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David Loshin

Welcome to my BeyeNETWORK Blog. This is going to be the place for us to exchange thoughts, ideas and opinions on all aspects of the information quality and data integration world. I intend this to be a forum for discussing changes in the industry, as well as how external forces influence the way we treat our information asset. The value of the blog will be greatly enhanced by your participation! I intend to introduce controversial topics here, and I fully expect that reader input will "spice it up." Here we will share ideas, vendor and client updates, problems, questions and, most importantly, your reactions. So keep coming back each week to see what is new on our Blog!

About the author >

David is the President of Knowledge Integrity, Inc., a consulting and development company focusing on customized information management solutions including information quality solutions consulting, information quality training and business rules solutions. Loshin is the author of The Practitioner's Guide to Data Quality Improvement, Master Data Management, Enterprise Knowledge Management: The Data Quality Approachand Business Intelligence: The Savvy Manager's Guide. He is a frequent speaker on maximizing the value of information. David can be reached at loshin@knowledge-integrity.com or at (301) 754-6350.

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

November 2005 Archives

Last week, Google announced that it was giving away its web analytics product as part of its online services. Today, they announced that they were freezing the application to new users, citing "high demand." Of course, any large scale demand for a free service is likely to overwhelm a system, but isn't it great that there is so much interest in an analytics application?

Think about how starved people are for quality quantitative information. This can only be good news for companies that develop more intriguing interfaces for analyzing data and presenting the results of that analysis in creative and insightful ways.


Posted November 30, 2005 7:41 PM
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I recently came across a curious overloaded use of a database table attribute: one column, called "Verification Status Code" contained a code indicating the result of a process of verifying the connection between a customer identification number and a supplied customer name. The attribute took on some values such as:

"The customer identifier and name were correctly verified as identical to our records"
"A corrected identifier was provided for the supplied customer name"
"The customer identifier and name were matched using the ALPHA process"
"The customer identifier and name were matched using the BETA process"
"The customer identifier and name could not be verified"

Apparently, the codes used indicate two pieces of information. The first is whether the name and identifier were correctly verified within the system or not, and the second was the process used to correctly verify the data. This suggests an embedded business rule associated with the application, in that it first checks to see whether the code is one that indicates verified data, and then it performs different actions based on which process was used.

Anyone have any other experiences with this kind of overloading? Let me know - I will add this as a rule class to my business rule-based data quality techniques. Email me (loshin@knowledge-integrity.com)


Posted November 22, 2005 12:34 PM
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In an conversation earlier today, Michael Hawksworth, president of MSS Technologies commented (and I am paraphrasing) that "every business has one primary performance metric," suggesting that all other performance or productivity measurements all ultimately rolled up into that primary metric. This concept immediately resonated with me, as many of our own consulting engagements involve working with the client to articulate their business objectives and to look at how poor data quality impacts achieving those objectives.

I have never been a fan of corporate "mission statements," since most of them are bloated, self-important ramblings about how much the company cares for its employees. However, if a company could clearly define its mission statement in terms of its core business objective, then the senior managers could at the same time qualify that performance metric, and articulate a strategy for how all activity rolls up into that metric. Of course, this would simplify reporting also, as these guidelines would, by default, also describe the process for building business cases for any kind of technology investment. An interesting idea...


Posted November 16, 2005 3:01 PM
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Posted November 14, 2005 12:32 PM
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What is the purpose of a professional organization? I ask this question when I am presented with the opportunity to join one. Early in my career, I joined the Association for Computing Machinery (a misnomer, to say the least, since the organization is for people, not machinery, but I digress). I actually remained a member of ACM for a long time, and I did get a number of benefits - a relatively good monthly journal (that I rarely actually read, but it did seem to have a lot of interesting stuff), membership in special interest groups, reduced rates for conference attendance. These were all good for me, since I needed to learn more about my area (compilers and languages), I went to the conferences, and I networked among the members.

I have also been confronted with other organizations, whose intent is to provide similar benefits - education, networking, reduced conference rates. But what I would be interested in today is a lot different than when I was a graduate student. Here is my list:

As a practitioner, I am looking for information that will help me serve my customers better.

As the sales representative for my firm, I am looking for networking opportunities that will lead to new business.

As a consultant, I am looking for better ways to market my services.

As a community member I am looking for the opportunity to increase the knowledge base of the community.

As a community member, I am looking for ways that elevate my chosen industry.

As a community member, i am looking to ensure the high profile of the work that I do.

OK - now that I have expressed those ideas, I then think: how do my annual dues get allocated to make those things happen? Unfortunately, I suspect that some organizations are not prepared to answer that question.


Posted November 9, 2005 2:33 PM
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