Friday, June 05, 2015

Going back to Oracle

I am thrilled to say that after 4 years of working with Microsoft SQL Server and the BI Tool Stack, I am going back to working with Oracle. I enjoyed working with Microsoft and getting to add another tool in my tool belt, but I am very excited about this new opportunity.

Hopefully this opportunity will lend itself to more blog posts.

Stay tuned for more details.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Remarkable Employees

I am not the original author of the eight qualities of remarkable employees below and unfortunately, I don't know who wrote it, but it is something I believe that I am. So thank you to whomever the Author is.

Great employees are reliable, dependable, proactive, diligent, great leaders and great followers... they possess a wide range of easily-defined—but hard to find—qualities.
A few hit the next level. Some employees are remarkable, possessing qualities that may not appear on performance appraisals but nonetheless make a major impact on performance.

Here are eight qualities of remarkable employees:

1. They ignore job descriptions. The smaller the company, the more important it is that employees can think on their feet, adapt quickly to shifting priorities, and do whatever it takes, regardless of role or position, to get things done.

When a key customer's project is in jeopardy, remarkable employees know without being told there's a problem and jump in without being asked—even if it's not their job.

2. They’re eccentric... The best employees are often a little different: quirky, sometimes irreverent, even delighted to be unusual. They seem slightly odd, but in a really good way. Unusual personalities shake things up, make work more fun, and transform a plain-vanilla group into a team with flair and flavor.

People who aren't afraid to be different naturally stretch boundaries and challenge the status quo, and they often come up with the best ideas.

3. But they know when to dial it back. An unusual personality is a lot of fun... until it isn't. When a major challenge pops up or a situation gets stressful, the best employees stop expressing their individuality and fit seamlessly into the team.

Remarkable employees know when to play and when to be serious; when to be irreverent and when to conform; and when to challenge and when to back off. It’s a tough balance to strike, but a rare few can walk that fine line with ease.

4. They publicly praise... Praise from a boss feels good. Praise from a peer feels awesome, especially when you look up to that person.

Remarkable employees recognize the contributions of others, especially in group settings where the impact of their words is even greater.

5. And they privately complain. We all want employees to bring issues forward, but some problems are better handled in private. Great employees often get more latitude to bring up controversial subjects in a group setting because their performance allows greater freedom.

Remarkable employees come to you before or after a meeting to discuss a sensitive issue, knowing that bringing it up in a group setting could set off a firestorm.

6. They speak when others won’t. Some employees are hesitant to speak up in meetings. Some are even hesitant to speak up privately.

An employee once asked me a question about potential layoffs. After the meeting I said to him, “Why did you ask about that? You already know what's going on.” He said, “I do, but a lot of other people don't, and they're afraid to ask. I thought it would help if they heard the answer from you.”

Remarkable employees have an innate feel for the issues and concerns of those around them, and step up to ask questions or raise important issues when others hesitate.

7. They like to prove others wrong. Self-motivation often springs from a desire to show that doubters are wrong. The kid without a college degree or the woman who was told she didn't have leadership potential often possess a burning desire to prove other people wrong.

Education, intelligence, talent, and skill are important, but drive is critical. Remarkable employees are driven by something deeper and more personal than just the desire to do a good job.

8. They’re always fiddling. Some people are rarely satisfied (I mean that in a good way) and are constantly tinkering with something: Reworking a timeline, adjusting a process, tweaking a workflow.

Great employees follow processes. Remarkable employees find ways to make those processes even better, not only because they are expected to… but because they just can't help it.

One of my favorite quotes... from Steve Jobs

“Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

Youtube video of the commercial

Monday, April 13, 2015

Losing Statistics

In a world where data is king, why do we as Business Intelligence Developers not capture our own data. For instance, when we send reports out by email, we lose any kind of insight we may have on our reports. Who is looking at them, how often, what are peak times? This can make it very difficult for down times and notifications if there are any issues.

We also make some items available through Tableau, but unless you deep dive in to their PostGres database, you only see the last time someone logged on to the system. Then there's Sharepoint. I'll admit, I don't know a lot about whether you can get this level of detail from Sharepoint, but I would be happy to assume that you can get a lot more than by only attaching reports to emails.

We need a better plan.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Being lucky enough to go from DBA to Microsoft Business Intelligence

So far in my career I have been lucky enough to work with some really hot products. I started out of school as an Oracle DBA, while also performing SAP Basis duties. I did this for about 3 years, when I decided it was time to try something new. What I didn't know at the time was that my Director did not want to lose me as a resource.

Our company was also starting to migrate our current Oracle and Cognos Data Warehouses to a Microsoft Data Warehouse. With my background as a DBA, they felt it was the next logical step in my career and they were right. I started in the group taking on SQL Server DBA tasks, while gaining the necessary skills with the Microsoft BI Stack. Looking back this was such an amazing opportunity. I was able to be an integral part of building the new warehouse from scratch. I had some brilliant co-workers, that were so willing to help me learn. I also had the opportunity to work with some really knowledgeable consultants from Pragmatic Works. A side effect to our company moving from the previous data warehouse to the new data warehouse was adopting Agile development. I had the opportunity to attend many BI related and Agile related trainings.

And now after leaving that company to join my current employer, I have continued to expand my BI skills. I am once again back to doing a lot of the SQL Server DBA tasks, but also learning more aspects of the process. I am still using Agile and the BI stack, but I've had the ability to bring my ideas to another warehouse conversion while also learning new approaches to migrations,  development and architecture.

My future goals are to become MCSE Certified and work towards an Architect position. At some point, I would also like to become a Microsoft MVP.

Trying LinkedIn Premium for a free month

Trying LinkedIn Premium for a free month. I have been a member and big fan of LinkedIn for quite some time. This is how I actually found my current position or should I say this is how my current position found me. I wasn't really looking for a new opportunity, but one day a recruiter contacted me through my profile view and asked to talk. I was having one of those days at work and I figured what could it hurt. Within a week I had done a phone interview, on-site interview and had been offered the position. It was amazing, hardly no effort at all on my part.

So backed to LinkedIn Premium. Quite often I get the pop up, try premium free for 1 month, so once again, I figured why not, let's give it a try. 

Here are the stated benefits.

- Unlock the full list of(Who's Viewed Your Profile)
- Contact hiring managers and recruiters directly with InMail
- Move your job applications to the top of the list as a Featured Applicant
- Filter opportunities by salary, and see salary estimates for all job listings
- See how you compare to other applicants with Applicant Insights.

I'll try an remember to write an update on whether I saw any real benefit or not.

Friday, March 06, 2015

What are those randomly generated SQL Server Agent jobs with the funny character sequence?

They some times look like 266102E5-EF3A-4D3B-B2AA-4907MM1DF28C or maybe D087318E-0C24-4895-9ECF-9530AA4D11B3 and they randomly show up in your Sql Server Agent list or do they randomly show up?
Well they are your Reporting Services subscription jobs. The nice thing is that you can dissect the details in the job and then use those details in a master job plan.
We recently did this so that our Report subscriptions were no longer time based, but became process based. We were originally scheduling the subscription to run based on what time we guessed the cube would finish processing and as you already know, guessing what time any process completes is a bad option. Once we took the details out of the randomly named job and put them in to the master job plan, we were able to deliver our subscription a lot earlier and without any manual process of checking to make sure it had all of the day's details.