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William McKnight

Hello and welcome to my blog!

I will periodically be sharing my thoughts and observations on information management here in the blog. I am passionate about the effective creation, management and distribution of information for the benefit of company goals, and I'm thrilled to be a part of my clients' growth plans and connect what the industry provides to those goals. I have played many roles, but the perspective I come from is benefit to the end client. I hope the entries can be of some modest benefit to that goal. Please share your thoughts and input to the topics.

About the author >

William is the president of McKnight Consulting Group, a firm focused on delivering business value and solving business challenges utilizing proven, streamlined approaches in data warehousing, master data management and business intelligence, all with a focus on data quality and scalable architectures. William functions as strategist, information architect and program manager for complex, high-volume, full life-cycle implementations worldwide. William is a Southwest Entrepreneur of the Year finalist, a frequent best-practices judge, has authored hundreds of articles and white papers, and given hundreds of international keynotes and public seminars. His team's implementations from both IT and consultant positions have won Best Practices awards. He is a former IT Vice President of a Fortune company, a former software engineer, and holds an MBA. William is author of the book 90 Days to Success in Consulting. Contact William at

Editor's Note: More articles and resources are available in William's BeyeNETWORK Expert Channel. Be sure to visit today!

March 2008 Archives

April 21 in Manhattan. I look forward to meeting and sharing my perspective on modernizing information strategy from the related disciplines of data warehousing, business intelligence, analytics, data quality, operational business intelligence and master data management.


Posted March 31, 2008 3:43 PM
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There's been another data security breach. This one at Sweetbay Supermarket. They join Hannaford, Agilent, Harvard University, Pfizer, Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital, Georgetown University and others as the latest companies where one of the various forms of data breaches has occured.

With lawyers pouncing immediately with class-action suits on the perpetrators, fines and shame, why does the vast majority of the data which is interesting to theives still unencrypted and vulnerable? My Gartner Top 10 review didn't include encryption, not because it should not be there, but because I have yet to see much being done about it. I'm looking for the tipping point, like about 1988 in the credit card business, where credit cards companies got serious about fraud and made it reduce dramatically, to levels it has stayed at ever since.

Perhaps data breach has become so common, it's not viewed as problematic.

These events are not going away anytime soon.

Technorati tags: encryption, data breach, fraud

Posted March 27, 2008 3:36 PM
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I'm sure there's some value in ITIL, the IT Infrastructure Library, but I'm just having a hard time with the definition. It seems like it could be describing anything...

"ITIL is the most widely accepted approach to IT service management in the world. ITIL provides a comprehensive and consistent set of best practices for IT service management, promoting a quality approach to achieving business effectiveness and efficiency in the use of information systems.

ITIL is based on the collective experience of commercial and governmental practitioners worldwide. This has been distilled into one reliable, coherent approach, which is fast becoming a de facto standard used by some of the world's leading businesses."

Technorati tags: ITIL

Posted March 27, 2008 10:36 AM
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I have a new white paper available. It's sponsored by Business Objects and titled "Modernizing and Advancing Information Management Across the Enterprise." In the paper, I try to put information management leadership, the data warehouse, operations and analytics into a modern context.

I talk about the necessity and structure of information leadership, including new concepts of an Information Management Competency Center and Information Management Governance. I talk about the 2 directions data warehouses can go now and federating and consolidating those warehouses. Finally, there's where analytics are going to be coming from and some of the analytic value of modern ERP.

In each of the 4 areas (organization, data warehouse, operations, analytics), I give you a "checklist" of the most relevant questions to ask of your shop and seek answers to.

The paper is available at this link or on my channel here at the B-eye-network.

Trends and Organization for Information Management Leadership
The Organization Checklist
Information Architecture: The Data Warehouse
The Data Wherehouse Checklist
Information Architecture: The Operational World
The Operations Checklist
Information Architecture: Analytic Access
The Analytics Checklist

Appendix 1: Keys to Data Mart Consolidation Success
Appendix 2: Dashboard Best Practices

Technorati tags: data warehouse, business-intelligence, information management

Posted March 26, 2008 1:48 PM
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I'll be speaking on "MDM ROI and Justification" at the MDM Summit this Sunday, March 30 from 6:30 - 8:00 in the night school program at the San Francisco Hilton.

Why would you want to do such a thing? No, I don't mean come to the session, I mean MDM itself. Come to find out. The top six frameworks for MDM justification will be presented. Link.

Posted March 25, 2008 9:51 AM
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A Management Insights study (link to study press release) finds that IT professionals with MBAs earn 46% more than those with bachelor degrees and 37% more than those with other master degrees. Anything that increases pay this much is interesting. I'm certainly glad I have mine and believe it was very worthwhile.

I think there are probably 3 reasons for the finding:
1. Those who get MBAs have management aspirations and managers make more.
2. The trend of IT personnel holding H1s without MBAs and without management/higher pay aspirations. IT has grown this way without as many in management layers.
3. IT really is business oriented and to thrive, one needs to be very attuned to the business. MBAs help IT personnel understand that focus better. IT success is certainly very much more about the business than college made it out to be!

Technorati tags: Information Technology, MBA

Posted March 24, 2008 9:56 AM
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Gartner has posted it's Top 10 Strategic Technologies for 2008.

Overall, I think it is an excellent list. Not everything is apples-to-apples, but as far as concepts go, I agree with the article "urging IT executives to think about the risk of not implementing each one."

One I was looking for that is missing is some variant of the outsourcing/offshoring theme. I think this merits serious attention as well. The other one I was looking for and didn't find is open source, which should see some significant usage increase in 2008.

Green IT takes Gartner's top spot. While I could quibble about its positioning and the naming of the item, reducing TCO in the data center is undoubtedly a business driver for 2008. Power is increasingly a limited, and costly, resource. Furthermore, most CPUs there are unused at any point in time and most programs run unaware of machines other than the one it is directed to run upon. This leads essentially to Gartner technology #5, Virtualization. There will be a need to abstract the logical from the physical in coding to effectively utilize the CPUs and reduce their overall number in achieving the same results, thereby reducing power consumption and TCO.

In Information Management, Data warehouse appliances in particular will need to show thier green creds to succeed. Datupia came out this week with a press release of thier latest model touting its energy efficiency. Kudos Datupia.

Otherwise, I really like technology #4 - Metadata Management. We continue to have islands of data, but even if/when they consolidate, understanding that data and effectively leveraging it for query or programming continues to be complex. Too complex. Metadata has suffered in the past from overblown, impractical, metadata-only projects and what's happening is shops are learning that it's really best done on a project-by-project basis. This reality will help see Metadata Management earn its place on this list.

Technorati tags: gartner, outsourcing, virtualization, Green IT, metadata

Posted March 7, 2008 9:13 AM
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I have posted a new article on my channel. It's "The Evolution of RFID System Architectures and the Development of Pervasive Computing" by Michael S. Shiff.

This is a very thoughtful piece about the evolution of RFID and how the centralized versus decentralized question frames up for RFID architectures. It starts "Although people currently think in terms of “RF” (radio frequency) tags that “ID” (identify) and track products and other assets through supply chains, RFID tags will eventually be thought of as very small computers that happen to have a built-in wireless networking capability. In other words, it is only a matter of time until virtually every item with a RFID tag can become a programmable/intelligent node on a private extranet, a private intranet, or the public Internet. What this means is that RFID tags are on a path to becoming the basic building blocks and the volume driver of pervasive computing."

The rest can be found on my channel .

Technorati tags: rfid

Posted March 6, 2008 9:08 AM
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Greenplum's current main strategy is its bundling with Thumper, a product line from Sun Microsystems.

Network Appliance has sued Sun Microsystems for intellectual property infringement, specifically related to ZFS, the zettabyte file system that Thumper utilizes.

Dave Hitz, Founder and Executive Vice President of Network Appliance, explains their position here and Johnathan Schwartz, CEO of Sun Microsystems replies in his blog here.

In triangulating this, it could be a problem for Greenplum.

Posted March 5, 2008 9:07 AM
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