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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!

February 2007 Archives

I have a webinar coming up with Michael Douroux, EIM Specialist from Business Objects, on March 13.

It's about extracting information from SAP, PeopleSoft, Siebel and Oracle Applications for analytical use, which is something many shops need to do, yet struggle with. Can packages help get the data out and make sense of it? I'll be talking about what to watch out for and how you'll need to complement the solutions in the market.

You can register here.

Technorati tags: Business Objects, SAP, Peoplesoft, Siebel, Oracle Applications,
data warehouse

Posted February 25, 2007 10:59 AM
Permalink | No Comments |

Next time you reach for the pepper shaker, you may have to wonder if it has a little something extra in it. APPARENTLY Hitachi has developed powder-size RFID tags, the pictures of which are all over the internet showing this little spec on a finger and a bunch of specs around an enlarged human hair (example link). However, after an exhaustive search for a legitimate news item on this, I am beginning to wonder if this story is real. Maybe it’s because I reported on the chips in coins, which turned out to be untrue, but I’m just skeptical about this one.

The reported size is 0.05mm x 0.05mm and the suggested use is not actually for ingesting, but for anti-counterfeit measures.

If you have any information, links or opinions on the feasibility of these chips, please comment here.

Technorati tags: RFID

Posted February 20, 2007 5:11 PM
Permalink | 1 Comment |

Verichip, which created a system for implanting RFID chips into human arms, held its IPO last Friday. After a rough start, it’s still pretty flat. Turns out, it’s sales have not met expectations. The company statement quotes .1M in revenue, which is an interesting way of expressing $100,000. It further says “we may never achieve market acceptance or more than nominal or modest sales of this system.” What?! Did that come from the marketing department? Did it take an IPO to come to this realization?

I’m just wondering if there is a flaw in this system or if it is being marketed correctly. There are a number of human uses of RFID chips. If nightclubs in Europe can convince its VIP patrons to implant themselves, Verichip should be able to get some more arms chipped in the US.

However, there’s more optimism in object implants. This article speaks of a next generation, “super” RFID. While I disagree with the use of “mainstream” and “most CIOs” in the article characterizing the present, the added sensors to the chips for temperature and weight are consistent with retail implementations of RFID now. I refer to this in my latest article “RFID Database Management Systems Architecture for Retailers.”

Technorati tags: RFID

Posted February 16, 2007 12:37 PM
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I have noticed a pattern of repeated recommendation recently towards a more real-time information architecture for my clients. This is not a “push” recommendation. It’s a pull. End clients are becoming much more astute at being able to deal with real-time information and are demanding more of it. After years of knowing what to do with clean information once it is accessed, competitive pressures are forcing companies to try to access the information earlier in its cycle.

For some enterprise data warehouse oriented shops, the EDW is the first consideration in a real-time strategy. That is, moving some of the ETL selectively from batch to real-time. This is certainly a viable strategy, especially when data access investment has most predominantly occurred in the data warehouse environment, real-time feeds are feasible and data access in the operational environment, with EII for example, is not just really a better option.

In order to even consider the real-time EDW option for real-time information needs, there are key requirements that must be considered. Each side of the equation (operational environment and data warehouse) must be co-conspirators in the success of real-time sourcing. This mainly affects the operational environments, which are often old, fragile, expensive to upkeep and lacking in-house expertise. Ironically, these are often the reasons data is extracted from these systems to begin with, yet it also can be prohibitive to doing the sourcing in real-time. By the same token, I have also experienced real-time attempts with underpowered data warehouses where the data warehouse could not manage both loading and high query activity simultaneously. Sometimes partitioning strategies alleviate this concern, but not always.

There is no standard way of achieving real-time data warehouses. Some reschedule their “batch” ETL to run more frequently. This is feasible when the ETL has been designed well in the first place to “pick up where it left off” with the operational extracts, regardless of wall clock time. Others utilize EAI and EII technologies and are able to perform the extracts in the operational infrastructure with these.

Technorati tags: EDW, Real Time, data+warehouse, EII

Posted February 8, 2007 1:15 PM
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I have a new webinar with Mindy Fiorentino, VP, Solution Marketing, Analytics & Performance Management, and Claus Gruenewald, VP, Solution Management, Analytics, of SAP on "The Performance Driven Enterprise" up and available at this link.

From the introduction there....Join this one-hour, free DM Review webcast sponsored by SAP and find out why it's no longer enough to solve a BI or Analytics "point-problem" and why enterprises must now look at how they manage performance across every business team.

Technorati tags: SAP, Business Performance Management, BPM.

Posted February 5, 2007 9:29 PM
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