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Managing Deliverable Expectations for Business Intelligence Project Success

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Business Intelligence (BI) projects are usually intended to meet a hybrid of different needs, frequently including standardized reports and dashboards, self-service reporting, and data discovery tools. Quite often, unexpected relationships and architectural challenges are found in data during the course of a project. Experienced BI teams are not strangers to mid-project discoveries such as many-to-many relationships instead of traditional dimensions, key relationships that do not map properly, and calculations that need to be modified for the unique needs of the business users.

Despite detailed working sessions with business users and preliminary data analysis, sometimes changes to requirements are needed for a project to meet the needs of the business. Even the most carefully planned projects can end up with initial SOWs that don’t fully capture the details of the actual development required to complete a project. Read more…

 
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Automate Bus Matrix Documentation Using DMV Queries from a Microsoft BI Tabular Solution for Project Management Scope Verification – Part 2

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Use an Automated Bus Matrix to Verify Specifications of a Tabular Model

Use an Automated Bus Matrix to Verify Specifications of a Tabular Model

This is Part Two, the final of two blog posts about automating the creation of a Bus Matrix in Power Pivot for Excel using DMV queries from an SSAS Tabular Model.

In the first part of this blog post series, which can be found at this link, I discussed the benefits of a Business (Bus) Matrix that can be automatically generated from a SQL Server Analysis Services Tabular Model. Typically, Project Managers and Lead Architects cannot always confirm that a Tabular Model is built to Requirements & Design planning specifications until development is complete and testing begins. An automated Bus Matrix would allow for the Tabular Model to be compared to a Project Management specifications checklist, which usually includes a Bus Matrix that was manually created before development began. With this methodology, discrepancies can be mitigated much earlier in the development process, minimizing rework. Existing Tabular Models that have sparse documentation, or which undergo frequent iterative changes, could also benefit from an automated Bus Matrix.

As promised in the first half of this blog post series, we are going to get to the nuts and bolts of building an automated Bus Matrix using DMV queries from a Tabular Model.

Read more…

 
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Automate Bus Matrix Documentation Using DMV Queries from a Microsoft BI Tabular Solution for Project Management Scope Verification – Part 1

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An automated Tabular Model Bus Matrix using a DMV query

An automated Tabular Model Bus Matrix using a DMV query

This is Part One of two blog posts about automating the creation of a Bus Matrix in Power Pivot for Excel using DMV queries from an SSAS Tabular Model.  UPDATE: Part 2 is now published and can be viewed at this link.

Have you ever spent several hours making a Business (Bus) Matrix for an existing cube, and wondered why you couldn’t automate the documentation process? Well, keep reading.

Anyone working in business intelligence (BI) knows that all projects always have thorough, detailed, and accurate documentation. Just kidding. Cuts in budget, crashed schedules, disconnected remote teams, resource turnover, and iterative development cycles frequently lead to lapses and shortcomings in the documentation of solutions.

So how can a Project Manager or Lead Architect have confidence that a BI solution is being built to specifications before it can be tested? I’m sure many of you have nervously awaited the completion of a long development process, hoping that it is does not need to be followed up by a change request for the solution architecture.

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SQL Saturday 332 Minnesota Follow Up and Links for Open Data & Microsoft BI Tools Presentation

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We had the opportunity to sponsor and participate in SQL Saturday 332 in Minneapolis this past weekend and attendance at the event was exceptional. The event was completely full with a long waiting list, so we thought a re-cap of my presentation on Open Data & Microsoft BI Tools would be helpful to those who were not able to attend.

You can download a copy of the slide deck which contains links and references at this link. If you have questions about the presentation or material I covered, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

If you’d like to learn more about the consulting work we do at GNet Group, here are a few good places to start:

 
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Lessons Learned in Migrating Emails to Office 365 from Exchange On-Prem

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Office 365 Email

This is the second post in my two-part series about best practices and “gotchas” for migrating emails to Office 365/Exchange Online. In this post we’ll look at the lessons learned while doing a Hybrid Exchange migration, a process we first covered in this post.

  1. It is a good idea to have your MX record pointing to Office 365 only, for many reasons. But be careful and make sure that if your organization uses a domain name like company.lan or company.local, keep in mind that in order for Directory Synchronization to work properly, and hybrid mail flow, that you will have to add an internet rout-able domain (.com) to your AD and assign that domain as your users’ UPN (User Principle Name). Otherwise you will run into problems with mail flowing to your on-premises mailbox after changing the MX record.
  2. As a part of the setup, the Hybrid configuration automatically sets up the outbound and inbound connectors to allow for mail flow to occur on-premises to Office 365. The Hybrid Configuration wizards will initially setup these automatically, but something to remember is to change these connectors to use Opportunistic TLS vs. Forced TLS that is originally set on. These settings can be changed from the Exchange Online Admin portal under Mail Flow, and then Connectors.
  3. Mail flow to the on-premises organization also may be stopped because of the name of the server displaying on the Exchange Servers Banner from an EHLO command. By default, the Hybrid configuration wizard will put the external FQDN of your Exchange Server on the internal receive connector. So when Office 365 connects via that connector, if the banner names don’t match, it will put a stop on all traffic being sent to that connector, i.e., all on-premises mailboxes.
  4. In case there’s a need to setup UM on a Lync on-premises server, make sure to add the hosted UM server as EXAP.um.outlook.com, and make sure to setup the custom domain name in Office 365 to be authoritative. This can only be done by using PowerShell with the Microsoft Online or Windows Azure AD module installed.
  5. Use the Exchange Online Portal to initiate Mailbox moves rather than using the on-premises Exchange Server to do the remote mailbox moves. This provides more insight on the status of mailbox moves, and will display any errors more easily by doing it from the Exchange Management Console on-premises.

These are the best tricks I’ve gathered so far in the migrations I’ve completed for various GNet Group clients. What other best practices or “gotchas” have you found helpful in Office 365 migrations?

 

 
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