DAMA-NCR chapter meeting, November 5, 2007

Went to the DAMA-NCR meeting yesterday and it turned out to be quite a good meeting. The format was different from the normal half day thing (it was all day) and we actually had some folks there from out of town which was cool. I think the out of town folks were in town because the Metatopia conference was supposed to start yesterday but was canceled a few weeks ago. Another kind of "new" thing was the level of interaction between the attendees. At large I believe most of the folks who belong to the niche or discipline are introverts, however we had a few folks there yesterday that were not shy about speaking up, which turns out to have lightened the mood for everyone. Overall it was a good day.

The speakers included
1) David Hay, President Essential Strategies, Inc.
2) David Loshin, President Knowledge Integrity, Inc.
3) David Webber, IntegrityOne Partners
4) Bonnie O'Neil, Project Performance Corp and Yazmin Row, Technology in Motion, Inc.
5) Suzanne Acar, Federal Data ARchitecture Sub-Committee co-chair, U.S. Department of the Interior

A short summary of each
1) David Hay's discussion was focused on XML and how some folks use XML to try to do data modeling. To make a long story (presentation) short, Modeling data by using XML isn't the way to go. David used examples of properly formated XML docs that modeled the structure of an MS Excel file and showed how if you were to translate the XML doc into a data model the data model would be garbage. Overall I liked this presentation.

2) David Loshin's attendence was quite a surprise for me. He writes all the time for the Bill Inmon newsletter "Business Intelligence Network Newsletter" and I was excited that he came in and talked with us. His talk focused on master data management (MDM) techniques and I found his discussion quite useful and practical. Instead of just talking about the buzzword, David showed high level architecture framework options (via diagrams) for MDM, which was great. Two thumbs up for David.

3) David Webber's discussion about SOA was focused on XML and the inadequacies of XML schemas and XSDs. He introduced a better way for validating XML documents via something he called CAM. He used a client tool (built on top of Eclipse) to show how jCAM can take an XML document, create a validation routine document (called CAM Template, it's kind of like a schema definition), edit the template to add rules and then use jCAM to validate other XML documents using the template. David said something that really jumped out at me, something like "whenever I'm going to talk XML to a partner, we trade an XML document to start off with, we don't start with schemas". I found this to be totally true in every sense. Maybe it's like one of those things we all know but don't like to admit. I have a feeling that many of the folks were a little glossy eyed during this talk since it was pretty technical and it fell right after lunch. Overall I really enjoyed this however and I plan on keeping in touch with David, we'll see what happens.

4) Next we had Bonnie O'Neil and Yazmin Rowe. Bonnie and Yazmine talked about how they successfully implemented a data quality program at a government agency, but I kind of didn't get the whole thing. It seemed that they talked and talked and mentioned accomplishments, but I just found the presentation to be all over the place. Not sure why, but this one wasn't for me.

5) Last we had Suzanne Acar come to the front of the room and discuss guidelines that the Federal Data Architecture sub-committee was trying to release to try to assist folks with initiating a data quality program. Suzanne discussed the successes and challenges her team has had thus far and I found her to be quite engaging. She did drab on a little bit about this agency and that which I couldn't follow since I'm not a government guy, but overall her message was loud and clear, her team is trying to help agencies get quality programs started by laying a foundation or framework on what to do. Very well done.

Overall I strongly recommend that IT pro's get involved in local user groups. They're a great way to get some cheap training in and it's always good to talk to folks who have similar problems to yours and get their opinions.

Until next time...Rich


David Loshin said…
Thanks for the thumbs up! I am trying to normalize a lot of the jibber-jabber regarding MDM so we can see where we are doing suff that we already used to do (under a different name) and where there is something new. Plus I didn't have to travel in from out of town; it was just a short metro ride ;-)

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