I’ve been in the California “South Bay” area now since Friday evening. If you have never been, it is an amazing place to visit. The landscape and weather diversity in the San Francisco area is quite a site to behold. This was my first trip here, and I have loved every minute of it. One of my favorite views was sitting in AT&T Park (San Francisco Giants) on a sunny Sunday afternoon, with an incredible view of the bay. Just beautiful.

The PASS Business Analytics Conference kicked off Monday morning with the pre-conference sessions. I attended Rob Collie and Avi Singh’s talk on the Power BI Revolution. These guys are passionate evangelists for the true Self-Service Analytics professional. One of the greatest challenges organizations face is finding a way for the information technology teams to work together with the business analysts responsible for providing insights to the business. This is not as easy as it seems it should be. There are barriers that both sides must overcome. Rob and Avi did a great job showing how Power BI and the Excel tools provide a great resource for that analytics professional to do their job well.

I’ve had an opportunity to meet some really neat and very intelligent people. I’m a new fan of Mico Yuk (@micoyuk). She is giving the keynote presentation this morning, but I had a chance to speak with her last night. Her experience with and passion for in visual analytics was palpable. I look forward to hearing her talk today. I also had an opportunity to meet Rick Grantham (@BIStrategyGuy) with Excel.TV and was even featured in an Excel TV interview!

There are several recurring themes that have come up at this conference:
– Bridging the gap between IT and business (and BI and Data Science)
– Finding the right tools to empower the analyst
– Defining an education path for analysts to move into predictive analytics

I think PASS Business Analytics will continue to grow in the years to come. The need is there. The passion is there. Our team at Think Data Insights looks forward to being a part of it.