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Data Management & Information Quality

by Michael H. Brackett
Published: November 1, 2002

The 2002 Data Management and Information Quality Conferences will be held on the 21st through 23rd of October in London. Three great conferences have merged to become Europe's most authoritative event on data and information - the DAMA International Europe Conference, the Information Quality Europe Conference, and the Meta Data Europe Conference. This event has evolved over the last several years and promises to be bigger and better than the previous events.

Attendees can select from over 50 sessions and tutorials covering data management, information quality, enterprise architectures, meta data and repositories, XML, portals, data integration, data modeling, business rules, business intelligence, and much more. Noted speakers like John Zachman, Michael Brackett, Larry English, Graeme Simsion, Peter Aiken, David Marco, and others will provide their insight and experience on current issues and trends. Many vendors will be available to explain their products and services.

Most of you are well aware of the economic situation and the waves of layoffs that are occurring, particularly in the information technology area. Many of these information technology layoffs are in data management and related areas, much to the frustration of those of use who believe in the value that can be added to the business with proper data management. One of the reasons is that data management has not provided, or is perceived as not providing, value to the business. In these hard economic times, those functions that are not providing or are not perceived as providing value are eliminated.

Data management is an evolving discipline and, in many respects, is not yet very formal. Many executives believe that data management has had its chance and has not provided the value anticipated or promised. They cite the massive quantities of low-quality disparate data that currently exist, and the rapid increase in disparate data that cannot be readily integrated to provide value to the business. Whether this is true or not is not the issue. The issue is that data management is perceived as having had it's chance, but having failed to provide substantial benefit to the organization.

I believe that this is, or should be, a wake-up call for data management professionals. They should recognize the situation and make every effort to formalize the discipline, clean up the current data problems, and develop and maintain a high-quality data resource that provides substantial benefit to the business. They should stop doing data management tasks for data management sake and begin doing data management tasks for business support. They should concentrate on value-added tasks with respect to the business.

Some organizations are taking the initiative today, in spite of the economy, to develop a high-quality data resource. Many of these are public sector organizations. They realize that an enterprise-wide, high-quality, sharable data resource is key to business survival and support to citizens and customers. They realize that data are a critical resource equivalent to the human resource, finances, and real property, and should be managed with the same intensity as those other resources.

These organizations realize that the demand for information to support the business is up and the resources to perform information related tasks are down. People have worked harder to bridge this gap, but are at the limit of working harder to meet the demand. People must learn to work smarter, rather than harder, to meet the business information demand. One major initiative for working smarter is to build a formal data resource that adequately supports the business.

There is a major opportunity waiting for those data management professionals who want to take the initiative to develop a high-quality data resource that provides high-quality information to the business. This is the time for data management professionals to show what they can really do to develop and maintain an enterprise-wide data resource within a single data architecture. Now is the time for data management professionals to develop a formal more mature discipline for managing a critical resource.

If this is your desire, and your organization's desire, then you cannot afford to miss this most informative event. If there is only one event that you can attend in Europe this year, this is the event. If you want to learn the latest trends and techniques for properly managing data and information in your organization, this is the event to attend. All of us involved in this event hope to see you there.

© Copyright 2002 - Michael H. Brackett

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Michael H. Brackett is the President of DAMA International.