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Jill Dyché

There you are! What took you so long? This is my blog and it's about YOU.

Yes, you. Or at least it's about your company. Or people you work with in your company. Or people at other companies that are a lot like you. Or people at other companies that you'd rather not resemble at all. Or it's about your competitors and what they're doing, and whether you're doing it better. You get the idea. There's a swarm of swamis, shrinks, and gurus out there already, but I'm just a consultant who works with lots of clients, and the dirty little secret - shhh! - is my clients share a lot of the same challenges around data management, data governance, and data integration. Many of their stories are universal, and that's where you come in.

I'm hoping you'll pour a cup of tea (if this were another Web site, it would be a tumbler of single-malt, but never mind), open the blog, read a little bit and go, "Jeez, that sounds just like me." Or not. Either way, welcome on in. It really is all about you.

About the author >

Jill is a partner co-founder of Baseline Consulting, a technology and management consulting firm specializing in data integration and business analytics. Jill is the author of three acclaimed business books, the latest of which is Customer Data Integration: Reaching a Single Version of the Truth, co-authored with Evan Levy. Her blog, Inside the Biz, focuses on the business value of IT.

Editor's Note: More articles and resources are available in Jill's BeyeNETWORK Expert Channel. Be sure to visit today!

April 2007 Archives

In which Jill bemoans the constant hat-in-hand dance that is BI funding, and yearns for Christmas, when gifts were more plentiful (whatever they were).

The Christmas and New Years holidays have become a faint memory. I know this to be true because:

1: The other day my boyfriend challenged me to tell him what he got me for Christmas and I couldn't recall the gift. Or gifts. Whatever. All I know that if one had been a new car or a yellow-sapphire eternity band, I would have remembered, for sure.

2: I recently ate the vast majority of a sky-high pastrami and chopped liver sandwich (with coleslaw on rye) at a New York deli which I won't name for the same reason I won't offer you a cigarette or give you a lift on my dirt bike. I would have never done this in January. At this rate I should be able to polish off their cabbage rolls--which are the size of your forearm--by September, along with some mashed potatoes and a kishka. Stay tuned.

3: Things I didn't plant or think to plant are popping up out of the ground in my garden, and the amaryllis that usually mock me have burst forth with an enthusiasm I haven't seen since, well, Christmas.

4: My clients are already discussing their IT budgets for next year. Seems we'd just endured similar conversations a mere few months ago, but it's already time to don our spreadsheets and slog through the mucky metrics that will ultimately drive enabling technologies and business intelligence programs. We routinely help clients in these exercises, asking the question, "What KPIs does that tie back to?" so often that on a good day with the right people we can elucidate strategy. Our BI and MDM sponsors get the added bonus of silent gratitude from executives weary of seeing"Enable Web 2.0" yet again on an IT priority list.

Indeed some companies spend more time justifying items in their budgets than they do executing on them once they get their funding. Show me someone who's talking about next year's budget when their fiscal year is the calendar year and I'll show you someone whose current project might be falling behind. Some corporate cultures force IT managers to "go to the trough" so often that it instills a culture of vision-and-revision.

Which, not to put too fine a point on it, is the opposite of execution. Speaking of which: Get back to work! Or at least go have a sandwich.

Posted April 30, 2007 3:34 PM
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In which Jill wistfully remembers the good old days when you could "install" customer relationship management and be done with it--yeah, right--and wonders whether some MDM vendors are hoping for an encore.

Remember the heyday of CRM when stories of customer intimacy were as routine as junebugs in August? Companies across industries trumpeted their mastery at enhancing the customer experience. You probably read about the airline whose yield management analysis drove prioritized seat assignment for its high-profit flyers, or the regional bank that centered its outbound campaigns on a mix of behaviors and life stage. The articles heralded that these "best practice" companies had their customer management licked. And you'd say to yourself, Wait a minute. I've shopped there/flown them/hit their website and they mucked everything up! That company sucks!

It's easy enough to hear a PR agency or marketing department describe how a company has excelled. As consultants, we routinely see operational mediocrity up close and personal, and it's not pretty. In fact, it can be dismissive, orotund, cranky, and flagrantly unapologetic. Sometimes the operational mediocrity even taunts you, as if to say, "Hey, I'm making money, so I don't care if I don't know revenue by product or can't cross-sell my policy holders or predict what my customers will buy. I'm mediocre, I'm change-averse, I have no metrics, technology is a cost burden, but that's all okay because our stock price is up, up, up!"

The most recent example of this is jetBlue, the darling of an industry long commoditized. Bad weather and a few grounded airplanes can transform happy vacationers into a furious, stentorian mob. A furious, stentorian mob who talks to the media. And, as we learned from--or despite--our CRM projects, viral marketing can be a bitch.

My friend Kevin Davis is heading up a CDI vendor evaluation for a Big Company, and recently related the following story:

As you know we are looking at implementing a CDI solution, and as part of our research we attended the CDI summit back in the fall. We had dinner with a leading CDI vendor who was well-versed in identity management and party reconciliation. All went well and we felt we had learned a few things. Two weeks later, a package comes in the mail to me from the vendor. Once I opened it, I laughed out loud. It was a form letter (using my info given at their booth because it had my full name) informing me about them, signed by the host of the dinner! Are they using their own technology? And if so, what does that say?

Et tu, MDM? Say it ain't so! Kevin's story is evocative of so many vendors who proselytize but don't practice. I hope that changes and they eat their own dog food. Or drink their own bath water, as the case may be.

Posted April 13, 2007 12:21 PM
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In which Jill--inspired by April fool's and some friendly finger-wagging--shares some little-known personal facts, thereby making her blog readers yearn for more data governance.

I recently asked some trusted friends for feedback about my BI Network blog. If you knew my friends, you'd know how brave that was.

I'll spare you the praise. The criticism was frank: Lighten up. Seems that my blogs are consistently, well... consistent. I describe projects we're working on, cover issues execs are grappling with, relate our lessons learned, and make observations about the general information management Zeitgeist.

"You don't have to try to teach me something new in every blog," counseled one friend. "Why don't you share some personal anecdotes? Try being more news-y. Write about your dog. Or let us in on an existential struggle in your personal life."

I'm thinkin' you'd rather learn something new in every blog.

But I trust my buds to steer me in the right direction. So, here are some factoids that yours truly might as well share for those who haven't already read the bathroom wall:

1: Music: I have bad taste in music. More specifically, I have teenage-boy-comes-of-age-in-the-80s taste in music. I'll take Rainbow over Black Sabbath, and I was an Ozzie fan before reality TV was a gleam in Sharon's eye. I have seen The Scorpions live three times. Pity the unsuspecting passenger when the first few notes from any Def Leppard song ooze through my car speakers. (If it's "Photograph" may God have mercy on your soul.) Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" is my favorite song. I have a lighter raised high in the air as we speak.

2: Movies: Anything Christopher Guest touches, with This is Spinal Tap being my fave. In a variation of that, I also liked the coming of age story that was Almost Famous. And anything Monty Python. You've gotta love Monty Python and the Holy Grail, but The Life of Brian is tragically underrated. (Favorite line: "It could be worse: It could be raining.")

3: Theater: Spamalot, of course. I saw The History Boys on Broadway last year and it shattered me. Not a big fan of musicals, but Les Mis kicks Phantom's ass.

4: Books: Anything by Milan Kundera, Reynolds Price, Martin Amis, Joan Didion, or Alice Munro. Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections blew me right off the couch. Classic indulgences include Marguerite Duras and the Bronte sisters, all of whom are spinning in their graves re: items 1-3, above. (Sorry, Charlotte!)

5: Jokes: The Salman Rushdie joke, followed by the insane asylum joke. Ask me next time you see me.

6: Leno or Letterman? Letterman. I am living proof that one can fight over the remote while half-asleep.

What else? Corporate goodwill matters to me. (Our two employee-selected charities this year are The MS Society and Casting for Recovery--Oregon Chapter.) I have a stainless steel rod in my right leg. I support and practice pet rescue. My mother had the longest brain tumor surgery in history. I've traveled a lot, from Bahrain to Bangkok, from Doha to Darwin. I speak fluent French, and lived abroad long enough to have a list of cherished neighborhood bistros in Paris (hint: lived in the 16th but rolled in the 4th). I'll save that list for another time. Perhaps for when the friends get restless.

Now--with heartfelt props to my mates--back to the data!

Posted April 2, 2007 8:43 AM
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