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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

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

A few weekends ago, I had the privilege of taking part in the annual Scott Humphrey Pacific Northwest BI Summit. This event boasts the highest repeat attendance possible for any form of “conference” I’ve ever been a part of. To call it a conference though would be misleading. It’s more like a fire-hose of information exchange, both formal and informal, between people from all sides of this industry. Fellow b-eye bloggers Claudia Imhoff, Colin White, Jill Dyche and I were the featured attractions, bringing the topics and sharing our opinions.

Attendees are listed in Claudia’s blog, where she has way beat me to the punch in summarizing the event. During the roundtable sessions, the 4 of us each introduced a topic. My topic was RFID and I previously posted the link to the first 15 minutes of topic introductions. All 4 of our topic introductions are podcasted and available at the link, as are interviews with each vendor representative. Discussion followed onto the introduction for about an hour for each topic, but the chosen topics, and more, were discussed throughout the weekend.

The chosen topics actually fit together quite well, with, for example, RFID data needing master data to be understood and operational BI to perform the proper action. I found it interesting that here we were, 4 people who gained prominence with data warehousing, all hyper-involved with master data management with a book, a full-day TDWI class, an industry report and, most importantly, advisement and architecture of numerous of the first customer MDM applications under our belts. It’s all information management, a twist on current data warehouse architectures and using constructs that we had begun to implement for our clients already anyway.

I find operational BI interesting and blogged about it co-existing but taking cycles away from the data warehouse here. There certainly is more of an emphasis on business intelligence these days that does not necessarily involve the data warehouse directly.

Other opinions I brought had to do with the emergence of EII, projects on localizing economies, data mining gaining traction with a wider base, various activities taking cycles away from the data warehouse, how information security conscious the industry has become, how great Crystal Xcelsius is, Project Megagrid, and other topics that the attendees needed to be aware of.

Fun was had as well as only Oregon and Scott can provide – jet boating and kayaking. Colin showed us the stars with his magnificent telescope, laser pointer and knowledge of the sky. And I led 2 torture - I mean Yoga - sessions. I’ll post the stealth pictures I took of the attendees doing yoga over time as necessary. ;-)

Industry analysts, vendors, press and information executives should make it a priority to try to get invited to next year’s event. If it’s hard to think that far ahead, I’ll be posting a reminder in about 6 months.

Posted August 28, 2006 6:06 PM
Permalink | 1 Comment |

1 Comment

One of the challenges with all this data, once you have it mastered, is what to do with it. Visualization and better analysis tools certainly help but using it to improve high-volume operational decisions through embedded predictive analytics is also important. There's no value to all this data unless someone, or some system, is going to behave (decide) differently as a result of collecting it.

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