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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!

Recently in Consultants Category

I made it to the Oracle Collaborate show this week in Orlando.  I presented a case study presentation on a MDM initiative.  I spent several hours in the expo hall talking with people in some interesting concepts.  A couple of themes stood out as being somewhat new to being on an expo hall floor.

1.       Lifecycle data support

There continues to be evidence that new approaches are necessary to keep data alive and do it at a lower cost than keeping "all data online everywhere".

Sure, we've got major compression and columnar orientation to compress complete rows of data everywhere it resides.  However, we usually don't usually want to carry production data loads in the development and test environments, yet we need data that approximates production data there.  One feature of IBM Infosphere Optim, among others, is the ability to get a representative sampling of production data into those environments according to the direction you set. 

Also, there were the archival features of TierData, which smartly determines which production data, even columns, you can safely archive to improve the overall performance of the application.

2.       Part Time Help

The commoditization of certain functions that were always just there in the shop and taken for granted continues.  For better or worse, services like SmartHelp from Circular Edge and DBA on Demand from SmartDog give their clients flexible work arrangements for a variety of technical enterprise functions. 


Posted April 16, 2011 2:35 PM
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Sung to the tune of The Christmas Song...

Competitors roasting on an open fire
Account Managers nipping at your budget
Buzzwords being sung by a choir
And folks dressed up in business casual.

Everybody knows some statements of work and signatures
Help to make the season bright
Practice Managers with their eyes all aglow
Will find it hard to sleep tonight.

They know that next year’s budgets are on their way
It’s loaded lots of toys and goodies on the sleigh
And every friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend is gonna spy
To see if project managers really know how to buy.

And so I'm offering this simple phrase
To Directors from thirty-one to sixty-five
Although it's been said many times, many ways
Merry Consulting to you.


Posted December 4, 2007 8:19 AM
Permalink | 1 Comment |

By now, I’m sure you’ve all heard of Oscar the Cat, the nursing home cat who, as the story goes, can predict when residents are going to die. Here is a link to the story. I have had some awkward stare-downs with cats this week as a result of learning about Oscar.

Anyway, all I have to say is that the first thing I thought of when learning about this feline forebearer of demise is that he has his counterparts in the business intelligence world. - specifically those consultants or employees whose mere presence on a project can signal its ruin. Sometimes I have to point out the Oscars and rarely, but occasionally, as a practice manager, my screening misfires and I end up with an Oscar on my team though, fortunately, it’s never been too late for the project.

The people on a project are extremely important to its success and generally not easy to find. I have been fortunate to surround myself with the best in the business.

We all know Oscars. Be careful not to be one or hire one!

Technorati tags: consultant, employee, project


Posted July 31, 2007 9:58 AM
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What is the difference between an outsourcer, a partner and a group of people from a common third-party source? Sorry, no joke here.

Let me explain:

Data warehousing, business intelligence, master data management, or other programs are only useful when they produce ROI, either directly or, more likely, indirectly. Knowing and enabling the chain of business events that must occur to produce that ROI requires business knowledge. The direction of the program and the future business and architecture targets are business functions, most likely rightfully maintained by end-client personnel – though augmented, and often stimulated, by a consulting partner.

It is important for end clients to define precisely the roles and responsibilities of their vendors. It is more than simply labeling a vendor as your outsourcer or partner. In fact, that label is nearly meaningless without an apportionment of roles. Those terms do not carry universal definition. To think that any vendor will take care of everything your program needs is fallacious, and for the end client (employees) to not seek education on the technology and the processes involved in the program is neglectful.

Over time, consulting partners prove their ability to lead, plan and do the necessary DW/BI work for their clients. The key to success for a program manager is making sure all required tasks, including the strategic ones, are done in an efficient manner (i.e., by those competent to do so) within time expectations. The tasks should add up to the program that meets the longevity requirements and deadline constraints. DW/BI programs, with or without consulting partners, spend a lot of time handing off expectations for the strategic tasks involved. To the degree that a consulting partner can participate in the strategic tasks, great. To the degree they can’t, augment those functions and scale the consultancy back to the delivery tasks. Expect to do this unless you are working with those select consultancies with real strategists (on your account!).


Posted April 30, 2006 6:20 PM
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