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                         DSS News 
                    D. J. Power, Editor 
               May 9, 2004 -- Vol. 5, No. 10
         A Bi-Weekly Publication of DSSResources.COM 

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Featured: 
* Report from DAMA + Meta-data Conference
* DSS News Releases 

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Report from DAMA + Meta-data Conference
by Dan Power

On Monday May 3, 2004 I journeyed to Los Angeles for the Wilshire 
Meta-data and DAMA International (www.dama.org) joint conference. DAMA 
is the Data Management Association International. The conference is 
advertised as "the largest and most authoritative vendor-neutral data 
management conference in the world". After attending, I concur. 
DSSResources.COM was a media sponsor of the joint conference, but my 
knowledge was limited to reading well-designed glossy marketing 
brochures and visiting the conference and DAMA websites.

Despite some travel delays, I was able to catch the last part of a 
Monday tutorial taught by consultant and well-known author Sid Adelman 
and a night school talk by Gordon Everest, Professor at the Carlson 
School of Management, University of Minnesota. The number of academics 
in attendance was small (probably due to the cost), but the atmosphere 
was decidely one of continuing education and curiosity.

In the next few paragraphs, I'll highlight the presentations that I 
attended and couldn't attend (but wish I could've). Most of the time 
there were 7 or 8 concurrent sessions and I gravitated to those that 
focused on materials relevant to designing and building data-driven DSS 
and to making operations data understandable to business users with 
metadata. The IS practioners from the trenches were out in force and the 
sessions I couldn't fit in ranged from data modeling, metadata and 
database administration to data architecture and every aspect of data 
management. I recommend that readers check the entire agenda at URL 
http://www.wilshireconferences.com/MD2004/ .

I wasn't able to attend any of the Sunday sessions that included 10 
afternoon workshops by experts like John Zachman, Bob Seiner and Fabian 
Pascal and six night school sessions that ran from 7-8pm. Monday 
featured 10 day long tutorials. I attended the last session of Sid 
Adelman's tutorial, but all of the topics sounded interesting. John 
Ladley focused on the data warehouse and information management and 
David Marco reviewed managing meta data. Joe Celko reviewed the basics 
of data and databases (knowing Joe a little bit I'm sure he had an in 
depth presentation).

So what did Sid Adelman have to say? My notes focused on highlights from 
the last few hours of Sid's tutorial that started at 8:30am, but all of 
the attendees received a CD with his slides (the CD included almost all 
of the presentations).  I've reviewed many of the slideshows and the CD 
is a great resource. Returning to Sid's tutorial about "How to develop 
an enterprise data strategy". Sid had 149 slides in eleven modules and 
his tutorial included exercises. One highlight for me was Sid's 11 
question Business Intelligence Readiness Test. Sid's focus is still on 
data warehousing in the readiness test. And perhaps data quality and 
data access is the key to the report and query centric Business 
Intelligence of most vendors. Module 8 focused on software and 
evaluation. Module 11 wrapped up the tutorial by focusing on "selling" 
and communicating the data strategy. Sid is a "data guy" more than a 
business decision support application guy, but you've got to understand 
Sid's world view if you want to move on to data-driven decision support.

At 5pm Monday, I went to night school. The DAMA+Meta-data attendees were 
primarily data architects, DBAs, data managers, MIS managers, analysts 
and data modelers. There were only about 6 professors registered out of 
approximately 900 attendees. So in a spirit of commaraderie I went to 
Prof. Gordon Everest's presentation. In a perfect world I would have 
attended them all (I'll review the slideshows instead). Gordon discussed 
conducting database design project meetings. He strongly advocates an 
extended, participative design process.  He noted an "accelerated 
approach may be good for eliciting information requirements and setting 
priorities, not for database design". Gordon advocates an external 
facilitator with an internal "scribe" to assume ownership of the meeting 
minutes and design decisions. Gordon's presentation was only attended by 
about 35 people, but his audience was attentive and interested.  Given 
the 5pm time slot and competition from Fabian Pascal (the DB debunker) 
and 6 other sessions ...

Tuesday morning started early for me with the ERwin data modeling 
special interest group session at 7:15am. There was also an Meta 
Data/XML conversion SIG meeting down the hall.  I ate a bagle and 
listened to Marcie Barkin Goodwin and the early bird data modelers.

Following the welcome, Chris Date gave a keynote titled "Database 
Graffiti: Scribbles from the Askew Wall". Chris is an entertaining 
speaker and he made some excellent points especially about remembering 
the history and facts of the relational data model. BUT Chris's 
presentation was copyright 1997 and he's still bogged down in the object 
database and data warehousing wars of the early 1990s. Chris Date made 
it clear he has no respect for Bill Inmon, the data warehousing 
evangelist. IMHO Chris needs to check that he's not stuck in his own 
"Askew Wall".

A quick coffee break and I headed for Jill Dyche's presentation "From 
Afterthought to Asset: The Business Value of Data". Jill is great.  She 
radiates confidence, knowledge and enthusiasm. Jill and Baseline are 
promoting an "Information Center of Excellence" approach to data 
management. The center staff has 10 major tasks including defining data 
requirements, working with DBAs to design and deploy data, and 
understanding how data affects new business processes. Check with Jill 
for all the details (http://www.baseline-consulting.com/).

In the session before lunch on Tuesday, I listened to Craig Mullins 
discuss database trends. Craig is a technical database consultant with 
good ideas. He argues the job of a DBA is "getting increasingly more 
difficult". His trends include: intelligent automation of DBA tasks and 
a DBA control panel. 

Following a Lasagna lunch sponsored by Knightsbridge Solutions, I 
attended Jonathan Wu's presentation "Assessing BI Suites and Platforms 
for Performance Excellence".  Coincidentally, Jonathan is a Senior 
Principal with Knightsbridge Solutions. Jonathan cited the following 
definition that he attributed to Gartner Group in the late 1980's 
"Business Intelligence is a user-centered process that includes 
accessing, exploring, and analyzing data and developing insights and 
understanding, which leads to improved and informed decision making." Wu 
defined business intelligence suites as "software applications that 
enable individuals to perform: enterprise reporting, ad hoc query and 
analysis, Online Analytical Processing (OLAP), and analytics/data 
visualization". He defined business intelligence platforms as "software 
tools that enable individuals to develop custom BI applications that 
are: subject matter specific and/or integrated with other applications". 
Wu identified nine leading BI product vendors: Actuate, Business 
Objects/Crystal Decisions, Cognos, Hyperion/Brio, Information Builders, 
Microsoft, MicroStrategy, Oracle and SAS. He discussed each vendor in 
some detail. Overall, I found Jonathan knowledgeable and interesting. In 
terms of BI, Jonathan asserted "The purpose is not to install software, 
it is to provide a solution to the information needs of individuals 
within the organization". YES, that's the kind of consulting help 
managers need.

At 3:15pm, I briefly checked on Charles Betz's presentation on "Metadata 
and IT service management". Charlie is a Technical Consultant with Best 
Buy. According to Charlie, we need an ERP for IT. We had a chance to 
chat Wednesday.  I wanted to listen to David Schlesinger of Intel Corp. 
discuss data privacy and security. "New data laws require an 
understanding of who is using what corporate data". David identified and 
defined eight data regulatory groups: financial, customer, privacy, 
controlled technical, trade secrets, competitive advantage, 
non-financial insider information and conflict of interest.  By now my 
patient readers have ascertained the richness and expertise of the 
program offerings and the presenters. At about 4:30pm I went to the 
vendor showcase -- talked, listened and ate turkey and roast beef 
sandwiches and had a glass of wine. About 7:30pm I went back to my hotel 
room.

Wednesday started out early with another bagel and a SIG on 
Post-Secondary Education in Data Management. Deborah Henderson and Anne 
Marie Smith, the SIG leaders, are sincere in wanting to work with 
community colleges and universities. Apparently DAMA-I has had problems 
working with the Information Resources Management Association (IRMA) on 
a joint revised curriculum guide.  That collaboration ended in January 
2004 and DAMA-I plans to issue its own suggestions and work on new 
certification tests with ICCP.

At 8:30am I went to Terry Quatrani presentation "UML for Database 
Design". Terry is IBM's UML evangelist and a Rational Software alum. The 
bad news is that 66% of software projects fail because of lack of user 
input, unclear objectives, incomplete requirements, changing 
requirements, lack of planning, and communication problems (Standish 
Group, 2003). The solution for reducing project failure rates is UML. 
The Unified Modeling Language (UML) "is the standard language for 
visualizing, specifying, constructing, and documenting the artifacts of 
a software-intensive system". Terry did a great job reviewing the basics 
and we need increased use of UML in building all types of DSS.

Malcom Chisholm's presentation "A Checklist for Building A Taxonomy" was 
next on my dance card. Malcom, President of Askget.com Inc., uses the 
following definition "A taxonomy is a hierarchical classification of a 
domain of objects that share certain characteristics. The taxonomy 
categorizes these objects based on relevant characteristics. It serves a 
particular purpose, and is only useful within the context of that 
purpose." Malcom reviewed both the definition and business rules 
approaches to categorization.

At 11:15am my path led to Robert Randall's presentation "Defining the 
Financial Value of Information". Randall didn't offer any new methods, 
but he emphasized why we must persist in demonstrating how valuable 
information is to managers. Randall noted that decision support is a 
corporate driver for defining information as an asset. Other drivers are 
corporate memory retention, compliance and regulations. "Make sure 
executives understand the value of information."

After lunch I attended an excellent panel discussion chaired by Tony 
Shaw of Wilshire Group titled "Data Management: The Next Big Thing." 
Tony is the content guy at Wilshire and he's apparently chaired a 
similar panel for the past few years. Panelists included Tony, Todd 
Stephens, John Friedrich, Charlie Betz, Craig Mullens and Neil Raden. So 
what's next? Better business applications that exploit data, more 
integration, better tools for managing meta data, a DBA dashboard and 
DBA automation, an ERP for data integration, compliance support, and 
evolving data management roles. The panel was informative and at times 
entertaining.  Neil Raden is the "Hired Brain". He's smart, a bit of a 
curmudgeon, but I'd put him on my team for a tough project.  Charlie, 
Craig and Todd are techies with insight. Tony Shaw is Australian and 
that says alot about his personality.  His smile, knowledge and 
attention to detail say the rest.

My last conference session was a keynote by Len Silverston (Universal 
Data Models).  I hadn't heard Len speak before so I was please to find 
out that he could keep a room filled with 800 people entertained and 
involved.  We were listening, standing up when requested, and we were 
learning Len's philosophy of the "how" of data integration. According to 
Len, what is needed to create data integration is much more than tools, 
methodologies and expertise. Managers need to develop trust, keep sight 
of the goal (common goals), appreciate different perspectives, and learn 
from the past (re-use).

At about 4pm the Vendor area opened for talk and an "ice cream social". 
At 7pm I headed for the airport on the Super Shuttle, did some reading 
and took the "red eye" back to Minneapolis and then on to Cedar Falls.

To get the most benefit from DAMA+Meta-Data companies need to send a 
team of 5-6 people.  A number of companies did that including Aera 
Energy, Allstate Insurance, American Express, Anthem Blue Cross, ASG, US 
Bureau of Land Management, Capital One, Deere, Eli Lilly, GMAC-RFC, 
Hewlett Packard, Intel, Kaiser Permanente, Nationwide Insurance, 
PricewaterhouseCoopers, Sharp Informatics, Boeing, T-Mobile, Toyota, US 
DOD, and Wells Fargo. 

The conference was well managed and the opportunities to interact with 
data mangement practitioners was great.  For example, while checking 
email, I was able to quiz Cathy Doss, VP and Chief Data Officer at 
Capital One, about her use of a Table PC.  Cathy was using it with an 
internet connection and she feels a Table PC is a great productivity 
enhancer. Over lunch the GMAC-RFC guys briefed on their data management 
efforts. Neil Raden kept me on my toes and demonstrated once again why I 
like his thinking and wit.

Many thanks to Tony Shaw, Chairman of Wilshire, and Andrew Everett, 
President of Wilshire Conferences. Also, I want to thank Larry Dziedzic, 
DAMA-I President, Michael Brackett, Past President, John Schley, DAMA-I 
VP of Chapter Services, and Denis Kosar, VP Citigroup and President 
DAMA-I New York. Finally, there were more than 100 presenters at the 
conference and they all deserve thanks for their willingness to share 
their knowledge and experiences. THANKS.


Please note: The University of Northern Iowa Department of Management 
provided financial support for Dan Power's trip to Los Angeles for 
DAMA+Meta-Data.

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       DSS2004: Decision Support in an Uncertain World
                  July 1-3, Prato, Italy
      http://dsslab.sims.monash.edu.au/dss2004/index.php

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DSS News - April 25 to May 7, 2004
Read them at DSSResources.COM and search the DSS News Archive

05/07/2004 SAIC awarded U.S. Army contract to serve as lead systems 
integrator for the Guardian Installation Protection program.

05/06/2004 Frost & Sullivan releases latest web conferencing market 
report: WebEx communications increases to 67% market share.

05/06/2004 Experian-Scorex and Standard & Poor's Risk Solutions host 
Basel II Accord seminar.

05/05/2004 Melissa Data introduces SOAP interface for data quality web 
service.

05/04/2004 GMAC Commercial Finance standardizes on Information Builders' 
WebFOCUS.

05/03/2004 Nationwide Financial(R) tool helps advisors recommend 
personalized investment solutions.

04/29/2004 Geac closes $250,000 software sale to global communications 
company in Asia.

04/29/2004 Primus Knowledge Solutions ranks first in new web 
self-service study.

04/28/2004 MEDai's predictive modeling solution helps care managers 
significantly impact cost savings.

04/28/2004 Top independent survey again validates MicroStrategy's 
superiority for data scalability and Web deployment.

04/28/2004 SAS(R) powers better credit decisions for CAPITAL card 
services.

04/27/2004 New risk management solution supports formalized risk 
management.

04/27/2004 Improved FileMaker Meetings 2.0 and FileMaker Tasks 2.0 
business applications now shipping from FileMaker.

04/27/2004 Venetica partners with IBM to deliver new integration 
solution for structured and unstructured information.

04/26/2004 Ace Hardware names MicroStrategy enterprise-wide standard for 
reporting and analysis. 

04/26/2004 Teradata is the first to automate the most difficult data 
mining tasks.

04/26/2004 Databeacon and Infinite Campus help educators meet "No Child 
Left Behind" act requirements.

04/26/2004 Hyperion Essbase: Powerful analytics drive enterprise-wide 
performance.

04/26/2004 Hyperion customers deploying dashboards as the face of 
business performance management.

04/26/2004 New studies set standard for enterprise BI scalability.

04/26/2004 Microsoft acquires ActiveViews' business intelligence 
functionality.

04/26/2004 PLD Group enriches customer service with Oracle(R) Daily 
Business Intelligence.

04/25/2004 Intergraph demonstrates customer success with Geospatial 
Resource Management system.

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DSS News is copyrighted (c) 2004 by D. J. Power. Please send your questions to
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