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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!

November 2006 Archives

Do you like to decentralize your data access? Have a hard time coming up with "standard" dimensions for everyone? Are your users pretty astute about their data requirements? If you answered yes to these questions, you may like FAST Radar from FAST. This product gives users the ability to create custom dimensions (what they call "hierarchies") and triggered "gauges". I can see business users customizing and enjoying the gauges, which consist of pop-up links, pop-up GIFs and custom emails occurring for specific data profiles - like displaying a yellow traffic light and an intranet URL to order product when inventory is low in a region.

FAST Radar is a ROLAP solution. In the user interface, FAST Radar has a rather slick way for a user to easily build predicates for a query.

Technorati tags: Fast Radar, ROLAP

Posted November 20, 2006 9:51 AM
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Imagine looking at real tablular output from your operational system or data warehouse, wondering what the impact would be on all the other cells if you actually changed the value in one of the cells. In Maxager, an enterprise profit optimization (EPO) solution, that is possible. Maxager is a business intelligence application that tackles the complex multi-variable analysis in determining return on assets (ROA). ROA, in turn, can help companies decide on what products to produce and emphasize, who to sell to, where to produce the goods and how to charge for them - the main decisions of Maxager's target market. Marketing can be refocused, capacity reallocated, products rationalized, pricing adjusted and 'hidden winners' pushed based on Maxager's analysis.

Unfortunately, the target market is currently limited to 'heavy industry' type companies. However, at least, I wanted to share the idea of editing report output and seeing the impacts as a potential feature for the broader business intelligence market to consider.

Posted November 17, 2006 2:29 PM
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I listened in on Ken Rudin, CEO of LucidEra, launch LucidEra today with the teleconference "LucidEra: The OnDemand Path to Business Intelligence.” Ken went into the background of where business intelligence is and how that has led to the launch of LucidEra. According to Ken, business intelligence has lost its way. The BI vendors are now adding features that are interesting to only a few. Their numbers are off due to disinterest in upgrading and inability of the client community, especially in their target market - the midmarket, to handle the complexity. The main trend remains basic reports answering key questions.

Ken is concerned about BI growth with the current model and sees consolidation among Business Objects, Cognos, Hyperion and perhaps others. They are focused on esoteric "search and mobile" features when the market still mostly needs basic reporting.

He made an interesting remark that business intelligence should be a "right" of all employees and, taking that approach, an end client would avoid the esoterics and focus on the basics and mass distribution of information. That's what LucidEra is about.

I've blogged before about LucidEra so I'll leave my thoughts in that entry. For those interested, they have launched.

Technorati tags: LucidEra, SaaS, Business Intelligence Market, midmarket

Posted November 15, 2006 2:35 PM
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OK, ready for five more (link to first 5) predictions for 2007? Here they are.

6. Technologies in DW/BI on the rise. Some believe Microsoft and Teradata are at opposite ends of the spectrum, but they’re both poised for growth. Microsoft is making DW/BI possible for SMB and is actually scaling well for the larger accounts, while Teradata keeps innovating in the management of large data. Business Objects just covers the spectrum of BI so well. I’ll have more to say about technologies in future blog posts.
7. Linux is making the TCO argument more and more effectively.
8. XML takes baby, but progressive, steps. XML is the best means to handle non-transactional and related information. Eventually most data integration could occur by XML, but that’s years away.
9. RFID information becomes important as tagging for supply chain efficiency and meeting mandates for Wal-Mart, Target, the DoD and others takes hold in manufacturing.
10. Operational BI. BI’s not just for breakfast, or the data warehouse, anymore. The depth of analysis now occuring in the operational arena is more than just reporting. It's BI.

Technorati tags: Information Management, Microsoft, Linux, XML, Operational Business Intelligence, RFID

Posted November 8, 2006 9:28 AM
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Do you have a problem with the RFID tags in your credit card? Many do and, as a result, some have decided to shield their cards from readers so they are not targets of the new breed of stealth cross-marketing. I blogged previously about the "Hello Kitty" shield in my industry update. Here's another shield blocker. This one is transparent.

According to the company, "The RFID Shield consists of a plastic credit card with a metal side and the plastic sleeve. The metal in the card serves to block the RF transmission from any RFID reader. The plastic sleeve keeps the RFID Shield and your credit card (or ID card) together. When the 2 cards are physically near each other, the RFID tag will not be able to receive RF transmissions so your RFID tagged data will not be transmitted.

The beauty of the RFID Shield is that it's simple and protects your information."

Technorati Tags: RFID, RFID tag, tag blocking

Posted November 6, 2006 9:28 AM
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