Why I Am Thankful

by Christine Denney

Two colliding forces served as inspiration for this month’s blog:  #1. the recent US Thanksgiving holiday, and, #2. the fact that this year seems to have flown by at an alarming pace!

As the end of 2012 comes closer and closer, I want to take a moment to think about why I am grateful to be a data management professional and ponder the things within the DM realm for which I am thankful.  So please forgive the metaphors that follow.  It must be the turkey talking.

Imagine this scene.  The house is full of people, the kids are running around, the table is still being set, the dog is barking, the turkey isn’t done yet, the yams are burnt, and the whipped topping for the pie is still sitting back at the supermarket (where it will have to remain for the day).  Are you ready to run for the door?  Of course not.  Because you are a data management professional.

The professional world that we live in is chaotic.  There are lots of people and projects around, some projects take off without a vision, sometimes customers are not happy, a project may be left incomplete, another may have been “over-done”, while another still needed that one last thing to make it complete.  But, in spite of that, somehow we persevere, we deliver, and we grow ourselves and our profession.  That sounds like something for which we can be thankful!

This year, I am thankful because…

  1. The family is growing:  With all of the new business challenges around us, we continue to enhance our portfolio of techniques to deliver value.  Our portfolio includes things from the mature disciplines (data modeling, data warehousing) to the emerging ones (data sciences, big data stores).  And in the world of Master Data Management (You didn’t think that I could create a blog without mentioning MDM, did you?), we are moving from small, siloed, or business area-focused implementations to broader, Enterprise (big “E”) implementations.
  2. We continue to have a place at the “grown-ups table”:  (I’ll explain this a bit for those who haven’t experienced the joy of a large family gathering at my house.)  The key players, i.e. the grown-ups, get to sit with the other important people at the “grown-ups table”, while the kids (even if they are technically the age of adults) are pushed to the children’s table (the table where chaos, rather than conversation, reigns).  While it doesn’t always feel like we have a voice, we do have a seat at the “grown-ups” table and our messages are definitely being heard.    More and more, I hear the words “data” and “asset” used in the same sentence – not just by DM professionals, but also by other areas of IT and the business.
  3. The cousins seem to be getting along:  From journal articles to webinars, there are more and more references to how MDM and big data play well together (or need to play well together) to deliver business value.  I am guessing that your inbox looks like mine and has been filled with articles and webinars that talk about the importance of a harmonious relationship between these two.  (and because I am in thankful mode, I’ll refrain from Hadoop elephant resentment)  We are recognizing that our data management toolbox has room for a variety of techniques and we need to use them together.
  4. We are not afraid to uncover family secrets:  Day by day we see more cases where data quality makes a difference.  Where we may have hidden data issues or tried to fix them before showing them the business, we now expose the data for what it is and ask the business to take ownership.  We are also standing firm on the need to have true data governance that includes action and accountability, rather than just a role assignment.  The DQ and DG area (http://www.dataversity.net/category/data-topics/data-governance/) is full of examples of how Data Quality and Data Governance matter.
  5. We stay grounded in our roots:  We know who we are and the disciplines needed to make our industry successful.  Recently, the Data Management Association (DAMA) announced the release of the DMBOK2 functional framework.  This document lays the groundwork for organizing the updated DMBOK2 (scheduled for release in 2013).  DMBOK2 adds a new slice to the well-known wheel to recognize the importance of data integration and interoperability.  (www.dama.org)

I hope that all of us in the Data Management field can look back at 2012 as a year where we saw the challenges ahead of us and rose to the occasion.

To the great team at DATAVERSITY, I am especially grateful to you for allowing me to rant (mostly about MDM) month after month.  It was also a pleasure meeting several of you at Enterprise Data World this year!

I wish all of you a great holiday season and a fantastic 2013!

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Christine Denney

Christine Denney is responsible for Enterprise MDM strategy and implementation at a fortune 500 company. She has almost 20 years of experience in systems development and data management, with a focus on Data Governance, Reference Data, and Master Data Management for the past 12 years. She is co-founder of the Translational Medicine Ontology task force, a W3C Healthcare and Life Sciences Interest Group, and serves as the VP of Communications for DAMA Indiana. Christine has a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science, holds mastery CDMP and CBIP certifications, and is ITIL v3 certified. Christine can be followed at: http://twitter.com/im4infomgt NOTE: Thoughts expressed in blogs and articles are the author's and not her employer's. 

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