. PASS is expanding like many other successful offerings do – ie. Cool Ranch Doritos, Spicy BBQ Doritos, Doritos Mini Bites in the Doritos product line. Expansion is natural in technical innovation product and services strategy. Here is an Ansoff Matrix published by Harvard Business Review and a McKinsey Strategy guru. Imagine the PASS SQL Server audience as that Core layer and the recent PASS changes being the Adjacent audience expansions to continue growth. I don’t have inner insight into the PASS strategy. From the outside if I compare what I see happening to generic winning growth strategies, the recent expansion while also optimizing the Core is a great move.
The next bit of news comes from Marco Russo and is a Call to Action for Microsoft BI pros. Please write an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and tell them you would be interested in Microsoft Certified Architect (MCA) and Microsoft Certified Solutions Master (MCSM) for Business Intelligence certifications just like the SQL Service Database pro path. Make your voice heard! We know it can work since we recently saw Microsoft answer customer pleas to add an Excel 2013 SKU with Power Pivot after the infamous Rob Collie rally earlier this year. (Also per Rob Collie, Excel 2013 Standalone will *not* successfully install Power Pivot or Power View until the September 10, 2013 auto update http://ow.ly/ojlaS.)
The other SQL Server news comes from SQLCAT on August 21, 2013. The popular SQLCAT.com website is shutting down and the content on it is merging into MSDN to minimize reader confusion and to streamline content publication. That move makes a lot of sense and I sure hope they use a domain pointer/redirect when it migrates so people that miss this news in all the daily noise can easily find content they bookmarked and are used to getting at SQLCAT.com. SQLCAT also added Azure Cloud coverage into their scope and with that change now has two Twitter handles: @SQLCAT and @WinAzureCAT. So update your favorites, bookmarks, feeds and Twitter to continue getting the deep technical content that the SQLCAT team delivers.
…and PowerBI Preview is now available for the first wave of groups that subscribed to be notified.