Preview of the PASS 2016 Business Analytics Conference

Technology and analytics are intersecting, and the business world is embracing this new data culture. As a result, business and data analytics professionals are in high demand. A recent Computerworld survey reported that 24% of respondents were planning to hire data analytics professionals by the end of 2016. Yet all those respondents also expected this skill to be the most difficult to find.

Over the last four years, PASS has held the Business Analytics Conference, which has provided the opportunity to build essential skills for tomorrow’s business analyst through expert sessions, hands-on labs, and inspirational keynotes. The conference has allowed attendees to return to their jobs and unleash the analytics power within Excel, Power BI, SQL, Hive, and other technologies to drive performance and optimization for their organizations and customers.

The 2016 conference is coming to the Fairmont, San Jose, May 2-4, 2016 and SQL Server Pro will be onsite to cover the event and offer insights into the content and news coming from the event. Over the course of these three days, you will:

  • learn tools and techniques to unleash the power of data and boost the performance and accuracy of predictive analysis

  • meet experts and peers from around the globe

  • hear about challenges (and discover solutions) with like-minded attendees who share your passion for analytics.

Jen Stirrup, Principal at Data Relish and Director of PASS Business Analytics Community Portfolio stresses that while there is competition for attendees in this space, “This conference 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. It recognizes the need for a broader technology set.”

Pre-Conference Sessions

There are four pre-conference sessions from industry-leaders, covering advanced Excel analytics, visual storytelling, Power BI, Power Pivot, and Reporting. These speakers include Daniel Fylstra, CEO of Frontline Systems; Mico Yuk, CEO of BI Brainz; Rob Collie, CEO and Avi Singh, Principal Consultant,; and Sandy Rivas, Program Manager, Microsoft. Full abstracts for each of these extended-length sessions are available here.


This year’s opening keynote features 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 Interactive Telecommunications Program, and a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Design Innovation. From 2010-12, Jer was the Data Artist in Residence at The New York Times. In his keynote, Make Data More Human, Thorp will posit that 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 2 Keynote, The Trust Imperative: A Framework for Ethical Data Use, is presented by Susan Etlinger, an industry analyst with Altimeter Group, a Prophet Company, where she promotes the smart, well-considered and ethical use of data. In her keynote, Susan will address public concerns over corporate use of consumer data, from ad targeting and personalization to product development, risk management and beyond.

General Sessions

Combining in-depth, how-to sessions and practical case studies with hands-on labs and expert panels, each conference track builds on the others to give you the real-world knowledge and experience you can put to work immediately to get more from your data.

These sessions are presented by industry thought leaders from a wide variety of corporate and governmental sectors, as well as technical experts from Microsoft, Hortonworks and Pyramid Analytics.  Many sought-after technical voices will also be presenting or in attendance, networking with attendees in the PASS Community Zone.

Over the course of the two days of general sessions scheduling, attendees will have the opportunity to select from over 50 offerings across four tracks that cover the Analyst’s Journey, the theme of the conference: Discover & Integrate, Analyze & Interpret, Visualize & Inform, and Communicate & Lead. More details on the sessions are available here.

The Analyst’s Journey is summed up nicely by Ms. Stirrup: “Beyond the technology, the conference is also aimed at helping to foster the next generation of data leaders, 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 Officer and Chief Analytics Officer.

“Every organization is trying to be ‘data-driven’ at the moment. 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. That’s what the PASS Business Analytics Conference is designed to achieve,” Jen added.

About PASS

PASS is known for its strong global community of technology and data professionals who leverage Microsoft’s Data Platform technologies. PASS produces valuable and very successful events for its community members annually, including Virtual Chapters, SQLSaturdays, PASS Summit, and the Business Analytics Conference. For more information on the PASS Business Analytics Conference, the full list of general sessions, sponsorship, and registration details, please visit the Business Analytics Conference website. For more information about PASS and its events visit the PASS home page.

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