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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!

Recently in Pacific NW BI Summit Category

I'm back from my 5th year at the Pacific Northwest Business Intelligence Summit and what a summit it was. It's very difficult to put it into a category. Representatives from HP, IBM, Microsoft, SAP, Teradata, Composite Software, InfoCentricity, DataFlux, PivotLink, Eyeris and ParAccel were on hand along with media coverage from the B-eye-network to visit with Claudia Imhoff, Jill Dyche, Colin White and myself. As always, it was a stimulating and educational experience, as well as fun. Put on by our friend Scott Humphrey and taking place at the historic Weasku Inn in Medford, OR on the Rogue River, the environment lent itself to open discussion and idea generation.

The 4 of us took up relevant topics and lead discussions. Jill did CRM, Claudia did SaaS, Colin did operational business intelligence and I did information management leadership. Podcasts from each vendor plus the topic introductions are available here at the network.

As for operational business intelligence, I observed that we (people of traditional BI legacy) are calling it BI, but it can be quite different. As Colin pointed out, there's real-time traditional BI, which is arguably OBI and then there's BI with business processes as the end user, which is where BI is going. That's real OBI. Eventually we may ask "If I have lots of OBI, why do I need other BI?'. It's a process-driven paradigm shift.

We had a strong vendor in EII, an enabler of OBI, represented - Composite Software. A good way to think about EII in this context today is it is for requirements that are wide, but not deep.

Software as a Service is an important part of BI's future. It was surprising to sit back and look at the list of players in that market now. As a testament to its progress, it seems some clients are at the point of discussing bringing SaaS solutions in-house and there was quite a bit of discussion about that.

CRM is really about differentiating customers based on behavior and preferences and therefore differentiating treatment. The rise of social networking was discussed as a significant new medium to include in CRM efforts. The CRM example used was the Jack Daniel's club membership, which some of group were members of.

And, as for leadership, well, I just thought it was high time to tackle this important subject in context of information management and leadership. We used this subject to also talk about the state of IT (decentralizing again, patchwork architectures, lots of money to maintenance, etc.)

Posted August 11, 2008 10:20 AM
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I've been busy, even to the point of looking at once or twice.

I have a speaking enagement with SetFocus in Parsippany, NJ and available via a live stream on Friday, August 10. The title is "Modernizing and Advancing Information Management across the Enterprise" and the abstract is below.

Next week, I'll be at the "Bilderberg of business intelligence" - the Pacific Northwest BI Summit. Link to last year's event. It's hosted by Scott Humphrey, who I strongly recommend for any vendor in this space seeking the highest quality public relations. I will speak on RFID business intelligence and also take the opportunity to torture some members of the BI community. I know - I already do that frequently with my blog postings. However, this torture will come in the form of leading yoga sessions.

Abstract for SetFocus event:

Information is the frontier of modern business competitive pressures. Information mastered at an enterprise level greatly supports efficient corporate projects. Enterprise Information Management provides a consistent view and utilization of information throughout the enterprise.

For 10-20 years, data warehousing has been the center of the universe for Information Management. While enterprise data warehousing provides a tremendous amount of value to an organization, modern advances in Information Management technology allow for a more nuanced, yet effective, strategy for a broader Information Management. Central to this approach is Master Data Management. Data warehousing professionals future role is as Information Management professionals and this overview will assist in the bridging of invaluable tools of the trade into the IT organization’s capabilities.

In this seminar, we will discuss the following:

Multiple, complex applications serving a variety of users

Data warehousing is evolving, with new demands and needs placed on robust data warehouses

Exploding data size that will continue to explode with data types running the gamut beyond traditional alphanumeric types

Master data requirements in the operational environment as well as the data warehouse

The role of operational Business Intelligence within the information management architecture

Posted July 23, 2007 8:06 AM
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It's time for information executives and vendors interested in staying current and gaining insights in the field of information management to consider the Pacific Northwest Business Intelligence Summit, coming again to the Rogue River in Oregon in July. Scott Humphrey is crafting the limited attendee list for this so to see if it's right for you, contact Scott.

You can read about it here. As it says there, this is an annual weekend retreat which assembles the top industry thought leaders in the data warehousing, business intelligence, data integration and CRM industries in an informal setting to discuss the latest trends in BI.

The BI Summit is headlined by four of the world’s leading experts — Dr. Claudia Imhoff, president of Intelligent Solutions, Colin White, president of BI Research, William McKnight, senior vice president, data warehousing, Conversion Services International, and Jill Dyche, partner with Baseline Consulting.

A small, diverse group of vendors fill out the attendee list, taking taking advantage of the rare opportunity to mingle with these true industry experts in an intimate, relaxed setting. Hosting the event is Scott Humphrey, president of Humphrey Strategic Communications.

Here is my blog entry from last year's event.

Posted March 1, 2007 9:01 AM
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A few weekends ago, I had the privilege of taking part in the annual Scott Humphrey Pacific Northwest BI Summit. This event boasts the highest repeat attendance possible for any form of “conference” I’ve ever been a part of. To call it a conference though would be misleading. It’s more like a fire-hose of information exchange, both formal and informal, between people from all sides of this industry. Fellow b-eye bloggers Claudia Imhoff, Colin White, Jill Dyche and I were the featured attractions, bringing the topics and sharing our opinions.

Attendees are listed in Claudia’s blog, where she has way beat me to the punch in summarizing the event. During the roundtable sessions, the 4 of us each introduced a topic. My topic was RFID and I previously posted the link to the first 15 minutes of topic introductions. All 4 of our topic introductions are podcasted and available at the link, as are interviews with each vendor representative. Discussion followed onto the introduction for about an hour for each topic, but the chosen topics, and more, were discussed throughout the weekend.

The chosen topics actually fit together quite well, with, for example, RFID data needing master data to be understood and operational BI to perform the proper action. I found it interesting that here we were, 4 people who gained prominence with data warehousing, all hyper-involved with master data management with a book, a full-day TDWI class, an industry report and, most importantly, advisement and architecture of numerous of the first customer MDM applications under our belts. It’s all information management, a twist on current data warehouse architectures and using constructs that we had begun to implement for our clients already anyway.

I find operational BI interesting and blogged about it co-existing but taking cycles away from the data warehouse here. There certainly is more of an emphasis on business intelligence these days that does not necessarily involve the data warehouse directly.

Other opinions I brought had to do with the emergence of EII, projects on localizing economies, data mining gaining traction with a wider base, various activities taking cycles away from the data warehouse, how information security conscious the industry has become, how great Crystal Xcelsius is, Project Megagrid, and other topics that the attendees needed to be aware of.

Fun was had as well as only Oregon and Scott can provide – jet boating and kayaking. Colin showed us the stars with his magnificent telescope, laser pointer and knowledge of the sky. And I led 2 torture - I mean Yoga - sessions. I’ll post the stealth pictures I took of the attendees doing yoga over time as necessary. ;-)

Industry analysts, vendors, press and information executives should make it a priority to try to get invited to next year’s event. If it’s hard to think that far ahead, I’ll be posting a reminder in about 6 months.

Posted August 28, 2006 6:06 PM
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I'm back from the Pacific Northwest Business Intelligence Summit where the energy and information sharing on our industry was at an all-time high. The topic I introduced from the panel was RFID. I know I've been blogging a lot about it, but if you want to hear about a 15-minute speil on RFID for the BI professional, check it out right here on the B-eye-network. I tried to distill an introduction to RFID, still needed for most BI professionals, and some learnings from my RFID-sourced BI projects into this podcast.

I also conducted the interview with Jeff Dandridge, President and COO of Infocentricity, found there. If you're interested in analytics, you can hear what he has to say about the industry there. Other podcasts from the summit are there as well.

Posted August 2, 2006 10:26 AM
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