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Archive for March, 2011

by: Bsomich
30  Mar  2011

Profile Spotlight: William McKnight

William McKnight

William McKnight functions as a Strategist, Lead Enterprise Information Architect, and Program Manager for sites worldwide utilizing the disciplines of data warehousing, master data management, business intelligence, data quality and operational business intelligence.  Many of his clients have gone public with their success stories.

William is a Southwest Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist, a frequent best practices judge, has authored hundreds of articles and white papers and given hundreds of international keynotes and public seminars.  His teams’ implementations from both IT and consultant positions have won Best Practices awards. William is a former IT VP of a Fortune 50 company, a former engineer of DB2 at IBM and holds an MBA.

William has overcome numerous complex data acquisition/ETL (real-time, sourcing, transforming, syndicated data, integration, cleansing, POS/CDR/RFID source) issues and has hands-on experience with numerous leading MDM/OLAP/BI/ETL tools and database platforms.  His breath of experience with information management product set includes internal product development (source code), IT development, management, analyst and consulting roles.  He has produced dozens of analytic models in production worldwide.

William has been involved in information management his entire career.  He knows what good work is, having built numerous end client successes, including numerous companies in the Fortune 50.  His unparallelled exposure to the market infuses ideas into client programs.

William founded and grew McKnight Associates, Inc. during 1998-2005 to placement in the Inc. 500, the Dallas 100 (twice) and the Collin (county) 60.  He sold the company to a public firm in 2005.  He is author of the book “90 Days to Success in Consulting.”

William is the president of the Data Warehousing Institute Dallas Chapter, a trainer at SetFocus in the Microsoft BI certification program, author of the Master Data Management Architecture and Implementation course at ELearningCurve, a member of the Boulder BI Brain Trust, and a 6-time expert at the Pacific Northwest BI Summit.

Read more and link to William on LinkedIn and follow William on Twitter.

Category: Member Profiles
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by: Bsomich
29  Mar  2011

Weekly IM Update.

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What can omCollab do for your enterprise?

MIKE2.0 is hosted within omCollab, a powerful, Enterprise 2.0 collaboration product completely built on open source software (OSS). It provides a web portal environment to create, share, and search many types of content across the enterprise, including:

  • A Wiki to collaboratively create and share content (based on MediaWiki which powers Wikipedia, the world’s largest Wiki).
  • Blogs to publish individual or group-based information (based on WordPress, the world’s most popular blogging platform).
  • Social Bookmarking for storing, sharing and discovering web bookmarks. We have released this as omBookmarks, a fork of the codebase from Scuttle.
  • Social Networking – “facebook like” functionality for our IM community that is integrated into the other components.
  • Forums to support discussion groups and frequently asked questions (based on phpBB, the most widely used open source forums solution)
  • Search for users to discover content across federated repositories.
  • Rich User Interface with advanced navigational components, an integrated skin and single sign on to provide common look and feel across the platform.

There are also a number of extensions to these components, that can be found of the Special:Version page of MIKE2.0.

Feel free to check them out when you have a moment.

Sincerely,

MIKE2.0 Community

New! Popular Content

Did you know that the following wiki articles are most popular on Google? Check them out, and feel free to edit or expand them!

What is MIKE2.0?
Deliverable Templates
The 5 Phases of MIKE2.0
Overall Task List
Business Assessment Blueprint
SAFE Architecture
Information Governance Solution

Contribute to MIKE:

Start a new article, help with articles under construction or look for other ways to contribute.

Update your personal profile to advertise yourself to the community and interact with other members.

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This Week’s Blogs for Thought:

In Defense of Band-Aids

I’ve written before about the limitations of Band-Aids and other workarounds in the data management space. By Band-Aids, I’m talking about the following:

  • Standalone spreadsheets
  • MySQL and Microsoft Access databases
  • Other temporary tools

To an often surprising extent, these workarounds continue to underpin many key organizational processes. That is, despite what many experts advocate, most organizations and their end users do not keep all of their data in one database or “system.”

To be sure, propagation of excessive standalone tools causes major problems within an organization.
Read more.

Creating Value from IT Projects

One of the most basic initiatives of information technology is the alignment of IT with business strategy.  For years, this has been a challenging feat for business execs and IT managers alike.  A valuable  survey by McKinsey titled “The next frontier in IT Strategy” reports promising news for businesses undergoing IT projects.  The survey highlights the recent success of many firms in IT and process alignment, indicating a shift from fundamental design to value creation.   This data suggests that not only is IT conducting the basic operations of business, it is now receiving management support and thus being positioned in a way to further the tactical goals of the company.
Read more. Gartner: A New Kind of Data Warehousing will Emerge in 2011

An article in eWeek.com summarizes the latest data warehousing report from Gartner entitled “The State of Data Warehousing in 2011.” In the report, Gartner predicts a turning point in the evolution of the data warehousing market this year. The concept of the ideal data warehouse is changing. Data loading into data warehouses is fast becoming a continual process and warehouses must increasingly support new and extreme types of information asset formats.

Read more.

Category: Information Development
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by: Phil Simon
25  Mar  2011

In Defense of Band-Aids

band-aids

I’ve written before about the limitations of Band-Aids and other workarounds in the data management space. By Band-Aids, I’m talking about the following:

  • Standalone spreadsheets
  • MySQL and Microsoft Access databases
  • Other temporary tools

To an often surprising extent, these workarounds continue to underpin many key organizational processes. That is, despite what many experts advocate, most organizations and their end users do not keep all of their data in one database or “system.”

To be sure, propagation of excessive standalone tools causes major problems within an organization. I’ve seen the equivalent of data anarchy in my day. The inability to determine key KPIs and arrive at a single version of the truth come to mind. A recent conversation with a friend of mine, however, underscores the need for organizations to occasionally create these tools for one reason: they can most easily solve a legitimate business problem.

Case in Point

My friend Nick works in HR for a very large company. You know, the kind of company that years ago purchased and implemented SAP. His company has headquarters in France and individual offices in 30 or so countries. It’s a behemoth.

It turns out that the US headquarters (where Nick works) had to produce thousands of employee compensation statements. These letters would contain employee salary, raise, and bonus information. Further, they would be sent to each employee’s manager.

From a database standpoint, these data are often contained in multiple tables that Nick simply didn’t know how to access. Nick is much more functional than technical and doesn’t know SQL from Adam. As a result, even if his company had purchased Crystal Reports or a similar reporting tool, he would not have been able to effectively generate data that he needed–in “the right” format.”

You might be thinking, why not have IT modify an existing standard report in SAP? Good point, but customizing systems can be difficult, expensive, and risky. Even holding those issues aside for a moment, customization simply wasn’t an option. Remember that Nick’s company can’t just turn on a dime. IT would have to sign off on the change. Can someone say change requests?

Nick’s boss (call him Pete here) wanted him to produce these letters in a very specific way. Now, Pete’s even less technical than Nick. Unaware of a better way, over the course of a month, Nick and a colleague spent more than 100 hours manually cutting and pasting individual employee data over the holiday season. (Nick’s wife and kids barely saw him last December.)

Ouch.

Because of tight timeframes and a lack of personal knowledge of better ways to create these letters, Nick chose unwisely. Recently, I explained to him that roughly one week’s worth of my time would have been money well spent. Because I know both Crystal Reports and Access, I could have automated the entire thing. Let’s just say that Nick has made a note to call me in November of 2011.

Simon Says

It’s hard to imagine any large company that keeps all of its data in–and gets all of its data from–one system. Tweaking a custom report or standalone database is much, much different than getting under the hood of an extremely complicated ERP or CRM system. Don’t be afraid to use Band-Aids as needed. They won’t solve all of your problems and suture massive wounds. However, if wisely used, they can hold you over until better, enterprise-wide solutions are implemented.

Feedback

What say you?

Tags: , ,
Category: Information Management
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by: Bsomich
24  Mar  2011

Creating Value from IT Projects

One of the most basic initiatives of information technology is the alignment of IT with business strategy.  For years, this has been a challenging feat for business execs and IT managers alike.  A valuable  survey by McKinsey titled “The next frontier in IT Strategy” reports promising news for businesses undergoing IT projects.  The survey highlights the recent success of many firms in IT and process alignment, indicating a shift from fundamental design to value creation.   This data suggests that not only is IT conducting the basic operations of business, it is now receiving management support and thus being positioned in a way to further the tactical goals of the company.

Sounds simple enough, but why has it been so difficult to get here?  What can we learn from these success stories that we can apply to other companies who are still struggling with process alignment?

Category: Information Development
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by: Bsomich
23  Mar  2011

Profile Spotlight: Wayne Wiggins


Wayne Wiggins

Wayne specialises in data governance, data migration, metrics and remediation, and oversees the governance of the data quality initiatives at his client’s Bank.  There he promotes data quality to the executives and ensures the benefits and opportunities of the projects get exposure at the highest level.

Wayne says “I am the catalyst that gets DQ projects up and running, build the business cases and ultimately monitor delivery and communicate the rewards upwards in the Bank.”

Wayne helped Datanomic develop the leading edge DQ solution for Basel II which helps Banks to move data quality measurement and remediation to the business people that really understand where the DQ issues are and how to deliver remediation.

Previously Wayne has managed global projects delivering SAP solutions from R/3 to Business Warehouse and SEM. Wayne started at the bottom as a business analyst focusing on master data working through data conversions, implementation management to programme office management and onto programme management.

Connect with Wayne.

Category: Member Profiles
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by: Robert.hillard
19  Mar  2011

Information overload and innovation

I often hear people talking about the amount of data that is being created as being unprecedented.  It isn’t.  What is unprecedented is its retention.  We are all conditioned to the “growth of data”.  This is really lazy language and should be changed to the “growth of the retention of data”.  A business process which creates data has probably been always creating it, but until recently it was probably just transient.

Modern business has evolved from the industrial revolution.  The problem we face today in navigating the information revolution is that the industrial revolution taught us to use the principles of processes.  Two centuries of business has slavishly adhered to the idea that commercial and government enterprises are nothing more than the aggregate output of thousands of individual business processes.  Because no-one alive today has experienced any other form of business interaction we can be forgiven for thinking that there is no other alternative.

In a previous post, I talked about the use of the “Small Worlds” measure to test innovation (see the post and the introduction to the use of Small Worlds).  Before the information revolution began, an innovation could only be tested in terms of the processes that it affected.  Today the best way to determine if what is being proposed is actually new is to measure the use of data in new business models:  But what does this mean in terms of new data?

I used the example of Amazon recommending books for your future purchase. The data that they use isn’t new, you have always had an identity and you always made individual book purchases, it is just that it wasn’t previously kept beyond the time of the transaction.

While Amazon isn’t really creating new data, some business innovations are actually creating something that didn’t exist before.  Consider the creation of a loyalty scheme by an airline, although the initial interaction is the same a new interaction is generated, which is the redemption, which provides new information.  In this case the new process is an innovation measured by the quantity of information (increased) but also by the tightness of the connections within the data (as measured through the Small Worlds measure).

I argue that although the creation of new data in absolute terms (as opposed to the retention of existing data) means the innovation is genuinely new, it does not become disruptive to existing business unless it actually enhances the connections to current data.  Creating new data on its own doesn’t add much value to an existing business, but creating more links definitely does.

Business and government innovation is best measured by the new connections it adds to society and the organisations that support it rather than by the quantity of transient data that becomes persistent or even the amount of truly new data.  Adding something new adds the greatest value to the people that it serves when it increases the number of connections.

Microblogging, e-health and smart ticketing are all examples of something new and innovative.  When you examine each of them, their real value is not in the creation of data but rather in the connections they generate.  Twitter really penetrates our online activities through the hashtags.  E-health provides links between existing service providers.  Smart ticketing allows transport operators to connect their usage information with their resource planning.

Category: Information Management, Information Value
5 Comments »

by: Phil Simon
17  Mar  2011

Data Error Inequality

On his excellent data quality and management blog, my friend Henrik Liliendahl recently wrote an excellent post entitled “Good, fast, cheap – pick any two.” In his post, Henrik discusses the well-worn trade-off between among things well, quickly, and for very little money. To quote Henrik:

Some data, especially those we call master data, is used for multiple purposes within an organization. Therefore some kind of real world alignment is often used as a fast track to improving data quality where you don’t spend time analyzing how data may fit multiple purposes at the same time in your organization. Real world alignment also may fulfill future requirements regardless of the current purposes of use.

As usual, Henrik is absolutely right and many consultants have heard the axiom on which his post is based.

A Very Simple Model

In my day, I have seen people grossly overreact to data quality or conversion issues. Generally speaking, I have seen three types of errors. Note that this is a very simple model and cannot possibly account for every type of scenario and potentially pernicious downstream effect:

Type of Error Example Should You Freak Out?
Master Record Error Customer or Employee Probably
Important Characteristic Field Error Employee Address Kind of
Information or “Nice to Have” Field Error Customer backup contact number No

The bottom line from the table above is that not all data issues are created equal. Brass tacks: missing or erroneous information in a customer, vendor, or employee master record is not the same as an “information-only” field that drives nothing. (For more information on this, see the MIKE2.0 Master Data Management Offering.)

Of course, not everyone understands this. I can think of one woman (call her Dorothy here) with whom I worked on an enormous ERP project. To her, all errors were major issues. For example, I remember when the consulting team of which I was a part ran conversion programs attempting to load more than one million historical records into the new payroll system. Something like 12,000 records were flagged as potential issues.

Do the math. That’s nearly a 99 percent accuracy rate–and the data was much, much better coming out of the legacy system based upon a very sophisticated ETL tool created to minimize those errors. Further, the vast majority of those errors were “information only” soft edits from the vendor’s conversion program. That is, they weren’t really errors.

Of course, Dorothy chose to focus on (in her view) the enormity of the 12,000 number. She did not want to hear explanations. While this irritated me (given how how the team had been working to cleanse the client’s legacy data), I wasn’t all that surprised. Dorothy knew nothing about data management and this was her first experience managing a project anywhere near this scope.

Simon Says

Fight the urge to treat all errors and issues as equal. They are not. Take the time to understand the nuances of your data, your information management project’s constraints, and the links among different systems, tables, and applications. You’ll find that your team will respect you more if you invest a few minutes in separating major issues from non-issues.

Feedback

What say you?

Tags:
Category: Data Quality, Enterprise Data Management
2 Comments »

by: Bsomich
17  Mar  2011

What’s the ROI on your enterprise information?

Information theorists have long struggled with the problem of establishing a mechanism for the valuation of the enigmatic substance of data. With the proliferation of federated stores of information and complexity, the need for an approach in this area has become even more crucial.

Calculating the Return on Investment of Information Assets can help determine the current cost of information assets, projected expenditures as part of a planned information management engagement and the return on the investment.  It can help decision makers understand what data needs to be collected, stored and analyzed and what data does not.  It gives clarity into what resources need to be allocated to data projects and to what extent.

MIKE 2.0 offers an open source solution to help organizations understand and calculate this crucial requirement and how to make better business decisions based on it.  Feel free to check it out when you have a moment.

Category: Enterprise Data Management
No Comments »

by: Bsomich
16  Mar  2011

Profile Spotlight: Rick Sherman


Rick Sherman

Rick Sherman is the founder of Athena IT Solutions which focuses on maximizing ROI from business intelligence.  He is an experienced consultant in areas such as data warehouse and business intelligence assessments and implementation, onsite data warehouse training, and often helps industry vendors with product assessments and marketing support.

Connect with Rick.

Category: Information Development
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by: Bsomich
15  Mar  2011

Weekly IM Update.

logo.jpg

Open Source Solution Offerings

MIKE2.0 Open Source Solution Offerings are used to implement solutions to information management problems, solely through the use of Open Source technologies. The goal of MIKE2.0 is to become an organising framework for the use of Open Source in the Information Management space.

The MIKE2.0 Methodology plans to evolve to include:

  • An Open Source Maturity Model, using Technology Selection QuickScan as a starting point
  • A definition of an Open Source version of the SAFE Architecture bringing together multiple Open Source components
  • Open Sourcing of some of MIKE2.0 Tools, such as IM QuickScan
  • Assessments of Open Source Data Management projects from communities such as SourceForge and Eclipse
  • Detailed design and code Supporting Assets that are all Open Source
  • Drive development of new Open Source technologies in the data management space, through the through end-to-end lifecycle of creating these products.
  • An Open Source Collaboration Forum to harness ideas about realising the open source value proposition across industries.

We hope you find this of benefit and welcome any suggestions you may have to improve it.

Sincerely,

MIKE2.0 Community

New! Popular Content

Did you know that the following wiki articles are most popular on Google? Check them out, and feel free to edit or expand them!

What is MIKE2.0?
Deliverable Templates
The 5 Phases of MIKE2.0
Overall Task List
Business Assessment Blueprint
SAFE Architecture
Information Governance Solution

Contribute to MIKE:

Start a new article, help with articles under construction or look for other ways to contribute.

Update your personal profile to advertise yourself to the community and interact with other members.

Useful Links:
Home Page
Login
Content Model
FAQs
MIKE2.0 Governance

Join Us on
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Follow Us on
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This Week’s Food for Thought:

Watson, Email and Semantic Technology

It’s no understatement to say that most large organizations still rely upon e-mail as their killer app. This holds true despite the fact that wikis, file sharing sites, microblogging tools, and their ilk are often far better communication mechanisms and repositories of information. In some companies, they have replaced intranets and knowledge bases anymore. They seem so, er, 1990s.

So, we know that e-mail is an important tool, even though it should not be the exclusive one. Weaning many people and companies off of e-mail is no small endeavor. As I have written about before, old habits die hard.

Read more.

Global CIO: IT Execs Worry Too Much About Data Quality
When we asked IT leaders what’s the single biggest opportunity facing CIOs, the one cited the most among the nine choices we gave was “using data to drive new products and growth.” That response jibes with the rising value we see CIOs putting on data analytics.But you know what can foul up those analytics effort? Too much focus on data quality and other forms of data management, especially as those efforts get started.

Read more.

MDM – Myth Deception Management

Adopting master data management in an organization is only half the battle. The rest comes from clarifying misconceptions and definitions of your MDM venture, according to a new report from Gartner. The analyst business outlined a list of consistent myths and problems surrounding MDM implementation in its new report, “The 10 Myths and Realities of Master Data Management.” Underlying the list of myths is the lack of clarity with MDM adoption across an enterprise, said Andrew White, Gartner research vice president.

“MDM is the latest attempt to solve the old problem of inconsistent versions of important data at the [center] of an organization,” White said in a news release. “As with any new initiative, there is a lot of hype and confusion, and with hype and confusion comes misunderstanding.”

Read more.

Category: Information Development
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