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Blog: Claudia Imhoff Subscribe to this blog's RSS feed!

Claudia Imhoff

Welcome to my blog.

This is another means for me to communicate, educate and participate within the Business Intelligence industry. It is a perfect forum for airing opinions, thoughts, vendor and client updates, problems and questions. To maximize the blog's value, it must be a participative venue. This means I will look forward to hearing from you often, since your input is vital to the blog's success. All I ask is that you treat me, the blog, and everyone who uses it with respect.

So...check it out every week to see what is new and exciting in our ever changing BI world.

About the author >

A thought leader, visionary, and practitioner, Claudia Imhoff, Ph.D., is an internationally recognized expert on analytics, business intelligence, and the architectures to support these initiatives. Dr. Imhoff has co-authored five books on these subjects and writes articles (totaling more than 150) for technical and business magazines.

She is also the Founder of the Boulder BI Brain Trust, a consortium of independent analysts and consultants (www.BBBT.us). You can follow them on Twitter at #BBBT

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

March 2005 Archives

At one time, Comdex was the largest high-tech tradeshow in the world. Today, it was announced by the show's owner that the show has been cancelled -- for a second year!

How sad -- and what does this say for the tradeshow business in general? Comdex in its heyday - the mid 1990's -- attracted more than 200,000 attendees to Las Vegas and was quite the showplace for new and established technology exhibitors. It was THE place where all major IT products and innovations were launched.

I was fortunate enough to be invited to present there for two years and what a thrill it was. I have never seen so much creativity under one (really big) roof. The excitement and undercurrent of energy was incredible. Ah, it was grand!

Unfortunately these types of large shows have had their attendees drained off in recent years by smaller and more focused events. According to the organizers, the traditional exhibitors were not enthusiastic enough about being in this year's show. Others state that they have doubts that the past enthusiam will ever return. Could this be the death nell for a grand old show?

Let me know your thoughts.

Yours in BI success,


Posted March 30, 2005 10:59 AM
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Boy -- I take a short vacation and miss out on all the excitement! Hewlett-Packard selected NCR Corporation's CEO to replace ousted Carly Fiorina. (see my blog from February 9, 2005). Big shoes to fill indeed -- and an interesting choice, I might say.

Mark Hurd came up through the ranks of Teradata -- ultimately serving as their COO and President. He became NCR's CEO in March 2003. Under his leadership, NCR saw a turnaround of their declining revenues (last quarter saw their net income rise 55 % and sales rise 9% to $1.79 Billion) but it seems like going from NCR to HP is a mightly big leap for him. The two companies are quite different in size (HP's annual revenues are about $80 Billion!) and HP has had a very high profile CEO who, despite what the naysayers may think of her, did keep HP in the news.

Apparently, Mr. Hurd really wanted the job . For the past 7 weeks, he has campaigned for the it (who knew?)and read everything in the public domain he could about the company. He is bringing his background in Business Intelligence as well. He has already gotten Board chairwoman Patty Dunn and CFO Bob Wayman talking about the need for metrics associated with the 'winning' strategy. Dunn said. "Mark is very much a fan of performance metrics, and we like the establishment of logical performance metrics to monitor that success..." Good for him!

I read a sample of several people's opinions about Mr. Hurd and found that most had never heard of him. I guess he is a much more familiar name to those of us in the BI area. Here are some comments from Ian Foster's blog and other sources:

Rob Enderle says Hurd is a good choice saying that this selection is a "staying the course strategy from HP". He expects Hurd to focus on management basics and will not cause any major disruptions. Sounds to me like Mr. Enderle thinks Hurd will continue with Fiorina's directions.

Naomi Moneypenny states that it was "an interesting choice and how very different from Carly Fiorina." She wondered if Hurd can come up with a new strategy -- She says in her blog: "... I'm worried that HP is really trying to go to the same 'strategyspace' as IBM. That's a good way to destroy value. Think about HP's collaborative culture... HP is not adept at monolothic operations, never has been. Its history is in product innovation. The question is how can you continue to be known for innovation when you operate across many product lines." Hopefully Mr. Hurd can bring some of his magic at NCR with him to HP.

All this aside, what does it mean for NCR and Teradata? I guess that remains to be seen but it must be a blow to those who were so happy with Mr. Hurd at the helm there. I know he was highly regarded, a great promotor of Teradata and Business Intelligence in general, and will be sorely missed.

Yours in BI success,


Posted March 29, 2005 2:13 PM
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I had the opportunity to do a web cast for DataFlux this week entitled “Reaping the Dividends of Data Quality”. In it, I talked about the five building blocks for successful data quality management. Here is a brief overview of those blocks.

The five building blocks are:

Data Profiling – Gaining an understanding of the existing data relative to quality specifications. This is your starting point from which improvement (and ROI) is measured. From this block you should be able to answer these questions: How complete is the data and how accurate is it? Consider this your baseline measurement from which you base your data quality improvement.
Data Quality – Gaining an understanding of the causes of quality problems. This block relies heavily upon the usage of data quality technology. The results yield an analysis of the root causes of data quality problems and inconsistencies. Once these are known, you can then begin to “fix” the problems, choosing from one of four options.
Data Integration – Collapsing disparate versions of data into a single one. This block demonstrates the recognition that the same data exists in multiple locations and systems with variable content in each system. It is in this block that you standardize the multiple versions (e.g., customers, products, geographies, etc.) to single version of the truth.
Data Enrichment – Incorporating additional external data to gain further insight. Her you combine your integrated internal customer, product or other data with third party data to increase your understanding of your customers (e.g., their demographics, credit history, etc.), competitors, total industry sales, and so on.
Data Monitoring – The data management effort requires an investment that requires a justification. Therefore, specific, tangible improvement measurements are often necessary to show the worth of this investment. To demonstrate this requires appropriate tracking techniques. There are three categories of data monitoring techniques – data auditing, data trending, and data alerts and controls. Use these to determine if your efforts are indeed paying off.

We are fortunate today to have technological help for each of these blocks. I hope this overview gives you some idea of what I think are the important building blocks for a successful data quality management program. If you want to hear more, you can hear an archive of the entire hour talk.

Please let me know how your own data quality management program has done.

Yours in BI success,


Posted March 25, 2005 7:10 AM
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Dave Stodder, the Editorial Director for Intelligent Enterprise, has chosen the dozen most influential vendors driving the intelligent enterprise for 2005. Congratulations to all winners AND the companies to watch as well. There were 12 categories this year spanning from information strategy to performance management to on-demand leadership to unstructured intelligence. Quite a range. The winners were mostly well-known names in our industry but there were a few surprises. Here are the highlights.

For Information Strategy -- or "getting the whole picture", the winner was IBM because of their stated direction: Integrated information on demand, managed by self-healing systems that "autonomically" respond to the agile business. IBM now offers alternative business integration solutions to bring together all forms of information.

For Business Intelligence, the winner was Business Objects basically for their solid incorporation of Crystal's technology into their latest release, XI. What is interesting is to note who was in the "Companies to Watch" bracket - Qliktech, a relative newcomer that changes the paradigm of preset cubes, aggregations and views to let users be more creative in their analyses. And ProClarity for bringing performance and speed into Analytics Platform 6.

Business Execution or business process management (BPM)- This was a surprise to me: FileNet. The company;s P8 archteicture combines content management applications with process management.

Customer Intelligence or solutions that provide strong visualization and interactivity and that must put higher customer intelligence at the service of real business problems, such as campaign management. The winner should be no surprise here: NCR/Teradata with their "active" data warehouse. Again of interest are the companies to watch which include Netezza with their offer of an "appliance" that bundles advanced database, storage and server technology. And Spotfire - focusing on the marriage of advanced data visualization with analytic depth.

Last one is Unstructured Intelligence and the winner is SAS! Surprising at first but after reading the explanation, I agree with their decision. This special topic area recognizes a company that are helping organizations accomplish very strategic objectives. According to Dave, "Expertise in text mining and other fields is valuable, but the convergence of structured and unstructured intelligence solutions is what organizations really need."

Posted March 23, 2005 9:00 AM
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Where is this coming from? Gartner recently “predicted” the 50% of data warehouse projects will have limited acceptance or be out right failures. Why? And what fact is this dire prediction based upon?

Apparently Gartner has turned its skeptical eye onto BI -- again. In 2003, Gartner predicted that over 50% of data warehouse projects would fail... That time, they said that enterprises will fail to use BI properly, losing market share to those that implement and leverage BI correctlyI guess they have decided that the same story can run again. No real evidence of why or even if this prediction was close.

Now two years later, Gartner is making the same claim. As for why, Ted Friedman, a principal analyst with the company, claims it will be due to poor data quality. He suggests that the enterprise should create a data quality firewall – something to “sniff out data quality issues that are coming from your suppliers.” My, but he has rather negative statement that is shy on facts – at least very few were given -- again.

The most recent CIO Magazine just published a story on the remarkable success that the food industry – especially fast food – has had with BI analyses. Of course, they too start their article off with a statement that BI has not had the best success rate. Again no evidence or examples were given.

Sure makes you wonder where these people get their information. Call me a Pollyanna or cockeyed optimist, but the clients I work with have had remarkable success with their projects. I have worked with very few companies that have had less than successful implementations. I welcome your input as to the success of your BI implementations and the reasons for it. Let’s see if we can get some real information on the SUCCESS rates of BI to counter this negative reporting.

Yours in BI success!


Posted March 21, 2005 6:02 PM
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