About Steve

"I am an experienced and professional Business Intelligence Developer and Data Analyst with full SQL Server BI stack (SSAS/SSIS/SSRS] skills, expert VBA, T-SQL/MDX/PL-SQL, Tableau, Microsoft Excel & Access knowledge, capable of analysing and working with very large (10Tn+ record) data sets and producing engaging & interactive reports and dashboards to all users from the board down. With additional skills in investigation, requirements gathering, attention to detail, excellent communication and documentation, and an Honours degree in Law would ideally suit a position where these all-round skills can continue to be utilised."

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Key Specialisms

  • Data and data analysis
  • Data architecture
  • Data warehousing, data optimisation (for querying and visualisation) and data transformation
  • Data Visualisation (for business) with any tool
  • Tableau development

Key Experience:

  • VBA/VB.Net Development & Report Automation
  • Data Analaytics & Reporting
  • SQL Server 2005+
  • Data Modelling 
  • Dashboard Development
  • Tableau Development
  • SSIS (ETL) & SSAS (OLAP Cube) Development
  • Analytical and Reporting
  • Technical Documentation and process flows
  • Tableau Training
  • Communicating with data
  • Advanced experience of SQL Server, Teradata, DB2, Oracle, MySQL

Tableau Interests and Specialisms:

  • Visualising for business (not too interested in infographs)
  • Complicated and complex problems
  • ML
  • Connecting Tableau to OLAP
  • Very large data sources (multi-trillion row tables)
  • Performance dashboards
  • Performance optimisation
  • Jupyter to Tableau porting
  • Impossible solutions
  • Teaching Tableau
  • Teaching Tableau to SQL analysts

But above all else

I really enjoy solving problems, and collaborating with others to solve technically challenging  tasks.

When I'm not sailing, nor climbing, nor working, nor adding to this site, I can be found on the Tableau forums, usually knee-deep in one of the more complex problems involving Queries and Performance or Datasources & Connections.

 How my Tableau journey began... (expand)

As for me, back in 2008, I was looking for a tool that offers a shiny, user-friendly interface to replace Microsoft's SSRS with the one prerequisite - the tool must maintain a live-connection to the underlying data-sources which were SQL Server databases; which instantly ruled-out the ageing Qlikview and a host of other tools and, with its 65536 (16 bit) row limit, MS Excel was also quickly off the cards (I had been building vba dashboards that had a timed reconnect for years, and believe me, this is not an easy task to undertake, especially when it comes to upgrade time).

Investigating the market, I quickly got myself a copy of an outgoing v4 release of Tableau - things were very different back then and very basic compared to today's standards, but for 2008 this tool was mind-blowing, like I had just found a unicorn, and not just a seriously malnourished rhino - the nightmares haven't ceased.

For me (and you), I benefit from coming from the world of databases so for the most part, my Tableau Forum answers are considering that the asker might just be wanting to use Tableau on a 1 billion row table such that whilst I often avoid much of the new functionality such as LOD calcs, there is method in my madness - with 10 years of Tableau tuning for very large sources (trillion-row 250-column wide tables etc) and nearly 20 years (in 2019) architecting, building and optimising databases and warehouses, follow me in my Tableau adventure, as I upload and continue to build on more than 10 years of experience, tutorials, challenges and tears until I finally decide to hang-up my Tableau travelling-cloak.

I will be honest I have a very love / hate relationship with Tableau, witnessing over the years with both deep-rooted interest and nerve-twinging frustration as Tableau has grown, not always in the most user-friendly directions, cursing Tableau's unnecessary intricacies whilst praising the tools' abilities, most who meet me know that I consider myself to be an idiot, as only a complete fool would persevere when all the signs say I should stop; but with this, has come a huge passion for the tool and a desire to help others navigate their way to Tableau success.


Famous last words:

I love that you are really getting into Tableau, but remember, level-of detail expressions are not the only answer