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Blog: Jill Dyché Subscribe to this blog's RSS feed!

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!

December 2008 Archives

In which Jill puts IT-business alignment in the hands of IT. Yes, really.

At the Gartner MDM Summit recently I watched John Miller, Global Solution Architect at Dell, discuss the high-tech behemoth's customer data integration program. John is flat-smart when it comes to data, which is a good thing considering that Dell has 160 million customer records, which oh by the way it needs to access in real time. You see, 5 million of those customers contact Dell every day, 3 million of them via the web.

Before its CDI initiative Dell had what's become a familiar business problem: people entered customer information in different ways via different systems of origin. I know. Your company has that problem too. Dell set about fixing it before you did, though. That's because Dell Financial Services, a corporate powerhouse in its own right, needs to do a real-time credit approval within 30 seconds so that they can send that ultra-portable Inspiron Mini 12 laptop out to the harried business traveler looking to free up some real estate inside that overstuffed briefcase, and fast!

John (who, full disclosure, is a past Baseline client), described Dell's journey from homegrown CDI solution-"When we needed CDI, there were no packaged tools on the market, so we went and built our own"-to a structured, metrics-based vendor selection process, through the current state of the company's MDM deployment. (The homegrown CDI system has recently become a data source to Dell's new hub.)

My experience with high-tech companies is that they have unique cultures. They employ a lot of smart people who, when they have a need, roll up their sleeves and build their own solutions. Those solutions add up and become new legacy systems that are hard to keep track of. Indeed, the proliferation of these one-off systems can protract business processes, sabotage streamlined decision making, and turn the best-intentioned business user into a hardened cynic.

But at Dell not only did John's team approach MDM with rigor, they did so with a laser focus on the business need. "In general, people in IT don't engage the business as much as we should," John explained to a crowd of earnest MDM beginners intent on discovering best-practice nuggets. "We're afraid of the answers we're going to get since the business doesn't understand what we do. With our new CDI effort we learned how to ask our business people the right questions."

The lesson here is that IT needs to emerge from the shadows and claim the conversation. In waiting for the business to define the rules of engagement, important conversations are never had, important relationships are never made, and-not to put too fine a point on it-important business applications don't get built. What Dell did was to simply ask the right people the right questions by leveraging the culture and the vocabulary of the business. Your company needs to start these conversations. And most likely, IT needs to be first to the table.

Technorati tags: Dell, John Miller, CDI, MDM, Master Data Management, MDM business alignment, Baseline Consulting

Posted December 22, 2008 5:53 PM
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In which Jill confirms that hiring people smarter than you is indeed a valid management tenet.

Hey! Baseline Consulting's new website is UP and it ROCKS! Credit goes to our crack marketing team, led by Tamara Dull, who has taught me that:

* Websites aren't just for marketing.
* We need to be who we are.
* Baseline has some kewl content and we need to splash it out there.
* The web can be fun!


Baseline has a few websites behind us and our classic misstep was always going after that uber-corporate look. But this website is just way more "us." It's colorful and multi-disciplinary. It's inclusive: you'll be getting to know more of our consultants. It celebrates our friends. And it's irreverent. ('Bout effin' time.)

In addition to the tried-and-true white papers and news items, we're including new blogs, tweets, and podcasts. If you don't know us already, come by and meet us. And if you already know us, come and meet the extended family.

Technorati tags: Baseline Consulting, Baseline blogs, Jill Dyche blog, Evan Levy blog, In the Industry blog, In the Field blog, Tamara Dull

Posted December 10, 2008 8:30 AM
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