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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!

By Stephen Putman, Senior Consultant

I recently read Rob Gonzalez' blog post  I've Got a Federated Bridge to Sell You (A Defense of the Warehouse)  with great interest - a Semantic Web professional who is defending a technology that could be displaced by semantics! I agree with Mr. Gonzalez that semantically federated databases are not the answer in all business cases. However, traditional data warehouses and data marts are not the best answer in all cases either, and there are also cases where neither technology is the appropriate solution.

The appropriate technological solution for a given business case depends on a great many factors, which I like to call "Three-Dimensional Chess."

An organization needs to consider many factors in choosing the right technology to solve an analytical requirement, including:

  • Efficiency/speed of query return - Is the right data stored or accessed in an efficient manner, and can it be accessed quickly and accurately?  
  • Currency of data - How current is the data that is available?  
  • Flexibility of model - Can the system accept new data inputs of differing structures with a minimum of remodeling and recoding?  
  • Implementation cost, including maintenance - How much does it cost to implement and maintain the system?  
  • Ease of use by end users - Can the data be accessed and manipulated by end users in familiar tools without damage to the underlying data set?  
  • Relative fit to industry and organizational standards - This deals with long-term maintainability of the system, which I addressed in a recent posting –  Making It Fit.
  • Current staff skillsets/scarcity of resources to implement and maintain - Can your staff implement and maintain the system, or alternately, can you find the necessary resources in the market to do so at a reasonable cost?

Fortunately, new tools and methodologies are constantly being developed that can optimize one or more of these factors, but balancing all of these sometimes mutually exclusive factors is a very difficult job. There are very few system architects who are well versed in many of the applicable systems, so architects tend to advocate the types of systems they are familiar with, bending requirements to fit the characteristics of the system. This causes the undesirable tendency that is represented in the saying, "When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail."

Make sure that your organization is taking all factors into account when deciding how to solve an analytical requirement by developing or attracting people who are skilled at playing ”three-dimensional chess.”


StevePutman_bw_100Stephen Putman has over 20 years experience supporting client/server and internet-based operations from small offices to major corporations.   He has extensive experience in a variety of front-end development tools, as well as relational database design and administration, and is extremely effective in project management and leadership roles. He is the co-author of The Data Governance eBook, available at baseline-consulting.com/ebooks.

Posted February 16, 2011 6:00 AM
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