Archive for the ‘Master Data Management’ Category


More Baseline Blogging – 24. December, 2010

As promised, there are more blogs to read at Baseline Consulting should you need something to do over the holidays…

Keep It On Track

Do You Know What Your Reports Are Doing?

Also, my recent post Making It Fit made it onto the B-Eye Network! Huzzah!

Happy Holidays!

Publication Notice, with a Twist – 22. February, 2010

A real live press release!

The Data Governance eBook

Voter Suppression and CDI – 18. October, 2008

At the risk of incurring the wrath of The Washington Post by linking to them, here’s an article with current interest that exposes a broader issue:

Thousands Face Mix-Ups In Voter Registrations

It occurs to me that this is a classic Customer Data Integration issue – name pattern matching and verification of the “right” information across multiple databases. There are several responses to this issue, most of which involve trying to include every record possible in the final result set.

I find it interesting that the Republican response to this is to automatically disqualify all those records that do not match, which is curious to me because I doubt that they would do that in the course of their own businesses. It leads me to believe that they really don’t want to fix the issue because it serves them politically (third major election in a row, folks). Food for thought on what really matters to some people…

The Case for the “IT Actuary”, Part 1 – 18. September, 2008

In Part 1 of this paper, we’ll take a look at the issue of Risk Management in the Information Technology field…

The Case for the “IT Actuary”

The success rate of business intelligence system implementation has been poor over the last twenty years. Millions of dollars are spent routinely on projects that ultimately fail to fulfill user expectations. Business users develop their own systems to operate their business analysis processes because the Information Technology group is slow to deploy solutions or the tools provided are not sufficient for managing business operations.

The common thread running through these and other major IT management issues is the inability of the staff to properly identify and quantify risk to the enterprise. This deficiency is generally due to the lack of a risk management skill set within the IT management hierarchy.  This article will use the example of shadow decision support systems to describe how risk management personnel – specifically, the concept of an actuary – can assist IT management in quantifying the risk inherent in major IT decisions and help senior business management enact and enforce more efficient management policies regarding major IT initiatives. This article will also discuss requirements for setting up such a practice, and the hurdles standing in the way of successful implementation.

The Issue

The proliferation of “shadow systems” and the IT response for management of these systems is addressed in the March 2008 Best Practices Report published by The Data Warehousing Institute (TDWI) entitled “Strategies for Managing Spreadmarts.”  This report is the latest in a series of articles describing the characteristics of non-IT business support systems and the issues they cause, published by TDWI and others. Shadow systems cause the production of inconsistent reports from different organizations within the enterprise, compromise data quality, and consume valuable personnel resources that could be used in other activities.

All of these articles and reports do a good job of describing the issues and risks of unmanaged data stores to the enterprise, but they do so in a general manner that is ultimately not useful or persuasive to the senior management personnel who are ultimately responsible for implementing controls over these shadow systems. The irony of the situation is that one of the main functions of a data warehousing organization is to provide accurate, functional measurements of business activities, but the data warehousing group often falls short of providing detailed supporting information for their claims of risk to the enterprise in many areas, including the proliferation of shadow data systems.

The lack of detailed risk analysis from IT groups is not a reflection of a disregard for the seriousness of the issues involved – the risks are well known from an anecdotal sense, but the skill set for quantifying the risks is not present in most IT departments.  Fortunately, a discipline exists for quantifying and detailing risk in business operations, but it is not generally applied to the field of information technology.

Next Time

Next time, we’ll look at the definition of “actuary,” and discuss some of the issues we come across that can be solved by actuarial concepts.

CDI and MDM Are Broken, Part II – 5. September, 2008

My latest article on CDI and MDM technology has been published by

CDI and MDM Are Broken, Part 2

The synopsis of the article:

Part 2 of this article explains the application of semantic technologies to master data management applications, including customer data integration. It examines the two extremes of MDM implementation and proposes a middle ground.

How do you feel? Is your organization ready for MDM and/or semantics? Please share your experiences…

Building a Data Governance Organization – 30. June, 2008

I link today to a post from Dan Power of Hub Solution Designs:

Building a Data Governance Organization

Dan has it right – you should look at Governance as the foundation of an MDM initiative, and it’s a program (multi-year) instead of a project (shorter term). I hadn’t heard of his “rule of thumb” on the number of data stewards required in an organization – hopefully he’ll let me use that 😀

I’d like to expand a little on point 1 of his argument –

Several times, I’ve seen data governance teams and MDM initiatives that never thought beyond their first year’s funding, and who were surprised when funding for Year 2 and beyond wasn’t forthcoming.

The successful Data Governance program implementer will realize that a Governance initiative doesn’t rate highly at all on the scale of initiatives that resonate with business executives because there is very little evidence of tangible benefit in the short term. However, we practitioners know that a well-implemented Governance program is necessary for the long-term health of the organization.

That’s why I like to think of these programs in terms of a physical fitness regimen – it’s not a lot of fun, but you need to do it to facilitate the rest of your life. Therefore, we need to find ways to make the exercise (pardon the pun) more fun and necessary, much the same way that trainers find innovative ways to make our fitness programs seem less like work.

Now, back on the treadmill!

More Ranting – 1. May, 2008

I must be attracted to rants today…

“Compliance” is a Dirty Word

The common thread here is something that I say in relation to Master Data Management – don’t fall into the trap of being dazzled by vendor presentations. If you are serious about doing these things, you can do them with little more than a cocktail napkin and the will to do them, metaphorically speaking. The “will” part is the most important aspect, and the thing that a vendor cannot sell to you.