Last month, industry luminary Claudia Imhoff kicked off the 15th annual Pacific Northwest BI Summit with a tendentious topic: what's going on -- or going wrong -- with data management? Imhoff described a context in which self-service tools abound, governance is downplayed, and metadata standards are anything but standardized.
As Imhoff noted, she could easily have been describing the late 1980s.
"Where does something like [data governance] fit into this ... all-inclusive [data management] stuff?" she wondered. Imhoff, along with Bill Inmon, helped create and popularize the corporate information factory data warehousing model in the 1990s.
"Here's my fear," she continued, "I've been around long enough that I've seen things come and go. Are we going back down a similar path where we'll end up with all of these silos all throughout the enterprise like we had in the 1980s?"
"I see lots of data all over the place. I wonder if we're going to get to where we were 30 years ago ... where we get people arguing about whose data is 'right' -- and whose data is [poor quality]."
Imhoff's presentation helped set the stage for a big chunk of the discussion at this year's summit.
In his presentation, research analyst Mike Ferguson, president of Intelligent Business Strategies (an information management consultancy based in the UK), discussed the uncertain state of metadata standardization.