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Dan Linstedt

Bill Inmon has given me this wonderful opportunity to blog on his behalf. I like to cover everything from DW2.0 to integration to data modeling, including ETL/ELT, SOA, Master Data Management, Unstructured Data, DW and BI. Currently I am working on ways to create dynamic data warehouses, push-button architectures, and automated generation of common data models. You can find me at Denver University where I participate on an academic advisory board for Masters Students in I.T. I can't wait to hear from you in the comments of my blog entries. Thank-you, and all the best; Dan Linstedt http://www.COBICC.com, danL@danLinstedt.com

About the author >

Cofounder of Genesee Academy, RapidACE, and BetterDataModel.com, Daniel Linstedt is an internationally known expert in data warehousing, business intelligence, analytics, very large data warehousing (VLDW), OLTP and performance and tuning. He has been the lead technical architect on enterprise-wide data warehouse projects and refinements for many Fortune 500 companies. Linstedt is an instructor of The Data Warehousing Institute and a featured speaker at industry events. He is a Certified DW2.0 Architect. He has worked with companies including: IBM, Informatica, Ipedo, X-Aware, Netezza, Microsoft, Oracle, Silver Creek Systems, and Teradata.  He is trained in SEI / CMMi Level 5, and is the inventor of The Matrix Methodology, and the Data Vault Data modeling architecture. He has built expert training courses, and trained hundreds of industry professionals, and is the voice of Bill Inmons' Blog on http://www.b-eye-network.com/blogs/linstedt/.

The question? What does the new business initiative really need to focus on?

Today's business initiatives seem to be headed in many different directions, from SOA to MDM to registries, and business processes. The issue is that when different initiatives take on different directions (rather than a consolidated view and set of drivers) they all end up at different destinations. The cost is heart-ache, silo'd solutions, and a maintenance nightmare. The bottom line is that there is convergence afoot. I've written about this over the past 5 years in my convergence articles on TDAN, B-Eye Network, and Teradata Magazine. In this entry we'll explore what business should do, and how they should approach these very different initiatives (all with a common goal).

MDM - Master Data Management
MMDM - Master Metadata Management
SOA - Service Oriented Architectures
Registries - well, registries of web-services, taxonomies and hierarchies of access points, names, and security access restrictions, I guess one could say more metadata...
BPEL - Business Process Execution Language
BPM - Business Process Management

And of course the tools of the trade:
EAI - Enterprise Application Integration
EII - Enterprise Information Integration
ETL/ELT - Extract Transform / Load
RDBMS - Relational Database Management System

Ok now that we got that out of the way... Businesses have been divesting their interests for years (at least when it comes to I.T. projects). It's time to get a little convergence back into the mix. Businesses who start separate initiatives for each of the categories above will quickly find that they end up with one or more of the following:

* Silo'd answer sets
* Silo'd information assets
* Argumentative Fiefdoms within the kingdom (arguing over who's right and who's wrong and who has the best answers).
* IT Constrained Business - disparate projects, tons of sunk cost, high maintenance overhead
* Inconsistent standards
* Missing best practices
* Holes in the I.T. security wall (all over the place)
* Lack of IT business initiative
* Poorly motivated IT employees

And so on... Executive staff should realize that the good things in life don't come cheap, or easy. After all, they've worked extremely hard to get where they are. IT is no different, and should be treated as a single operational business unit. IT's initiatives should be aligned, but in a way that allows IT to work together rather than against each other.

So you've heard this all before have you?
I'm sure you have - it's been printed in the magazines for years, lately it was called IT alignment. Let's get back to the issues shall we?

What does this have to do with lining up: MDM, MMDM, SOA, and Registries?
Everything. Businesses today should establish an overriding IT umbrella, that umbrella is in fact, an SOA initiative. One way to think about it is: IT is a service based organization, SOA is a service based architecture from which automated services make business information, processes and descriptions available (on-demand) to the business. Let's just say SOA does for IT what JIT does for manufacturing and supply chains.

Underneath the SOA are Master Data, Master Metadata, Web Services, Registries, Auditability, EDW, OLTP, data marts, and Information Integration. All of these are the components necessary to make SOA a success. But remember, SOA is a journey not a destination - just like alignment of IT is a continuous process (it never ends).

So what do all of these have in common?
* Shared business insight
* Shared executive level sponsorship
* Shared information and data sets
* Shared asset base
* Shared security model
* Shared business processes
* Shared Metadata
* Common information dissemination model

From a project standpoint:
* Shared milestones
* Shared Risks
* Shared training
* Shared knowledge

There is also a certain dependency (order) in which these items must be executed. If one is left out of the process chain, then the business stands to suffer at the end of the day. Convergence is upon us, and real-time (active), metadata (descriptive), data sets (asset base), registries (organization of all data and metadata underneath), security and services (access layers) are all a part of the enterprise initiative to bring IT in to focus.

More to come on this topic - if you have questions, I'd like to try to answer them. Feel free to ask publicly or privately.

Dan Linstedt
CTO, Myers-Holum, Inc

Posted May 15, 2006 5:26 AM
Permalink | 2 Comments |


Interesting stuff, Dan. We all know that much of the focus of SOA is in "wrapping legacy applications." Everyone talks about that. But two things people are not talking about are quite germane to this entry.

First, much of the purpose of wrapping legacy is to make existing _data_ available in a new/better way. So it's really the data people are after, not an invocation of the lagacy application. Hence the term "Data Web Services" people are starting to use in order to distinguish.

Second, and here comes the metadata (or lack thereof) issue, where is the metadata that tells me what I'm looking at? The SOA registry/repository may have WSDL and some metadata about the service, but does it extend back to the data? So the same old metadata issues arise - What does 'customer' mean in the WSDL's XML schema? How did they compute that value? What are the data sources for this Web Service? So it does seem that the SOA and metadata crowds are going to have to start getting together. A joint TDWI/W3C conference?...

Good Answer Dan...

I may get cooked for this, but Enterprise Information Management to me includes both structured and unstructured data. The need for what I bundle as Enterprise Metadata, Enterprise Master Data, Enterprise Taxonomy and Enterprise Controlled Vocabulary management is there for many of the same reasons...

In Content, Document and Records Management... the controlled list of values describing these resources need the same type of management as the customer master table does...

Its about quality, timely, synchronized results.

I have read definitions that try to define metadata as the column name and datatype.... Does the definition of metadata change from one content repository architecture to another....

Why is it so important to distinguish Master Data as something to do with a transactional system?

Its all about managing controlled values so they can be shared across the enterprise..

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