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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!

September 2006 Archives

On the lighter side of RFID comes this story of a different type of RFID chip implant. A dog, George, ate the chip which had to be in vicinity of the owner’s car to get it started. I am getting a Prius which has a similar “smart key” RFID entry. I will make sure a dog doesn’t eat my chip.

The poop scooping for George will involve more than turning a bag inside out until the chip is found. If there’s ever a time to over-feed George, it may be now.


Posted September 29, 2006 1:44 PM
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As we start the fourth quarter, it’s time to start thinking about ’07… and predicting it. It has been said that he who lives by the crystal ball must learn to eat broken glass. So, I’m preparing for the pain, but here goes.

I’m going to start with some predictions about how we work. Usually, not always, information management professionals lead the field in terms of adopting progressive change. I think 2007 will be a year when several forces come together to really change the way the information management (IM) profession operates.

First, I’ve seen a gradual transition to a round-the-clock mentality. Those who take a 9-to-5 approach to IM roles will be disadvantaged to peers who are set up to work from home and have personal procedures for ensuring parity between home and work for their technical job abilities. Those who insist that employers pay for their broadband (or they won’t get it) will be viewed as not embracing technology in their lives and therefore, less trusted to deploy company technology. Those who expect time off when inconvenienced by work-from-home requirements will be viewed as just not getting it.

Likewise, managers who don’t embrace these changes and move away from out-of-sight, out-of-mind approaches risk being viewed the same. So, telecommuting will grow in ’07 for IM. A great non-technical skill to have is trustworthiness with this freedom.

Webconferencing has become very easy to use and, with the adoption of broadband wherever IM professionals are (work, home, hotel), its use will continue to grow to encompass most training, demonstration and even teaming for technology deliverables.

Also stemming from the broadband adoption trend is going to be more interest in the commercialization of the web. Starting with the popular websites, watching “commercials” will be our toll on the information highway before too long.

The rapid rise of information gathering techniques such as RSS and the maturation of internet search capabilities and individual file sharing services such as iTunes are meaning we are more likely to be able to have a laser focus on that which we are interested in. This will continue to feed our growing national attention deficit disorder. Full books and print media – slowing. Google the world’s content to get what you need – growing.

To this, I see IMers who are able to embrace the technology and bring highly relevant content to bear on their job requirements getting ahead.

Finally, IM continues to outsource and continues its flirtation with offshoring. More job openings will be for temporary positions. Companies are getting better at IM requirement specification AND at articulating and demanding the documentation and coaching they will need to iterate and maintain outsourced work. While I still believe IM is one of the “last to leave” to offshoring, the disillusionment with it will wax and wane for a while before settling into workable blended approaches. Be prepared.

It probably goes without saying that those who know they are in sales mode to their employer continually will experience more success. However, in ’07 IM, this is going to be more true than ever. This market is polarizing fast between tactical, interchangeable (i.e., with offshore) skill sets and relevant, strategic, hard-to-replace skills.

There you have it. I’ll have more to say on the field of IM, but this was about how we work. Embracing technology, a flexible mindset and skill growth will be essential for the information management professional in 2007.


Posted September 29, 2006 1:31 PM
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There is quite a bit of job movement in data warehousing and business intelligence today, with a couple of high-profile moves making headlines. This happens when there are opportunities and the market is slow to react to the requirements for keeping employees.

Consequently, there may be many readers of this blog who are considering a job change. Many new jobs do not ultimately meet expectations. The major reason is because the job move was done too hastily and the new position was not evaluated carefully enough before it was accepted. So, thinking about all the moves I’ve seen, I’ve provided some tips for making a move a successful one.

1. Interview multiple places. Force yourself to get multiple real offers. This will give you the confidence to negotiate and examine each position to the degree necessary.
2. Ask questions that project yourself into the position after the bloom is off and you are settled, i.e., at 6 week and 6 month timeframes. What will you be expected to have accomplished by then? What will you be doing then?
3. Understand the office culture. If it is a highly driven, impersonal culture and you like to shoot the breeze, you will not like it. What personalities will thrive in the culture? Is it your personality?
4. Understand how many hours your boss works and if s/he takes work home, and how frequently. Many people prefer a round-the-clock mentality because it festers accomplishment and career progression.
5. Look around the workspace when you visit. See those people in cubes, offices, meeting rooms, etc. That will be you if you get the job. How does that feel?
6. Surprise your interviewers with some well thought-out questions. Catch them off guard. Your gut should tell you if the interviewer is affording you a healthy measure of candor. If you get answers with spin, trying to paint a rosy picture for everything, that’s not candor. Most people prefer high levels of candor.
7. It’s all about fit. Don’t portray yourself as something you’re not. You’re only fooling yourself into a bad fit.


Posted September 17, 2006 3:30 PM
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The Gartner Magic Quadrant for Data Warehouse DBMS Servers, 2006 is out now and available at link. As the report itself says "NCR's Teradata server is the clear leader."

This report is just for the backend server used to house the data warehouse. And, of course, you never buy just that. You would also need to be comfortable with the DBMS possibilities for that server. For example, Teradata DBMS on Teradata. Initial cost, lack of openness and lack of low-end MPP mean that their placement does not directly translate to market share.

Interestingly, at the other end of the Ability to Execute spectrum is Netezza, which should gain acceptance as their customer base grows and Linux gains acceptance, both of which are happening.

These are the only 2 on the list where a specific and single DBMS is tied to the platform. Most companies start with the DBMS in their selection process of DW platform.


Posted September 7, 2006 1:22 PM
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