Despite a bit of disorganization, the Microsoft BI stack -- last I heard it was called BISM -- the Business Intelligence Semantic Model -- is powerful and useful. Learning it can be a long process. Essentially, Microsoft's BI offerings are all categorized under their database offerings, so when you go into the field of database administration, you will also learn reporting, cubes, data cleansing, master data, integration, visualization and more!
Microsoft offers a series of certifications that cover the entire gamut of database and data analysis tools. I talked about them briefly here: Road to Certification: 70-461 Defeated and an Analogy between Microsoft Certifications and the US Educational System. One way to approach these certifications is to simply buy the training kits that Microsoft offers. This is not a bad approach in all honesty for people who learn by reading -- but some people simply learn better in visual environments.
Luckily for us, there are a whole bunch of videos out there to help us learn the basics of these database and data analysis tools. Here is a quick breakdown of my favorite sites:
- Microsoft Virtual Academy. First and foremost, Microsoft has produced hundreds if not thousands of categorized videos and they are all available for free. No matter which Microsoft product you'd like to learn or which certification you're studying for, there's some sort of offering. Find out which certification you're interested in, buy the training kit, and start watching videos! They even have quizzes to test your knowledge.
- MSBI Academy. This is another great site -- one of my favorites. It goes into depth on a lot of really interesting topics that might be for the more advanced users -- cubes, PowerPivot, etc.
- Learn Microsoft BI. This site is not as well organized or as well updated, but it does have some good videos for some slightly older products.
- Lynda. You can learn quite a bit about the Microsoft BI stack from this general purpose learning site.
- YouTube. YouTube is not exactly set up for Microsoft BI -- you know it's a big, disorganized mess when it comes to finding structured information. But if you know what you're looking for, just type it into the search box and start roaming around until you find something you like!
If you know of other good video tutorial sites cover the Microsoft BI stack, please drop me a line!