by 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 CA Technologies, the developers of CA ERwin® Modeling, a collaborative data modeling platform for the management of enterprise data.
CA Technologies is a Gold Sponsor at the Enterprise Data World 2013 Conference in San Diego, CA from April 28-May 2, 2013.
The Sponsor Spotlight Column (and its parallel venture the Speaker 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 CA Technologies on their current work and history within the industry, with particular importance on the products and/or services being highlighted at the upcoming conference:
DATAVERSITY (DV): Please tell us a little about you and your company (e.g. brief history, industry focus, primary product line etc.)?
CA Technologies (CAT): CA ERwin® Data Modeler has been a market-leading data modeling tool for over 20 years, and has a long history and depth of expertise in the area of data modeling. With this wealth of domain expertise, we continue to innovate with new product releases, like the CA ERwin Data Modeler r9 launched late last year. CA ERwin has grown to become a central part of the initiatives that run today’s information-driven economy. From data warehousing, to enterprise architecture, to business intelligence – a data model is a central part of any data architecture. CA ERwin provides a robust set of tools around our core data modeling solution—from reporting, to collaboration, to metadata management – to help ensure that data modeling is able to integrate with other tools and business initiatives.
DV: What’s your company elevator pitch?
CAT: The role of the data management professional has become increasingly challenging – having to act as a mediator between multiple audiences, multiple business units and departments, multiple tools and applications, and multiple databases. The pressure is high to increase data quality and provide more rapid access to information, while at the same time you’re being asked to reduce costs.
Have you ever considered a data modeling solution as a way to reduce this complexity and increase collaboration—satisfying the requirements of your diverse audiences, while at the same time increasing data quality and reducing costs? With CA ERwin, both business and technical stakeholders can have a common view of information in context, using a common repository as a central source of information. Once all teams have access to the same consistent, quality data definitions and structures, the reports and applications built off of this data are of higher quality and can be developed more quickly.
DV: What will you be highlighting or showcasing at EDW? Are you planning any product releases or announcements this year at Enterprise Data World?
CAT: The new CA ERwin Data Modeling r9 provides a collaborative data modeling environment to manage enterprise data through an intuitive, graphical interface. With a centralized view of key data definitions, you can leverage information as a strategic asset and more efficiently manage your data resources to save time and money. With CA ERwin Data Modeling r9, you gain access to increased collaboration through the enhancements to two main products:
– CA ERwin® Data Modeler Workgroup Edition – Manage & Collaborate
– CA ERwin® Web Portal – Communicate & Share
DV: What’s the unique selling proposition of your product or service versus your competitors? What do you do that nobody else does (or better than anyone else)?
CAT: CA ERwin understands data modeling, and the needs and requirements of today’s data modeling professional. With over twenty years as leaders in the market, we offer the tools and thought leadership around data modeling, and have built a myriad of features into the tool to support standards, auditing, and both business and technical data modeling layers. In addition, we have a rich community of partners and users who help contribute to our wealth of thought leadership and best practices.
DV: Why should the Enterprise Data World attendees stop by your booth this year?
CAT: It’s definitely worth seeing a demo of the new ERwin r9. We’ve completely re-architected the back-end model repository to help better manage and share model objects. The administration portion is now web-based with a slick, easy-to-use interface. And there have been significant updates to the CA ERwin Web Portal, with new ways for users to give feedback on model changes.
Eligible attendees to the booth will also be entered into a raffle for the book Data Modeling Made Simple with CA ERwin Data Modeler – which is a great resource for those learning ERwin, as well as those who may have been using older versions and want to see what’s changed in the new architecture.
DV: What do you see as the most significant trend happening at this time within the Data Management industry?
CAT: We’re seeing increased interest from business users – the ones using the data, and who understand the business rules and definitions that govern the data. More roles and user types are now interested in the quality, consistency, and reliability of the data. More eyes are on the data than ever before. Collaboration is needed between the business users and IT staff to effectively manage the disconnect between the consumers and providers of data, while at the same time supporting the increasing volumes and complexity of data.
DV: How is this going to affect your particular business focus? How does your product/service address that trend?
CAT: A key part of data management, and something that the CA ERwin Data Modeler tool supports well, is the ability to document and manage both the technical infrastructure of databases, as well as the business rules and definitions that are required to build these database structures. We recently launched a new web-based interface, the CA ERwin Web Portal, that allows end users to easily see these definitions through the web in a non-technical format—similar to an internet-style keyword search, for example. But a limitation was that users weren’t able to comment on or update these definitions—which seriously hampered collaboration between IT and the business. With a read-only interface, communication is only one-way, and users are less able to be involved. Now, with the new release r9, end users are able to make updates to the definitions shown in the portal, so that they can be directly involved in the data management process.
The flip side of having more visibility and input from a wider range of users is that there needs to be a system to regulate security and governance of information. With more eyes on the data, it’s important that users only see the information they’re entitled to, and are only allowed to update what they have permissions for. Also, with data governance being a priority in many organizations, it’s important to keep change history and versions of the data for audit and control purposes. In the new CA ERwin r9, we’ve completely re-architected our model management repository to support this growing diversity in both user types and the data complexity and volume that is increasing as organizations become more and more focused on data in today’s information-driven economy. We’ve not only increased the performance of the underlying engine to support the massive data volumes in today’s organizations, but have also allowed for more granular security and permissions, with support for standards such as LDAP, as well as ways to better organize models to match organizational standards.
DV: What’s the next thing that your company will be working on in its products?
CAT: Reaching new users and roles through data modeling will continue to be a focus for us. Look for new ways of reporting, publishing and repurposing metadata to a variety of users, in addition to new data sources beyond traditional relational databases.
DV: What’s the NEXT big thing in Data Management?
CAT: Collaboration will be key as the data management community continues to evolve. As new technologies are introduced, such as Big Data, NoSQL, etc, we need to be open to these technologies and discover ways to integrate them into our more traditional technologies and best practices. At the same time, as new users and roles become interested in data management, we need to communicate with them in new ways, not only via our traditional ways of communicating. The next big thing is not necessarily a particular new technology or trend, but our ways of adapting to them and collaborating with new groups who enter our community.
DV: What is something noteworthy or uniquely interesting about your company that most attendees and readers may not know about, but that you would like them to know?
CAT: Our biggest asset with CA ERwin is our large and passionate user base. We know many of our customers on a first name basis and have a number of in-person and online community events every year. We not only get together to talk about data management, but to have fun as well. You can find out more about the ERwin Community, including some fun photo albums, at: www.erwin.com/community .
If you are interested in more information about sponsors and exhibitors at EDW2013 see the full listing at: http://edw2013.dataversity.net/sponsors.cfm
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.