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William McKnight

Hello and welcome to my blog!

I will periodically be sharing my thoughts and observations on information management here in the blog. I am passionate about the effective creation, management and distribution of information for the benefit of company goals, and I'm thrilled to be a part of my clients' growth plans and connect what the industry provides to those goals. I have played many roles, but the perspective I come from is benefit to the end client. I hope the entries can be of some modest benefit to that goal. Please share your thoughts and input to the topics.

About the author >

William is the president of McKnight Consulting Group, a firm focused on delivering business value and solving business challenges utilizing proven, streamlined approaches in data warehousing, master data management and business intelligence, all with a focus on data quality and scalable architectures. William functions as strategist, information architect and program manager for complex, high-volume, full life-cycle implementations worldwide. William is a Southwest Entrepreneur of the Year finalist, a frequent best-practices judge, has authored hundreds of articles and white papers, and given hundreds of international keynotes and public seminars. His team's implementations from both IT and consultant positions have won Best Practices awards. He is a former IT Vice President of a Fortune company, a former software engineer, and holds an MBA. William is author of the book 90 Days to Success in Consulting. Contact William at wmcknight@mcknightcg.com.

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

July 2006 Archives

A director at a client site said he was getting overtures from his system administration department about doing something nice for them on Friday. They said it was "System Administration Day." Of course, it was not taken seriously, but I decided to do a web search to see if there was any validity to it. Sure enough, at least according to this website (the "System Administrator Appreciation Day" website), this Friday, July 28, is System Administrator Appreciation Day.

The website claims this day to be for many roles:

* Computer Administrators
* Network Administrators
* Internet Administrators (webmaster)
* Telephone (PBX) Administrators
* Voice-Mail Administrators
* Database Administrators (DBA)
* Email System Administrators
* Mainframe Administrators

So, Happy System Administration Day to all the system administrators out there. And thanks for all you do for information management. No project can be successful without it.

Posted July 26, 2006 8:23 AM
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Why push RFID now to the information management market? Waiting for RFID to be 100% proven and standardized is missing opportunities now for ROI. Instead of taking the Wal-Mart mandate and doing the bare minimum, it's a good time to leverage the mandate and incorporate tracking information into the entire supply chain process.

I tend to focus on the things that information management professionals will get into and treat information management as the profession, not data warehouse, or other architectural construct, management. Over just the past few years, that has included DW and CRM (with arguments about which came first), ERP, clickstream, data quality and master data management - anything to do with large volumes of data. In other words, these are the things that an information management career can easily consist of. I'm anticipating adding RFID data management to this list.

As for organizations venturing into RFID, we're talking about innovation. What strikes me is the high variation in RFID applications - it's everything from experimental gadgetry to bet-your-business risk prevention and supply chain management. Whether this data gets added to the data warehouse or, more likely, an ODS-type structure, it's us, the information management professionals, that will manage it.

Organizations should think about "what is causing my sub-par decisions?" and if any of that be alleviated with an RFID approach. Chips can be in practically anything. Does having chips on many things sound far-fetched? IIn 1981, we thought of the personal computer this way.

Posted July 14, 2006 7:22 PM
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Quick update on my blog entry about IBM BI... Maybe we should consider Cognos more prominently in this equation. Back in March, when IBM unveiled DB2 Version 9.1, some vertical offering development was announced between IBM and Cognos. I was also reminded that Cognos 8 Special Edition was packaged with some IBM software.

As well, we are seeing the 2 pitched together more prominently in RFIs/RFPs.

I think it's important to be aware of market trends, especially if you are going to market for DW/BI solutions. DB2 shops who purchased Informatica in 2003-2004, and there are some, wish they had seen the Ascential deal coming for the tighter integration expected.

Posted July 11, 2006 12:22 PM
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Today, RFID is optional. People only voluntarily implant themselves with the chips - about the size of a grain of rice, enabling extra convenience in such things as door entry, letting the dog out, secure access and the like. This article says there are about 60 - 80 people that have had RFID chips voluntarily implanted. Some of them are nightclubbers since some European clubs implant their VIPs for identification and convenient charging.

Is Tom Clancy aware of this trend?

I thought these chips were implanted into hands, but the subject of the article says he made himself some PANTS that block the tags for security purposes.

Posted July 7, 2006 2:58 PM
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With the Microsoft advances in SQL 2005, can the complex and more expensive offerings of the UNIX platforms, like IBM, maintain their position?

IBM, let's not forget, has yet to make their BI move. Who will it be? And will it be too late?

I consider Microstrategy, Cognos and Hyperion, in that order as candidates. Business Objects has made their own push to be positioned alongside the large players so I don't see them in play to IBM. IBM has a handle on ETL with its purchase of Ascential. Duplicate technology is always a problem in M&A since the acquirer doesn't want to pay for anything it already has. Cognos has an ETL tool, but it doesn't exist in the field, to my knowledge, outside of shops with the Cognos BI toolset. So, while a slight overlap, it's not fatal to a deal.

Unwanted technology can also be a problem in a deal unless the acquirer can find a way to want it. Application software does not appear to be an interest to IBM since it has only dabbled in it over the years. MicroStrategy several years ago abandoned its application software while Cognos and Hyperion are going headstrong into that market. Could this be a plus for a MicroStrategy option? Maybe. MicroStrategy has put out messages in the past of not being interested in M&A, but I have to believe that will or has changed.

What will happen? I don't know. Deals take much more than putting a puzzle together from the outside. Valuations, culture fit, personalities, priorities and timing all play a part. I believe a deal will get done, but the when and where remain to be seen.

Posted July 6, 2006 9:12 AM
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