Most Active Speaker

Nico Jacobs

Nico Jacobs

Power BI, Azure data stack and SQL Server trainer at U2U

SQL Server, Business Intelligence en kunstmatige intelligentie trainer bij U2U

Brussels, Belgium


Dr. Nico Jacobs started his career as a data mining researcher at the university of Leuven, Belgium. He joined U2U in 2004 as an instructor, author and technology strategist. His current technical expertise focuses on Power BI and Data Engineering/Data Science on Microsoft Azure. As a passionate trainer, Nico likes to inspire his students to gain a thorough knowledge on the subject. Nico regularly speaks at local and international conferences. You can see what he’s up to by following @SqlWaldorf on Twitter .

Nico studeerde informatica aan KULeuven, en behaalde vervolgens een doctoraat in het domein van machine learning bij het departement computerwetenschappen (KULeuven).
Sinds 2004 werkt hij als trainer bij U2U. Hij verzorgt voornamelijk opleidingen rond SQL Server (zowel relationele databases als de BI stack), Power BI en de Azure data stack (Data Factory, Synapse Analytics, Azure Machine Learning,...)


  • Most Active Speaker 2023

Area of Expertise

  • Information & Communications Technology


  • sql server
  • power bi
  • Azure Data Lake
  • Analysis Services
  • Azure Cognitive Services
  • Analytics and Big Data
  • Azure Stream Analytics
  • DAX
  • Azure Synapse
  • Azure Machine Learning
  • Azure machine learning service
  • SQL Server

Getting started with SparkML in Microsoft Fabric

SparkML (aka MLlib) is a library for machine learning on the Spark framework. Crucial is the concept of Transformers and Estimators, with which parameterized pipelines can be built.
In this session you will see how to start building machine learning pipelines in Microsoft Fabric notebooks using SparkML, train a machine learning model and see how to use the resulting predictions in Power BI. Finally, you will learn about the FLAML framework for automated machine learning, and SynapseML for integration with Azure AI Services.

Deeper Dive Down DAX

If you've been building Power BI semantic models and you gained basic familiarity with DAX, you sometimes still bump into 'strange' behavior: inexplicable cyclic dependencies, measures which return weird values, performance issues, ... Or maybe you had troubles implementing the advanced calculation that you need.
In that case, it might be time to upgrade your DAX skills to the next level. In this training day you will learn some of the more advanced DAX concepts. First, you get a brief refresh on the topics of row and filter context. Then you dive deeper into the following DAX concepts:
Expanded tables
Context Transition
Calculation Groups
Windowing functions
Visual Calculations

Context transition in DAX

The DAX language is essential when building data models in either Power BI or Microsoft Fabric. One of the primary reasons why some DAX expressions have low performance is because it performs (too) many context transitions. But even worse, sometimes context transition (or the lack of context transition) causes unwanted results for your DAX expressions.
Context transitions occur in DAX when you need a filter context while you were in a row context. It can happen explicitly as well as implicitly.
This session dives into these context transitions. After a brief recap on row versus filter context, we will explore the different scenarios in which context transitions occur, and look into the factors that can make this process more expensive to execute.
This session is intended for participants who already have a basic understanding of row and filter context in DAX

Are Visual Calculations the solution to my Power BI challenges?

Visual Calculations allow Power BI developers to compute values scoped at just one visual. This has both advantages (easier to calculate certain values) and disadvantages (new DAX to learn, no reuse of calculations).
In this session, you will see the Visual Calculations in action and learn about new DAX functions specific for Visual Calculations, such that you can judge yourself if and where this new feature can be useful in your Power BI solution

Calculation groups in Power BI

DAX allows you to write powerful measures in Power BI. But sometimes you get the feeling that part of these measures are merely an advanced copy-paste from a previous measure.
Calculation groups allow you to easily create, manage and use similar measures in Power BI.
This session illustrates what calculation groups can be used for and how to create them in Power BI Desktop and the Tabular Editor.

Azure Data Explorer

Azure Data Explorer (ADX), also known as Kusto, becomes an interesting new player in the field of analyzing large volumes of online data.
In this session you will learn for which data analysis purposes ADX is best suited, and see the complete flow (from setup over data ingestion till querying with the Kusto query language) demonstrated.

Azure Synapse Analytics Serverless

Azure Synapse Analytics Serverless (ASAS) databases do not contain data, only external tables which point to files holding the data. Yet they are able to solve many of your big data challenges, while you only pay for what your query.
In this demo-heavy session you will learn how to explore large volumes of data, create a logical data warehouse and see how ASAS can be used for data transformation.

Data governance with Microsoft Purview

Where is that data stored? With the wide range of data storage options (On-prem, cloud, multi-cloud) it's far from trivial to know where all your corporate data is being kept, in which format, who's responsible? A related question is where sensitive data is being stored.
In this session you can see how Microsoft Purview (former Azure Purview) collects meta-data from on-prem as well as different cloud sources, identifies sensitive data and makes it easily searchable.

DAX in a Day

Power BI, Analysis Services Tabular and Excel Power Pivot users can improve their data models with the Data Analysis eXpression (DAX) language. Although this language looks a bit like Excel, many people struggle in writing more advanced DAX expressions.
In this one day workshop the different aspects of DAX are discussed. What are the types used in DAX? How to use DAX for creating calculated columns, tables and mainly measures? A lot of attention goes into the evaluation context: What is row context and filter context, and how do expanded tables relate to this?
A lot of DAX code will be dissected to illustrate these concepts, such that you leave with a better idea of how to use DAX for solving your business needs.

Azure Synapse Analytics

Azure Synapse Analytics makes data engineering easy. From extracting data from the source systems, transforming the data into bronze, silver or gold data all the way to hosting the data such that your business users can access them using familiar tools such as Excel and Power BI... Synapse Analytics brings it all together in a single environment.
See it all in action in this demo-rich introduction!

Get started with Azure Machine Learning

Azure Machine Learning plays a central role in the modern data warehouse: discovering useful patterns in all the collected data is essential in advanced analysis.
To get started with Azure machine learning you don't need to be an expert: Microsoft provides ready-made models that can be used immediately (e.g. Cognitive services). For other business problems (e.g. churn) Microsoft provides a template, but we need to tune this template to our business data. And for some analysis problems we need to build machine learning solutions from scratch.
In this demo-oriented session you will see these three ways of working with Azure Machine Learning demonstrated.

SQL Server surprises

SQL Server contains a few surprises: transactions that don’t do what most people expects, NULL values that cause queries to spit out unexpected results, data type issues and many more. These are not bugs but features, nicely documented. But hey, who reads the manual?!
In this very interactive session you can learn some SQL Server surprises, and how to avoid them in your own T-SQL code. This 1 hour session can save you from many hours of debugging...

Advanced stream analytics

In the current just-in-time world we want to analyze what is happening now, not what happened yesterday. Companies start to embrace Azure Stream Analytics, which makes it easy to analyze streams of incoming events without going into advanced coding. But for advanced analytics we need machine learning to learn patterns in your data. Azure Machine learning can do this for you. But the real beauty is that both products can easily work together.
So if you want to see how within 60 minutes we can learn patterns in streams of data and apply them on live data, be sure to attend this demo-oriented session.

Deceptive DAX

The DAX language is very powerful. Handy to compute the complex business values you need, but oh so frustrating if the DAX expression doesn't do what you expected it to do.

In this session several DAX expressions will be shown which do not always do what most Power BI users expect. Step by step these DAX expressions will be dissected and the evaluation context rules will be made clear such that you understand why the expressions behave different then expected.

This session aims at Power BI data model developers which have already a basic knowledge on writing DAX expressions and want to become more experienced in understanding the DAX evaluation context and extended tables.

Azure Machine Learning

Azure Machine Learning (ML) helps you with every aspect of the machine learning process. Learn how to manage datasets, build models automatically, graphically or with code, and deploy them as a REST service in one day!

A great way to get started in the field of artificial intelligence and machine learning is with Azure Machine Learning service. This 1 day workshop first introduces the most important concepts on machine learning in general. Then, in the next 3 modules, the different types of machine learning are demonstrated and practiced:
Automated machine learning is an easy yet powerful way to get started. The Azure ML service tries a few different approaches and reports back how well they performed.
The Designer is handy for people who want to have more control over the machine learning pipeline but do not want to become experts in computer languages such as Python or R.
Finally Python can be used to full control over the machine learning process. But even then Azure can help by logging the outcome of the experiments, provide easy to configure docker images to run the machine learning code, or in generating web services to consume the results.
Curious to see all of this in action, and even to have some hands-on experience with this? Be sure then to attend this workshop! The workshop requires no prior knowledge of machine learning nor statistics, but some familiarity with the Azure portal in general is assumed if you want to participate in the hands-on labs.

When SQL Server makes mistakes…

Sometimes things don’t work out as planned. The same thing happens to our SQL Server execution plans. This can lead to horrible slow queries, or even queries failing to run at all. In this session you will see some scenarios demonstrated where SQL Server produces a wrong plan, you will learn how to identify them and what you can do to avoid them.
You will also learn more on Adaptive Query Processing, a new feature in SQL Server 2017. This allows your SQL Server to adjust wrong plans while the plan is being executed. So, if running queries performantly is one of your concerns, don’t miss out on this session!

Techorama 2023 Belgium Sessionize Event

May 2023 Antwerpen, Belgium

Power BI Gebruikersdag 2023 Sessionize Event

March 2023 Utrecht, The Netherlands

Global AI Bootcamp Belgium 2023 Sessionize Event

March 2023 Mechelen, Belgium

European Sharepoint Conference

Data governance with Microsoft Purview

November 2022 Copenhagen, Denmark

dataMinds Connect 2022 Sessionize Event

October 2022 Mechelen, Belgium

Techorama 2022 BE Sessionize Event

May 2022 Antwerpen, Belgium

dataMinds Connect 2021 Sessionize Event

October 2021 Mechelen, Belgium

Techorama 2021 Spring Edition Sessionize Event

May 2021 Antwerpen, Belgium

dataMinds Saturday Sessionize Event

March 2021

dataMinds Connect 2020 (Virtual Edition) Sessionize Event

October 2020 Mechelen, Belgium

Techorama 2020 BE Sessionize Event

May 2020 Antwerpen, Belgium

CloudBrew 2019 - A two-day Microsoft Azure event Sessionize Event

December 2019 Mechelen, Belgium

European SharePoint Conference (ESPC)

Azure Data Factory, your data pipeline in the cloud

November 2019 Prague, Czechia

Microsoft TechDays 2019 Sessionize Event

October 2019 Kista, Sweden

dataMinds Connect 2019 Sessionize Event

October 2019 Mechelen, Belgium

Techorama Netherlands 2019 Sessionize Event

October 2019 Ede, The Netherlands

Techorama Belgium 2019 Sessionize Event

May 2019 Antwerpen, Belgium

Global Azure Bootcamp 2019 Sessionize Event

April 2019 Temse, Belgium

Intelligent Cloud Conference 2019 Sessionize Event

April 2019 Copenhagen, Denmark

Global AI Bootcamp - Belgium Sessionize Event

December 2018 Zaventem, Belgium

PASS Summit 2018

Azure Machine Learning in Stream Analytics

November 2018 Seattle, Washington, United States

Microsoft TechDays 2018 Sessionize Event

October 2018 Kista, Sweden

Techorama NL 2018 Sessionize Event

October 2018 Ede, The Netherlands

Power BI Days 2018 Sessionize Event

September 2018 Mechelen, Belgium

Global Azure Bootcamp 2018 - Belgium Sessionize Event

April 2018

ITproud Sessionize Event

March 2018 Antwerpen, Belgium

CloudBrew 2017 - A full-day Microsoft Azure event Sessionize Event

November 2017

Nico Jacobs

Power BI, Azure data stack and SQL Server trainer at U2U

Brussels, Belgium


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