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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 2008 Archives

In a very strategic move for Microsoft's enterprise goals, they have just announced the purchase of data warehouse appliance vendor Datallegro!

While Microsoft has significantly expanded SQL Server's scale over the past few years, the perception of its limitations has been somewhere below the "big guys" of Oracle and IBM. And, wherever you believe the scalability of SQL Server has grown to, now undoubtedly the scale of Microsoft solutions goes beyond 100 terabytes. This is the scale that many, myself included, believe accessible data management capabilities need to get to in order to manage the future of telecommunications, retail, healthcare and other transactions and make them available.

Look for Microsoft, and others like myself, to publish reference architectures and guidance on the changeover point from SQL Server to Datallegro (or should we start calling it Microsoft MPP?) as well as integration points.

I have found Microsoft's integration of its acquisitions to be very above average in terms of making the most of the acquired products. There are too many data appliances and Datallegro was caught up in this frenzy. It has found its way to be a long-term appliance play.

The open source DBMS that Datallegro was using, Ingres, will be scrapheaped over time and replaced by SQL Server. This will take some time, but Microsoft has that. Its customers now can see a plan in action and that will hold them over for a while. Many customers have settled into the "Microsoft zone" of pricing, which is more than open source (duh), but less than its big competitors. Look for Datallegro, likewise, to be in the low (but not "no") cost points for its capabilities.

Congratulations to the respective teams.

Posted July 24, 2008 1:25 PM
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Some of you have noticed that my bio, above, has changed. Yes, I have completed my employment agreement with Conversion Services International and I have joined Lucidity Consulting Group to lead their information management practice.

A little about my new company and endeavor...

Lucidity has been around for 8 years and has built a solid consultancy based on relationships and results. I've found the people extremely professional and dedicated. Lucidity was rated #8 "Best Companies to Work For" in Texas earlier this year. With over 100 consultants and offices in Dallas, Chicago, Denver and St. Louis, and existing, strong practices in Oracle applications, JD Edwards, Hyperion and Siebel, I have the foundation of a strong team for expansion of the information management capabilities.

My practice will be one that you can count on that can partner with your organizations and I am eager to engage a new set of client challenges. I will have a broad range of full lifecycle skills on board that are needed to assess, plan, analyze, design and build best practices information strategy, data warehouse, business intelligence or master data management environments and, as always, from a vendor-neutral, methodology- and architecture-base.

I'm going to stop here because the blog is not where I have historically got salesy. I know some of you were interested in knowing more about Lucidity.

Posted July 24, 2008 12:48 PM
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I was looking forward to this presentation. However, I must admit, with the plethora of appliance vendors who have hit the market lately and made their way onto client short-cum-long lists, I was more than happy to dismiss NeoView if this data point did not move the story forward several paces. However, Greg Battas addressed NeoView's lack of market penetration and their 'soft roll out' up front. They spent a full year with customers before the announcement in 2007.

HP, as a company, was losing big deals to IBM and Oracle since those 2 had full suites. Back in 2004/2005, Tandem (now part of HP) had built an earlier form of NeoView, but ultimately didn’t go to market with it because they didn’t want to compete with Oracle. That's not an issue now.

The first place to test NeoView was at HP itself, where they have, according to Greg, shut down 500 internal databases in a consolidation project.

HP still lacks in the data access space. Obviously, they were looking at BO and Cognos as well as SAP and Oracle did. They are working closely with Ab Initio for ETL although they're philosophy is less 'load and analyze' and more 'ingest and do things inline.' The philosophy, supposedly manifested in the architecture, is very Operational BI-centric.

NeoView is meant to be a "Teradata killer." However, as Greg pointed out, the road is littered with those who claimed to be "better than Teradata" and still, there's Teradata.

Technorati tags: Business Intelligence, Independent Analyst Platform, HP, NeoView

Posted July 14, 2008 7:44 AM
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Microsoft has so many components to their SQL Server family, the standard pitch on SQL Server never gets old. Awareness is paramount to Microsoft's success as it tries to integrate acqusitions (latest: Tetris, FAST) and keep spreading its wings within existing clients and, really, aren't we all Microsoft clients at some level?

Microsoft's philosophy is "BI should be like electricity, it's just there" and "integrating bi into the world in which people work." This philosophy makes sense in Microsoft's world because Microsoft products are like electricity (i.e., Office). Therefore, BI will surface within the Office environment. For example, there are users of Performance Point who don't know they're using it and think they're just using Excel.

Furthermore, they promote BI in 3 contexts: personal (built by me, used by me), team (built by team, for team) and organizational BI (built by IT for use in company) whereas most vendors only focus on the last context.

Sharepoint is going to be increasingly important for BI. Kristine put it this way: Sharepoint is for delivery, Office/Office PPS 2007 is for end user tools and performance management applications and SQL 2005 is for the RDBMS, ETL, OLAP and reporting.

Finally, I was glad to see some emphasis on, and apparent uptick in usage of, data mining in SQL Server, which could be instrumental in taking information exploitation to new levels.

Technorati tags: Business Intelligence, Independent Analyst Platform, Microsoft, SQL Server

Posted July 11, 2008 8:37 AM
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What I liked about the Kalido presentation was that a demonstration was given (that worked) in a short amount of time. I think Bill Hewitt, CEO, has an excellent grasp of the market. Like many of the products at the IAP, I have worked with Kalido.

The modeling tool is very intuitive and graphical and a contrast to ErWin, which is entrenched in our culture. You can download it for free at www.kalido.com/bmcf. Kalido also has a community (http://groups.google.com/group/bmcf), where you can find a number of pre-built models and join the discussion about business-model-driven BI.

In addition to the modeling tool, Kalido has its Dynamic Information Warehouse which, to me, is the backside of the modeling tool - the implementation side, the Universal Information Director, and a Master Data Management tool.

Technorati tags: Business Intelligence, Independent Analyst Platform, Kalido

Posted July 10, 2008 8:06 AM
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