Lab Sessions

Experiential Learning with Hands-On Labs

Dive headfirst and learn through experience in these hands-on 2-hour labs at the PASS Business Analytics Conference. Led by world-class analytics experts, get the skills needed to solve your own data problems by working alongside the best.

Registration for labs is now open. Reserve your seat today! Registration for the 2-hour labs will remain open until 12:00am PDT Thursday April 16th. You must be registered for the PASS Business Analytics Conference to reserve a lab seat.

Dean Abbot

Starting Your First Predictive Analytics Project (2-Hour Lab) - Dean Abbott

Predictive analytics has become a critical component of a big data strategy. However, many organizations struggle with taking the first steps. This session defines predictive analytics, describes how it differs from related approaches such as Business Intelligence and statistics, outlines how key considerations that can cause these projects to fail.

Register for "Starting Your First Predictive Analytics Project"

Ken Puls

Optimizing your Power Pivot Models Using Power Query (2-Hour Lab) - Ken Puls

You know the scene; you've built a beautiful Power Pivot model that has solved all of your organization’s problems. You open it up, click Refresh and wait patiently for all the data to stream in. That’s okay, there’s a lot of data and you expect that. Then you click a slicer and the initial data load is one thing, but consumer’s patience during use is another. Their tolerance for latency is much less. In this session, we’ll explore what you can do to increase your Power Pivot model performance. We’ll look at the key factors that affect performance, as well as what you can do to deal with them. In addition, we’ll look at how sourcing your data with Power Query can give you ultimate control over your data’s size and shape, and tricks to optimize it for Power Pivot consumption.

Register for "Optimizing your Power Pivot Models Using Power Query"


Creating Awesome Charts in Excel (2-Hour Lab) - Chandoo

In this Visualize & Inform Hands-On Lab, Chandoo shows you how to create awesome charts using Microsoft Excel. Understand the principles behind chart selection, creation & formatting to impress & communicate. In this hands-on lab, you will create many Excel charts for common business analysis needs, understand why they work, how to improve them and what mistakes to avoid.

  • 6 types of analytical needs
  • 8 recommended chart types
  • Data to ink ratio & maximizing it
  • How to choose colors & fonts
  • Formatting guidelines
  • Charts for Budget vs. Actual analysis
  • Charts for trends & forecasts
  • Charts for comparing and highlighting best (worst) performers 

Anyone familiar with Excel and already creating charts (doing analysis) should attend. Recommended for CXOs, Managers or Analysts or people who need to communicate often.

Register for "Creating Awesome Charts in Excel"

Scott Shaw

Big Data and the Data Lake from the Analyst Perspective (2-Hour Lab) - Scott Shaw

The concept of a data lake is emerging as a popular way to organize and build the next generation of data systems to master new big data challenges. Organizations are seeking to create data lakes because they manage and use data with increased volume, variety, and unprecedented velocity. However, how can data professionals and analysts access the data lake for the expected insights at the velocity required by the business?

In this two-hour hands-on lab, we will take every day relevant business scenarios to learn how to spring business value from data held in the data lake, in order to answer key questions:

  • How do we import structured, semi-structured and unstructured data into our data lake? 
  • How can we access unstructured and semi-structured data to derive value for the enterprise?
  • How do we do analytics and reporting over the data lake in Hadoop?
  • What are the similarities and differences between accessing data held in a data lake in terms of architecture and syntax? 

We will springboard from SQL to learn how to do familiar activities such as import, access and visualize data in our data lake. To do this, we will use technology such as Hive, Hue, and the Hadoop Distributed Files System (HDFS) as a data source. 

Come and join Scott for this practical two-hour lab which will build on your existing SQL skills to demystify Big Data and the Data Lake for analysts. 

This session is aimed at people who want to keep pace with the latest Big Data technology by adopting the latest techniques to explore the data lake, building on their existing analytical knowledge.

Register for "Big Data and the Data Lake from the Analyst Perspective"
Dan Fylstra

Beyond What-If: How to Build Analytic and Decision Models in Spreadsheets (2-Hour Lab) - Daniel Fylstra

Countless ads and articles from software vendors claim that you need to “outgrow the spreadsheet” and learn a whole new platform and language (theirs) in order to build analytic models and solve decision problems. Yet virtually all these tools feature “Excel import/export” buttons, and meanwhile tons of users have built analytic and decision models directly in Excel, often getting big payoffs. So, can you do it? Sure you can, but it requires a somewhat different way of thinking about your spreadsheet model, and more than

In this hands-on lab, you will do it!  We’ll walk you through creation of Solver models for optimization, Monte Carlo simulation models for risk analysis, decision analysis models and more in Excel 2013, running on supplied PCs at your lab room seat.  Analytic decision models are very often based on the summarized data we get from business intelligence tools – so we’ll use Power Pivot and Power Query to retrieve, summarize and deliver the data we need for our Excel-based analytic models.

Register for "Beyond What-If: How to Build Analytic and Decision Models in Spreadsheets"

Ready to dive into the world of analytics?