Moving Toward Unified Data Management

Loraine Lawson

Every month, The Data Warehousing Institute offers either great research or webinars which, of course, makes them one of my favorite resources.


This month, they're offering both.


TDWI started off April by releasing a new-and free - research report, "Unified Data Management: A Collaboration of Data Disciplines and Business Strategy." It's written by Philip Russom, the senior manager of research and services at TDWI and a veteran of the business intelligence community.


In case you're wondering, TDWI defines Unified Data Management as "a best practice for coordinating diverse data management disciplines, so that data is managed according to enterprise-wide goals that promote technical efficiencies and support strategic, data-oriented business goals." Others call this data management or information management. In essence, it's a movement toward bringing all the diverse approaches to data-from integration to MDM-together. While it's not about technology per se, the report does take the approach that "UDM is largely about best practices from a technical user's viewpoint."


I've seen and heard more about bringing all these best practices and tools under one big data management umbrella. In fact, one person recently pointed out it's going to be increasingly hard to talk about integration separately from other data management issues. But, really, it makes perfect sense that these pieces should be brought together and, dare I say, integrated. Assuming, of course, organizations can find a way to do it without choking on overly big chunks.


I learned of the report April 2, last Friday, which happened to be when I actually wrote this piece before going on vacation (surprise!). So, I've packed it up to take with me, but I haven't had a chance to fully read it. I can tell you it's a whopping 31 pages-perfect beach reading, right? You can also scan the introduction to the link, which seems to give a pretty nice synopsis of the report's general theme.


Russom is also presenting a free webinar on operational data integration next Wednesday, April 14, at 12 p.m., EDT. TDWI has known for some time now that operational data integration is outpacing analytical data integration-which basically means companies are focusing more on the consolidation, collocation, migration, upgrading, or synchronization of operational databases.


This webinar will look at how companies can accommodate the staffing demands for operational data integration without robbing the funding and staff for analytical data integration. It'll also cover technology issues, the business reasons behind this trend and more.


It is a limited capacity webinar, but TDWI holds it fairly often, so if you miss it this month, keep checking back. I'm sure they'll hold it again.


If you do plan to attend the webinar, you might want to do a little background reading and check out Russom's recent article on the four essential guidelines for understanding and thinking about data integration. Apparently, Russom was tired of repeating them, so he wrote them down for everyone:

"I've compiled a list of four points that keep coming up in conversations, interviews, and consulting about data integration. I think of these points as guidelines in a nutshell that can shape how you fundamentally think of DI, as well as how you measure the quality, modernity, and maintainability of DI solutions."


Actually, it's a good read, even if you don't plan to attend the webinar.


Finally, on April 28-the last Wednesday of the month-TDWI will host another webinar, this one featuring Jonathan Geiger, the executive vice president of Intelligent Solutions. Geiger will discuss how to create a data quality and data integration strategy, with an eye toward business intelligence.

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