Speaker Spotlight Column: Karen Lopez on Data Modeling

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edw2013-speaker-spotlightby Charles Roe

DATAVERSITY™ recently interviewed Karen Lopez, the Senior Project Manager and Architect at InfoAdvisors. Karen will be giving a session at the Enterprise Data World 2014 Conference in Austin, Texas from April 27 – May 1, 2014. Her session is titled “Driving Development Projects with Enterprise Data Models.”  She is also moderating the Embarcadero ER/Studio Special Interest Group (SIG).

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 Karen Lopez on her work and history within the industry, with particular importance on her presentation at the upcoming conference:

DATAVERSITY (DV): What are you going to discuss during your session at EDW14, 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).

Karen Lopez (KL):   The SIG is an opportunity for ER/Studio users and potential users to share their experiences in data modeling.  So while there is a presentation, it really is about users exchanging tricks and questions about the product set. In my half day workshop, I’m going to be leading the group in practical, real-world processes for creating and leveraging Enterprise Data Models to drive development projects.  My focus here is practical, not just the traditional waterfall method of taking 6 months to complete an enterprise model.   It’s all about how we can continue to be relevant in a rapidly changing data world.

DV: What is really important about such a topic in terms of the current state of Data Management and / or how the industry going to transform moving into the future?

KL:  I have deemed 2014 “The Year of Data” given the focus on Big Data, data protection, and the explosive growth of data analytics and decision making.  While the modeling is the important thing, we couldn’t possibly support enterprise class data models without enterprise class tools.  We also benefit from the fact that the top data modeling tools have years of maturity built into them.  But with that maturity comes complexity. It’s a good thing, but it means that we can help each other by sharing our experiences in using these tools.

In the ER/Studio SIG we’ll be definitely talking about future and impacts, given the recent news that ERwin will be acquired by Embarcadero. There will also be an ERwin SIG happening at the same time and I’m working with Tom Bilcze to see how we can bring together modelers using both products to chat about the impact on the industry.

DV: Please tell us a little about yourself and your history in the industry, past work experience, and how you got started in the data profession?

KL: I started my career in the Data Management/Information Engineering areas.  That seems like so long ago.  I think I’ve attended 15 EDW/DAMA/Meta Data Symposium conferences. Maybe more.

DV: What is the biggest challenge happening in your particular area of Data Management at this time?

KL: I talk about this every month in my DATAVERSITY Big Challenges in Data Modeling Webinar.

DV: How is such a change influencing your job?

KL:  It’s exciting.  And challenging trying to keep up with all this change. It always has been, but I really do think we’ve seen a upturn in innovation in the data areas.  Some disruptive, some gradual.  It will be interesting to see how the profession responds.

DV: How have your job, and / or the work you are doing at your organization, altered in the past 12 months? How do you expect it will change in the next 1-2 years?

KL:  I’m doing a lot more with Cloud and hybrid NoSQL/SQL work.

DV: Are there any other emerging technologies you predict will affect your job function in the future?

KL:  Yes.

DV: What’s your favorite “Data” or “Data Management” quote?

KL:  Love your Data.  It was on my CompuServe bio. That’s how long it has been my quote.

DV: How do you explain what you do for work, at a cocktail party, or to your grandparents?

KL:  I help organizations make good decisions by helping them love their data.

If you are interested in attending Karen’s session at EDW2014, please see the conference schedule at:

Her session is on Monday, April 28th at 8.30am.

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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