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Ronald Damhof

I have been a BI/DW practitioner for more than 15 years. In the last few years, I have become increasingly annoyed - even frustrated - by the lack of (scientific) rigor in the field of data warehousing and business intelligence. It is not uncommon for the knowledge worker to be disillusioned by the promise of business intelligence and data warehousing because vendors and consulting organizations create their "own" frameworks, definitions, super-duper tools etc.

What the field needs is more connectedness (grounding and objectivity) to the scientific community. The scientific community needs to realize the importance of increasing their level of relevance to the practice of technology.

For the next few years, I have decided to attempt to build a solid bridge between science and technology practitioners. As a dissertation student at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, I hope to discover ways to accomplish this. With this blog I hope to share some of the things I learn in my search and begin discussions on this topic within the international community.

Your feedback is important to me. Please let me know what you think. My email address is

About the author >

Ronald Damhof is an information management practitioner with more than 15 years of international experience in the field.

His areas of focus include:

  1. Data management, including data quality, data governance and data warehousing;
  2. Enterprise architectural principles;
  3. Exploiting data to its maximum potential for decision support.
Ronald is an Information Quality Certified Professional (International Association for Information and Data Quality one of the first 20 to pass this prestigious exam), Certified Data Vault Grandmaster (only person in the world to have this level of certification), and a Certified Scrum Master. He is a strong advocate of agile and lean principles and practices (e.g., Scrum). You can reach him at +31 6 269 671 84, through his website at or via email at

June 2010 Archives

A story.....
  • Vendor X sells its ERP to a company in Healthcare;
  • Client wishes to setup its informational environment (data sharing, BI, CPM etc..) right from the start;
  • Vendor X pushes the 'standard' solution' they sell;
  • Client decides to decouple their informational environment from its source(s) for several reasons (heterogeneous sources, sustainability, compliance, adaptability etc..);
  • Vendor X deploys their ERP;
  • Client starts to design and build the informational environment;
  • Interfaces between ERP of vendor X and the informational environment are developed;
  • The ERP of vendor X off does not offer functional interfaces ('X keeps pushing their standard product'), so client needs to connect on the physical level;
  • Going-live is near; of both the ERP and the new informational environment

And then change management of vendor X regarding the ERP kicks in.

Client: 'What's your release schedule for patches'?
X: 'Every 2 weeks' 
Client: 'Huh'?

Client thinks: 'Damn, how can I keep up with this change schedule?'

Client: 'Well, can you tell me anything regarding the average impact of these patches?'
X: 'Well, they can be very small and very big' 

Client thinks: 'Ok, what are you NOT telling me' 

Client:'Ok, but this ERP is like 15 years old, so give me an overview of the average impact'
X: 'Basically anything can happen'

Client thinks: 'o, o'

Client: 'Ok, but the majority of these changes are of course situated in the application layer, not the data layer?'
X: 'Well..anything can happen.'

Client thinks: 'Is it warm in here?'

Client: 'Anything? Also in the data layer? Table changes, integrity changes, domain type changes, value changes?'
X: 'Aye'

Client thinks: 'Ok - I'm dead'

Client: ' least tell me that existing structures always remain intact and the data remains to be auditable - extent instead of replace for example'
X: 'Huh'?

Client thinks: 'Well, at least I am healthy...'

Client: 'hmm...just a side note, we use Change Data Capture, I assume that these changes are fully logged?'
X: 'Nah - log is turned off, otherwise we can't deploy the changes' 

Client thinks: ' my resume up to date?'

My point; do not assume your vendor (of any system) to engage in professional application development and a change management policy that takes into account the simple fact that data of these information systems need to be shared with other information systems in your company.

Change management and professional application development needs to be important criteria regarding the selection of information systems.

Posted June 8, 2010 2:29 PM
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