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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!

August 2007 Archives

In which Jill reminisces about attendees of her anchor class, catches up on the buzz, and congratulates TDWI on another successful event.

Last week's TDWI conference was a huge success. I know I say that about every TDWI conference, but this one was jam-packed with content. With over 800 attendees (remember, this is a quarterly conference, so that's big) and an awesome collection of instructors, TDWI has truly claimed its place as the de-facto educational resource for all things BI. And, for that matter, beyond BI (see below).

I taught my BI from Both Sides class on Monday. Out of over 150 people a full third of the audience identified themselves as being on the business side. Actual BI teams from four different companies attended the course together. When teams of developers and end-users attend my classes I often find them reviewing topics at the breaks and whispering between themselves as I present--the latter usually occurs when I make the point that the business side is accountable for cost-justifying BI.

I never get to go to as many sessions as I want to, but I dropped in on the Executive Summit (buzz: Data Integration is the Number 1 area of interest among the business executives attending the summit). I also heard nice things about a new class: Overcoming IT's Image Problem.

I also sat in on Evan's class, Beyond the Data Warehouse: Architectural Options for Data Integration. When TDWI first offered this course there was some nervosa since Evan covers a range of technologies--from Enterprise Application Integration (EAI), to Web Services and Master Data Management (MDM) hubs--that could be considered alternatives to squeezing all your data onto a single behemoth EDW. Evan's audience was large, engaged, and several attendees--obviously in the thick of implementation--kept Evan busy at breaks and lunch discussing their immediate needs. The prolific Scott Davis, President of Eyeris, celebrated Evan's course on his blog. Scott's a smart guy in his own right, so this was high praise indeed.

Questions about BI and search, Web 2.0, and data mash-ups indicate that BI is undergoing a metamorphosis. Despite the emergence of new technology solutions and platforms, one thing remains consistent: the extent to which you understand your business requirements is the extent to which the resulting technology and architecture choices will cut the proverbial mustard.

Technorati tags: BI from Both Sides, data warehouse alternatives, TDWI, Evan Levy, Scott Davis


Posted August 31, 2007 7:35 AM
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Okay, major disclaimer: don't drink at work. Don't offer your colleagues beer. Or a mojito. And don't even think about keeping a flask of Scotch in your desk drawer. Not even single-malt. I mean it. Unless, of course, you're undergoing User Acceptance Testing, in which case all of the above are permissible, indeed, encouraged.

Remember that "Bob" drinking game from your college days (or your high school days if you were naughty)? You'd sit around the TV with your buddies and watch reruns of The Bob Newhart Show. Whenever someone said the word "Bob," you'd take a sip of your drink of choice. Whenever someone said, "Hi, Bob" you'd chug it. I preferred to play this game in my own dorm room so I could pass out on my own bed.

I just came across a variation of this game in an airport recently. A bunch of professional females were sitting in a Mexican restaurant at an airport listening to Dr. Laura Schlessinger on the radio. You had to watch to get the gist of it. Whenever Dr. Laura said the word, "Ma'am" the women would all sip their margaritas. Whenever Dr. Laura said "God bless," they'd knock back a shot of tequila. I watched the game and even briefly considering joining in when the bartender, citing FAA regulations, summarily cut everyone off. The males in the bar roundly booed the bartender until he threatened to cut them off, too, then everyone packed up and went to their gates.

Years ago I worked for a start-up where the V.P. of Marketing would bring in a keg of beer every Friday afternoon. We all had a two-beer limit, but it was a nice way to relax after a hard work week and to cement that start-up esprit de corps.

If I played a drinking game with some of my clients, we'd mix ourselves some Banana Banshees. Whenever someone said, "data governance," we'd sip our banshees. And whenever someone said, "executive sponsorship" we'd knock our heads back and gulp 'em on down.

Somebody take my keys!

Technorati tags: data governance, executive sponsorship


Posted August 23, 2007 9:12 AM
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In which Jill reconsiders the truths behind Service Oriented Architecture--and laughs so hard she almost loses her lunch.

I've blogged here in the past on the topic of Service Oriented Architecture. Most of our clients are either doing it, planning it, or talking to vendors about it. You regular readers of the jillblog know that I don't throw links around lightly. But when my friend Marty Moseley, CTO of purpose-built CDI vendor Initiate Systems, e-mailed me this link I had to watch it twice because the first time I was laughing so hard I teared up. Recognize any of the, uh, players?

Technorati tags: SOA, Service Oriented Architecture, Initiate Systems, Marty Moseley


Posted August 11, 2007 8:05 PM
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In which Jill returns for her fourth year at the Pacific Northwest BI Summit, pulls up a chair, and shows her hand.

An idea can turn to dust or to magic, depending on the talent that rubs against it.

So said advertising executive William Bernbach, who could have been talking about Scott Humphrey's annual Pacific Northwest BI Summit in Grant's Pass, Oregon. Scott has once again introduced noteworthy ideas and flat-smart talent to the extent that attendees were positively raw from the four days of dialog, debate, and fun that have become the Summit's brand. While we're on the topic of talent, Scott Humphrey, President of Humphrey Strategic PR, has an enviable knack for convening a fun crowd of BI pros to compare notes, share experiences, and even forge new business partnerships.

This year's Summit saw the return of the four expert panelists--Claudia Imhoff, William McKnight, Colin White, and yours truly--who held forth on a diverse and interesting set of topics. Claudia talked about Software as a Service, Colin discussed data warehouse appliances (referencing his recent B-Eye-Network research report on the topic), William, reprising last year's topic, gave us an update on RFID developments.

Me? I weighed in on the pervasive issue of business-IT alignment. My hypothesis was that BI is the perfect pretext for stronger collaboration between the business and IT. Companies that see their BI efforts as a portfolio of applications deployed to the business over time are those that understand the opportunity for engaging the business around their requirements, in their vocabulary, in regular intervals. And aligning around business processes is the optimal way to make this happen.

In our customary ritual on the Summit's final night, we broke out the Don Julio 1942. To quote a contributor to www.ilovetequila.com, 1942 is "the shit." Shawn Rogers says is the best tequila he's ever had, which is all you need to know about the smoothness of that juice. (That and the fact that I bet a 500 chip on a pair of threes.)

So herewith, a virtual tequila shot toast to Scott Humphrey for another successful BI Summit. Salut!


Posted August 4, 2007 4:18 PM
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