SDN Conference, Zeist, The Netherlands

I am back this week from speaking at the SDN Conference in Zeist , The Netherlands last week.  

 If you speak Dutch:

This was my second year at the Software Developer Network’s annual conference and as always I was treated excellently as a presenter.  I would like thank specifically  Marcel Meijerand, Maarten Van Stam, Peter and Soraya Hamming, President Remi Caron and all the other people who smoothed the way for me. 

Although MS Office is not a major part of the Conference, I was able to drag a few folks in for my 3 sessions and they seemed to really appreciate what I told them about Access Services, Data Reporting With Excel and PowerPivot. 

Each of these topics are very exciting to me at this time so it was a joy to talk about them.  I am convinced that this is a “Perfect Storm” of offerings in Office 2010 and to be able to promote them was just great.

Access Services:

The bottom-line is that everyone understood the potential of Access Services for developers of Departmental Access Applications.  I explained the options available and I think successfully carved out the various options now available that seem kind of confusing at first look but that make perfect sense. 

Excel Database:

The thrust of this presentation was the idea of using Excel to “Pull” data into Excel rather than the current trend to “Push” data out to Excel from inside other (often VS) applications.  I discussed the Native capabilities of Tables with External Data sources as well as how to use VBA to drive DAO or ADO calles to all kinds of external data.  I also discussed the various ways I use this external data inside my Excel models. 

I got the feeling that most had never thought about the advantages of the techniques I showed them like the fact that you could use Excel to supply reports to consumers of information without the necessity of including them in your user-base of larger Corporate databases, with the attendant complexities and requirements.


My best score on the Evals was for PowerPivot session, and this reflects how this technology really hits a sweet-spot in the Power Excel User psyche.

In a basic discussion of the reasons for and the use of PowerPivot and BI in general it becomes quicky evident that PowerPivot exposes the traditional Excel power-user to a totally open-ended capability to get more and more out Excel as a powerful and flexible reporting and analysis tool.


In the end all three sessions drove one theme home for users of the Office Suite of products, that it is time to move all data consumed in Excel to a proper Relational Database Model and that Access Services and PowerPivot are serious offerings.  Thes technologies will allow them to move to a whole new level of value for their clients either internally or externally.

If anyone is interested in my sessions or some samples of what I discussed, feel free to contact me directly at


About Biggus Dickus

Dick is a consultant in London, ON Canada who specializes in Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Office Development.
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