#TSQL2SDAY – Data Modeling Gone Wrong


Here we are again, time for TSQL2sDay. This is actually the 72nd one, that is long enough to finance and pay off a car these days. This month our gracious host is none other than Mickey Stuewe (  BLOG  |  TWITTER  ) and she’s asked us to tell  a story about Data Modeling Gone Wrong. I have to say that I really no nothing about a data model going wrong. Now hold on I am not done yet. You are wondering WTH?! is this girl still sick? Has she lost her marbles? I’ve never had these issues because:

  • Reasons
  • Applications
  • Egos



First of all, you have to admit that something has gone wrong for a problem to exist. Now I know that my other two reasons can still fall into this category but we’ll save them for later. Reasons can be that you’ve grown or aged yourself into a black hole of data model hell. Here is an example.   When I worked in product insurance (read cell phones and everything else your carrier tries to sell you) the systems were designed way back in the 80’s. When building a system like that I am sure no one knew that by the end of 2014 more than 7 billion phones would be used around the world. So like any good developer/architect/designer, the primary key was….wait for it………cell phone number. When I first started with ABC, phone numbers were not getting recycled for about 3 years. That means if you disconnected service your old number collected dust for 3 years. When I left on average that was about 3 weeks. The other side of this coin is all of the carriers did the same thing and every device they sell you with connectivity has a phone number. This creates issues on 2 levels. First your PK getting recycled is unthinkable and second how do you tie things together for single accounts, how do you create a family plan? Wasn’t a bad model when it started but sure ended up that way.


I am 100% certain some of the worst data models I have ever seen were provided by an application or written by an application developer. Trying to keep all your relationships inside the application so I can’t possibly know what is going on in your database is just crazy talk. So why do application developers design databases? Because we let them. In the course of my career I have only met 1 application (java) developer who had a clue about databases. Currently my husband works with .net devs who design databases and do cute things in customer tables like only including FULL NAME as a column. I assume, that with all things this boils down to time, money and clearly a management lack of understanding. I give people a lot of slack for making mistakes, being new at something and having not fully embraced the engine.


Remember when I said you have to admit something has gone wrong for a problem to exist? Well, sometimes egos get in the way. You know there is that one guy who nods his head “yes” to every manager request; they love him, they promote him and they let him be on all the biggest projects. I have worked with a DBA Dev that was trying to prove how great they were so they over-normalized a database to death. Great news: when deploying stored procedures you were not allowed more than 10 joins; it took 6 just to get a customer name and address. Then there is the “it’s not my problem” problem. This happens when all anyone cares about is fast writes to the database so everything is designed to accept dumps of XML. When providing new services there will be a need to report at a minimum it’s growth rate and no one has mentioned to the business that getting data out of they fancy new system will suck, and no one wants to pay for a data mart. Generally I heard “well they can pay for a reporting database later” or “guess they should have thought of that.” For me, it is always a sad day when an EGO is running the team, creating the new system or, hell, just breathing in my air space. The stakeholders don’t know what you don’t tell them.   Really I’ve never seen anything out right die due to poor design, but I have seen a few things that make me shake my head in wonder.

Power BI–Visualizing SQLSaturday Data

Inside SQLSaturday

This morning I was having a discussion with my husband about our SQLSaturday location. He is extremely concerned that moving the event further away from downtown Nashville would hurt attendance. I tried discussing it with him but he finally said “I’d like to see the data so we could know where everyone is coming from.” I said well I have all the data give me a minute. 10 minutes later I am Skyping him asking how to share with him the 2 Power BI maps I have made.

How did we get here? I ran the last 2 Nashville SQLSaturday events. Because I took a big leap in . . . → Read More: Power BI–Visualizing SQLSaturday Data

Starting over with Power BI

I had decided it was time to write a new presentation and happily chose Power BI, being that it’s the new hotness and looks to be the future of Business Intelligence. My timing couldn’t have been better with the general release going live recently it seems like now is the time to get going. I have titled this starting over because I had been using Power BI to create maps and other fun things inside Excel; it seems fitting since the changes to Power BI are coming in fast and furious. So I am here to tell you what it took to get back on track with this new release.

. . . → Read More: Starting over with Power BI

#SQLSatIndy, Shaving Yak and Power BI

You are probably wondering how these things are all related. I love summer, when there isn’t a signed SOW I can find a million things to do outdoors. I love being out in the sun. This leaves me very unmotivated to be indoors doing things, like writing new presentations. Hence the problem.

The Indianapolis SQLSaturday is near and dear to our hearts. First we love Hope Foley [ BLOG | TWITTER ], she’s one kick ass woman and she’ really an inspiration. Next Indy is only an hour away from our family and they were the first user group I ever attended. So it’s no surprise that we both submitted . . . → Read More: #SQLSatIndy, Shaving Yak and Power BI

5 Simple things I forget about SSRS – Multi Select Parameters

For some reason whenever I get to working on a report I am really irritated at how I “forget” that SSRS doesn’t handle multi-select parameters at all. I am irritated at myself for pushing this horrid fact from my brain, my reluctance to remember or maybe that the painful truth is a coping mechanism or I am just in denial–maybe it’s been fixed.. Then I am reminded how Microsoft failed us by not making this an actual feature. I feel the writing has been on the wall for a while now SSRS is a fading technology. I do however know that there will be SSRS servers running for years to . . . → Read More: 5 Simple things I forget about SSRS – Multi Select Parameters

Inside SQLSaturday – Romancing your Sponsors

Romancing your Sponsors

To be honest, this seems like a no brainer, but I have noticed that in some locations the sponsors are just “there” so to speak. So these are my tips and a lot of them I have gathered from the sponsors over the last year or so.

Make sure your sponsor area gets good foot traffic–this is how they meet your attendees. Don’t build rooms as tracks that would keep folks in 1 room or one end of a building the entire day. Have lunch set up early and allow the sponsors and lunch speakers to go through so they will be ready for the lunch break. . . . → Read More: Inside SQLSaturday – Romancing your Sponsors

5 Simple things I always forget about SSRS – Custom Color Palette

There are spells where I am inside SSRS daily and then there are some stretches of time where I wrapped up doing other things and don’t see SSRS for months on end. I always seem “surprised” when I forget some of SSRS’s behaviors. I am sure sometimes I am just pushing the bad out of my head and other times it might be that I just don’t use it often enough to keep that info close to the top of my stack. So I decided that I should start a small blog series as a gentle reminder to myself and maybe along the way it will help someone else.

Custom . . . → Read More: 5 Simple things I always forget about SSRS – Custom Color Palette

Nashville’s BI User Group – 1st Meeting


So that is about the only word I can use to sum up how I feel about last night’s meeting.

We had about 45 of #BIHappyHour in the hotel lobby, it was a little cramped but we were not moving into the open spaces very well. In the future will will do a better job of herding folks into more open space. It warmed my heart to see so many people chatting and introducing themselves. Our food was delivered, special thanks to my Dad and my husband for going to pick it up! I thought the food was awesome and I didn’t get to eat any of it until . . . → Read More: Nashville’s BI User Group – 1st Meeting

Inside SQLSaturday – PayPal


This year PASS changed the way money is handled for a SQLSaturday. In the past, they had a PayPal account and all the money was collected there. You would then request disbursement from them, with a limit of like 3 or something and 30 days after the event they’d allow you to pull out any remaining amount. Now, you must provide your own PayPal Account. But what does that mean to you? These details are things that happened to me and may not be a concern for you, if you’ve mastered PayPal.

Verify your account This was a newly-created PayPal account and we were unaware that you must verify . . . → Read More: Inside SQLSaturday – PayPal

Nashville’s newest Pass Chapter


If you have known me for very long you know that Kerry and I have been talking about starting a Business Intelligence user group here in Nashville for about a year. At first we were just going to do some additional meetings under the SQL user group’s umbrella. We thought that working as a lager group could be better for both groups. However we finally discovered that BI was huge and there was a lot of interest in it. Just looking at MeetUp there are 3-4 data related groups.

We are pleased to announce the launch of a new PASS chapter here in Nashville. The Nashville Business Intelligence . . . → Read More: Nashville’s newest Pass Chapter