Passionately curious about Data, Databases and Systems Complexity. Data is ubiquitous, the database universe is dichotomous (structured and unstructured), expanding and complex. Find my Database Research at SQLToolkit.co.uk . Microsoft Data Platform MVP

"The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing" Einstein

Thursday 24 March 2022

Self-Service Data Access Policy

Self-service data access policy now in public preview. This enables policies that are auto-generated that control access to underlying datasets.

The business value can be gained by helping with clarity on the consumer requesting access to the data sets. A business is often left asking

  1. Which dataset is the user requesting access to?
  2. Who must approve the data access request?
  3. How many approvers and how long will it take to gain access?
  4. Who must provision the data access?
  5. is data access transparent?
  6. how do I get a policy generated?

The self-service data access request triggers an approval workflow. Thus data discovery becomes easier for a data consumer with Purview on discovery and classification, self service access control. Data stewards and owners keep this information up to date. 

Monday 14 March 2022

SQLBits 2022: a hybrid event

What an emotional event. After 2 years of working at home, and everything virtual we all managed to meet in person. It was amazing to meet people in person again at Excel in London from 8 March to 12 March. It came with some apprehension and trying to be careful with testing daily, keeping your social distance as much as possible and some mask wearing as well. I hope this is the first of many more to come, but everyone I spoke to thought things would never return to how they were.  So I think for the time being hybrid events are here to stay.

I was a helper at SQLBits 2022, an orange shirt, helping out with room monitoring and the event. Also with the event being hybrid we also provided virtual room monitoring, chatting and helping those virtual attendees also enjoy the event.  Speakers were both in person and virtual.

Also this year was the start of something new, an initiative to try and help people on their own and first timers enjoy SQLBits.  We are the Bits Buddies.  The central hub was the newly envisioned community corner.  

In addition to that I was part of two panel discussions. 

  1. Data Governance with Azure Purview - Ask the Experts with Erwin de Kreuk, Wolfgang Strasser and Richard Munn asking the questions in this open session, there was the chance to ask the panel of 3 MVPs about data governance for your business using Azure Purview.
  2. Women in Tech: Keys to a Successful Career Panel Discussion with Rie Merritt, Pragati Jain and Cathrine Wilhelmsen. Our career is a journey that is unique to us, but that doesn't mean we don't have shared experiences. The panel of women data professionals had an open discussion on their winding career paths, how they got here, and where they're heading next. We talked about what it was like to be a woman in tech, what worked, and how building a strong network of people to be in your corner can help you achieve your goals.

I also took part in Venturi's Voice Podcast which focuses on tech, career and leadership. 

It was quiet a juggling act this year but it was a lot of fun and I think something special. I made new friends and the SQLBits organisers were amazing and all those who contributed to the success of the conference.  

Sunday 13 March 2022

Women in Tech: Keys to a successful career Panel Discussion

I took part in  a panel discussion at SQLBits about keys to having a successful career. There were a few questions discussed by the panellists. 

Q. Tell us a bit about your education and career path to this point.  Do you think it’s considered traditional?

Traditional in some senses that I  have an undergraduate first class honours degree in complexity systems management, many technical certifications from the Microsoft data platform, Oracle etc and a PhD which was a study into best practices and procedures for the management of database systems. Whilst that was traditional what was not traditional was that I did all of this whilst working full time as a DBA. It is amazing the difference having these qualifications.

Q. Do you think that having a college degree is required to get a job or be successful in tech?

Yes particularly as a woman to gain respect and to show you have the knowledge.

Q. What about certifications?

I am a firm believer that you should do as many as possible to help you learn and keep up to date with technology changes. 

Q. Name one skill you think every technologist should have?

Being able to communicate well is of prime importance. I guess to be methodical as well

Q. How has being part of a strong network impacted your career?

Given me confidence and somewhere to go for help. Given me courage to grow. SQLBits has been one of those places that has provided such a place for growth and expanding your mindset.

Q. What advice would you offer for someone looking to build their network?

Attend conferences, user groups, Saturday training events. 

Q. What has helped you get to where you are in the industry (education, mentoring, tech skill, etc.)?

Attending every SQLBits, continued education and learning via distance learning / virtual events, community networking at these conferences. 

Q. What advice would you have for others who want to set off in a similar direction?  

Never give up,  keep growing those technical skills, build a network

Q. Describe an example of where you've needed a mentor and how that turned out.

I've always turned to the data community, they are amazing and so will to help. I needed help with my PhD data collection and some amazing people helped share my survey worldwide. 

Q. How do you keep up with advances in your field?

Attending data conferences, reading articles every week, watch on demand training. I try to learn something new every week

Q. What are the greatest challenges that you as a woman face in this industry?

Not being being invited to those top meetings to rise above the glass ceiling, gaining respect for data skills and qualifications, being talked about but not included and finding that ally to help. 

Q. If you could go back in time & speak to yourself before you entered IT, what would you say?

Be yourself, it’s a continuous learning journey, be courageous and never give up. If you hope to grow you need tech qualifications, people skills and experience. Attend conferences from the start to build contacts. You need to put yourself out of your comfort zone to grow

Q. What is the question you are most tired of hearing on the women in tech subject?  How would you answer it so you never have to answer it again?  

I think it is not asking for special treatment, just wanting equal treatment and then the need to ask questions like this would be removed. 


Azure Purview Workflows now in Public Preview

Azure Purview Workflows moved to Public Preview 10 March.  This functionality enables customers to orchestrate the create, update and delete operations of data entities, have validation, and approval of these data entities using repeatable business processes.

The benefit of using Purview workflows is higher quality data, policy compliance, user collaboration, and change tracking awareness across the organization.

As part of public preview, two other features have been enabled

There are two kinds of workflows at the moment:

  • Data governance for data policy, access governance, and loss prevention. Scoped at the collection level.
  • Data catalog to manage approvals for CUD (create, update, delete) operations for glossary terms. Scoped at the glossary level.

There are workflow templates  to help create those workflows to save time in creating one.

Business terms within an organisation become a critical part of the everyday organisation. To improve efficiency in managing approvals this has been automated. The terms appearing in a business glossary can use the workflow templates to allow approved terms to be added, updated or deleted in the catalog.

The four templates available for the business glossary are:

  • Create glossary terms
  • Update glossary terms
  • Delete glossary terms
  • Import terms

Creating a data access request workflow is similar to above . Creating this enables a data consumer to go to the tool and request access. The workflow is followed to enable management of self service data access. The business benefits being speed, automatic approvals and efficiency of those data assets in Purview. 


Tuesday 8 March 2022

International Women's Day 2022

Imagine a gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination. A world that's diverse, equitable, and inclusive. 

A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can forge women's equality. Collectively we can all #BreakTheBias.

Two published resources I have written to share my thoughts on career

Computing enabled me to... Obtain a Ph.D. and a career in data Publication date: 21-6-2021 Communications of the ACM Journal Volume 64 Issue 7 Pages 7

How to stay motivated during a Ph.D Publication date: 7-2019 XRDS: Crossroads, The ACM Magazine for Students 25 (4), 10-11

Thursday 3 March 2022

SQLBits 2022 Sessions

SQLBits is only a few days away. It seems very strange to be attending an in person event. The SQLBits panel sessions I am taking part in are all about the community pulling together to create sessions. It is amazing that SQLBits have thought a lot about diversity, inclusion and the sqlfamily this year.

Tuesday 1 March 2022

Start your learning journey in Azure AI

To start your learning journey into Azure AI with a helping hand – Powered by Women in AI, the first episode of this three part series can now be viewed on YouTube following the live broadcast Monday, February 28, 2022 4:30 PM to 5:30 PM GMT.

Develop proficiency with the most in-demand skills and advance your career in 30 Days. There is 10 hours of learning paths to complete that set you up for the certification. Follow the link below to take part in the 30 days learn challenge.


Part one zero to hero