Speaker Spotlight Column: George McGeachie on Data Governance

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edw2013-speaker-spotlightby Charles Roe

In an effort to leverage the knowledge of several of the top minds in the Data Management industry, DATAVERSITY™ has been conducting a series of interviews on some of the most relevant topics in the field today. Recently, we interviewed George McGeachie.

George will be giving a session at the Enterprise Data World 2013 Conference in San Diego, CA from April 28-May 2, 2013. The session is titled “Death By Spreadsheet’ – What Is It, and What Can Be Done About It?”

The Speaker Spotlight Column (and its parallel venture the Sponsor Spotlight Column) is an ongoing project that focuses on highlighting several of the central issues represented at the many Data Management conferences produced by DATAVERSITY.

The primary emphasis of the interview was to question George McGeachie on his work and history within the industry, with particular importance on his presentation at the upcoming conference:

DATAVERSITY (DV): Please tell us a little about yourself and your history in the industry e.g role at company (as opposed to job title), past experience and how you got started in the data profession?

George McGeachie (GM): Many years have gone by since I was first introduced to IT and data management in general, and data modelling in particular. I initially worked for a UK organisation that was one of the first to offer an integrated modelling and design tool, complete with the ability to generate databases and complete applications. Since then, I’ve worked in a number of different industries, all the while evangelising the good practices I learnt way back when.

DV: What’s the focus of the work do you currently do within your organization?

GM: My focus is two-fold currently – earning a living creating quality data models for clients, and providing expertise and training in my favourite data modelling tool, PowerDesigner.

DV: What is the biggest change going on in your particular area of the industry at this time?

GM: The importance and nature of metadata (in the widest sense) is better recognised than it ever has been (apart from my first employer, of course).

DV: How does such a change affect your job?

GM: I’m being asked to design data modelling approaches and data models by people who’ve never had them before. I’m also advising clients on the need to integrate the new metadata silos they’re creating, by buying multiple specialist tools.

DV: What are you going to discuss during your session at Enterprise Data World and what will the audience gain from attending your talk? (Please be specific about one or two issues you’ll be addressing, and the benefits the audience will obtain).

GM: My main session shares some of my experiences of ‘Death by Spreadsheet’, and enables participants to share their own experiences – we’re mostly data people, so I’m sure there’ll be a consensus for the ‘right answer’, but you never know. I’m also running a Special Interest Group for PowerDesigner again.

DV: How has your job, and/or the work you’re doing at your organization, changed in the past 12 months?  How do you expect it to change in the next 1-2 years?

GM: That’s a tricky one for an independent consultant. One thing’s for sure, it won’t be ‘more of the same’.

DV: More broadly speaking, what do you believe is the most significant change happening in Enterprise Data at this time?

GM: Business and Process Analysts are becoming interested in describing data.

DV: How is Big Data going to affect your job (in your organization) in future?

GM: Increased awareness of the importance of Data Governance, especially definitions and models.

DV: What is something noteworthy about yourself that you would like to tell the conference attendees and our readers that they may not know?

GM: I co-authored “Data Modeling Made Simple with PowerDesigner” with Steve Hoberman, and I’m working on the second edition – all comments are welcomed. I’m also planning to move my family to Canada from the UK.


If you are interested in attending George’s workshop at EDW2013, please see the conference schedule at: http://edw2013.dataversity.net/agenda.cfm?confid=72&scheduleDay=PRINT

The workshop is on Wednesday, May 1, at 10.30am.

About Enterprise Data World:

Enterprise Data World is the business world’s most comprehensive educational event about data and information management. Over five days, EDW presents a diverse schedule of programming that addresses every level of proficiency, including keynotes, workshops, tutorials, case studies, and discussions

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