A while back, a colleague's question of "Why SQL Server?" led to my answer of "Beyond the capabilities of the Microsoft BI stack, the best one-word reason for adopting that stack is: community."

At that time, I listed local community offerings available within Virginia. Since that time, I have been fortunate to share my Microsoft BI experiences across a larger geographic area.

My next opportunity comes on October 27, 2012, when I present at SQL Saturday #174 in Matthews, NC. I am excited about my involvement with SQL Saturday #174 for a number of reasons.

It has been more than a year since I visited the Charlotte area and attended a SQL Server User Group meeting there. Back then, only the Charlotte SQL Server User Group (http://charlotte-sql.org/ ) served that area. Business intelligence interest continues to grow so much, a second group has formed to support the Charlotte area. The Charlotte BI Group (http://cbig.sqlpass.org/) is actually kicking off their existence with SQL Saturday #174.

The fact that SQL Saturday #174 is totally dedicated to business intelligence is a first for me. Typically, I see SQL Saturdays with 1 or 2 tracks focused on business intelligence. SQL Saturday #174 touts all 48 sessions are geared towards Microsoft's BI stack. Ever evolving topics on Integration Services, Analysis Services and Reporting Services will be there. Topics on new SQL Server 2012 features including Data Quality Services, High Availability and In-Memory Analytics will be there. Broader topics on Azure (aka The Cloud) and Hadoop (aka Big Data) will be there.

Those topics are presented by professionals in their fields. Although focused on Microsoft products, those presenters share their real-life experiences with the attendees. The presenters draw from their positive experiences, negative experiences and lessons learned to go beyond simple, safe sales demos. Those presenters like room participation and will be happy to answer any question you wish to offer.

You may already know some of the SQL Saturday #174 presenters from books, articles and blogs you read. Microsoft SQL Server MVPs including Jessica Moss, Adam Jorgensen, Audrey Hammonds and others will present at SQL Saturday #174. By design, SQL Saturdays are community events with opportunities for everyone, not just MVPs, to share their experiences.

Personally, I present Put Your Data on the Map at SQL Saturday #174. I shared a similar version of that topic at earlier events. This time, I still demonstrate Reporting Services geographical maps, but I am upgrading my demonstration to leverage Reporting Services 2012 and use Major League Baseball data in place of Microsoft's lingering AdventureWorks data which lacks geospatial data.

All SQL Saturdays depend on volunteers and sponsors. The organizers volunteer their time. The presenters volunteer their time. Local sponsors contribute to secure the building and feed the attendees. The combination of volunteers and sponsors ensure an day of training and networking free for all attendees.

At the end of the day, the SQL Saturday #174 volunteers will be exhausted. Please thank them for their contributions.

I look forward to visiting old friends and meeting new friends at SQL Saturday #174. I hope to see you there on October 27th.