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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!

November 2008 Archives

In which Jill wonders if sometimes the term "MDM maturity" isn't an oxymoron.

This past week's Gartner MDM Summit was well-promoted, well-executed, and well-attended. Gartner has hard-core fans, as was evidenced by attendees perusing Gartner research notes as they heard their favorite analysts expound on MDM, CDI, PIM, SOA, and BSR. (BSR? Here it is...wait for it..."Business Service Repository." Yeah, I knew that too.)

There were some excellent presentations from both the case studies and the analysts themselves. Our friend John Radcliffe--John generously provided several quotes for our CDI book, and greased the skids during the permissions process, so he's definitely a friend--delivered an informed keynote in which he reported that MDM would be a $3 billion market by 2012. I've liked Mark Beyer ever since Informatica showed me a webcast Mark did for them. I sat in his SOA talk and he's polished-yet-relaxed, knowledgeable-yet-irreverent. Ted Friedman (also a friend) had an uber-engaged audience with hands in the air when I peeked in on one of his presentations. Good news and bad news: the room was so full I couldn't get close enough to say hello. Ahh, fame!

Several of the Gartner speakers echoed our own observation that IT professionals employ the term "MDM" euphemistically (or incorrectly) to represent incumbent capabilities. Although I've begun using the terms "customer MDM" and "product MDM," Gartner analysts cling heartily to "CDI" and "PIM." From a heat map perspective, CDI is still, in Radcliffe's words, "red hot." Conversely the term "analytical MDM" seems more tenuous than last year, as does a single proven method for gathering MDM ROI.

Speaking of ROI, Gartner analyst Michael Smith gets my Sleeper Award for the most excellent underestimated presentation. Smith discussed building the business case for MDM in a structured and metrics-driven way. Clearly he's evaluated the business drivers for other strategic IT initiatives, and his techniques apply very well to MDM.

And speaking of awards, Johnson & Johnson won Gartner's MDM Excellence Award. Charles Bloodworth of Johnson & Johnson Health Care Systems explained how MDM supports four enterprise business initiatives. The company's MDM program and the resulting benefits are real, believable, and fulfill the true promise of MDM-done-right.

Johnson & Johnson is a Siperian customer. There were other excellent vendor case studies, particularly D&B Purisma's customer R.R. Donnelly and Initiate Systems' customer, Dell. John Miller, Global Solution Architect at Dell gave an edge-of-your-seat account of the mega-vendor's MDM requirements--160 million customer records in real time!--and how he and his team have deliberately and incrementally set out to fulfill those requirements, enhancing the Dell customer experience in the bargain! (Full disclosure: Dell is also a Baseline Consulting client.) Other case studies were hit-or-miss--one enterprise app vendor's customer admitted to not having installed the product yet--but each of them represented a milestone on the MDM journey.

Some presentations raised more questions than they answered. (Enough about business processes already, the real way to pitch MDM is by tying it to strategic initiatives!) At times one wondered whether Gartner analysts were bonused on their prodigious use of TLAs (three-letter acronyms). But most attendees were very much in learning mode, stocking up on the lessons learned and hoping for enough ammunition to fire the MDM salvo in the direction of their businesses.

Technorati tag: Gartner MDM, MDM Summit, Johnson & Johnson, MDM Excellence Award


Posted November 21, 2008 5:26 PM
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In which Jill learns some lessons in New Orleans that she first learned in high school and realizes they aren't that far apart.

My high school English teacher, Mrs. Campbell, asked each of us to write a short personal poem. Struggling for inspiration, my friend Dan Robinson finally gave up and, instead of penning an original work, submitted the lyrics to Rush's song, "The Trees" (from the Hemispheres album, for those reminiscing along with me).

Our collective smugness about Dan's bold move turned to outrage when we learned that Mrs. Campbell had given Rush's lyrics a C-minus. Dude!! Who did she think she WAS? I'm telling you this because sometimes what we think is "good enough" really isn't. And that goes for data quality.

Call it what you will. Data that's fit for purpose. Conformance to requirements. At its core, data is only as good, valid, meaningful, and clean as its context for usage. Who cares what we've endured to cleanse, correct, and enrich our data? If our users still can't (or won't) accept and use it, then it's really not worth much at all. Mrs. Campbell didn't see the inherent poetry of Rush's lyrics. She was after something else entirely.

I was thinking about all this during TDWI's World Conference in New Orleans this week. Evan Levy's Monday keynote was packed and people were especially interested in his statements about data content standards, relationships, and access rules being key to MDM. Thursday keynote Barry Briggs highlighted the risks of overmatching with MDM. Speakers Frank Dravis, James Masuoka, Andy Hayler, Danette McGilvray, Kim Nevala, and Arkady Maydanchick all provided different views on why data quality matters in the context of MDM, business requirements, and data governance.

My buddy Dan Robinson's C-minus was a great lesson for me since I myself was on the verge of turning in the lyrics to Supertramp's "School." I thought the better of it though, and got crackin'.


P.S.: It's official! TDWI is having its 2nd annual MDM Insight conference next March in Savannah. Philip Russom and I co-chair it. Check it out here.

Technorati tags: data quality, Master Data Management, MDM, TDWI, Master Data Insight


Posted November 6, 2008 3:35 PM
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