"An extraordinary thinker and strategist" "Great knowledge and a wealth of experience" "Informative and entertaining as always" "Captivating!" "Very relevant information" "10 out of 7 actually!" "In my over 20 years in the Analytics and Information Management space I believe Alan is the best and most complete practitioner I have worked with" "Surprisingly entertaining..." "Extremely eloquent, knowledgeable and great at joining the topics and themes between presentations" "Informative, dynamic and engaging" "I'd work with Alan even if I didn't enjoy it so much." "The quintessential information and data management practitioner – passionate, evangelistic, experienced, intelligent, and knowledgeable" "The best knowledgeable, enthusiastic and committed problem solver I have ever worked with" "His passion and depth of knowledge in Information Management Strategy and Governance is infectious" "Feed him your most critical strategic challenges. They are his breakfast." "A rare gem - a pleasure to work with."

Friday, 31 October 2014

The Data Fairy...

My blog post of 31/10/14 can be viewed here.

I am now working at Gartner Inc within the Business Analytics research group. My blog output has followed me and will come out through the Gartner Blog Network.

Please follow the link to view "The Data Fairy".

Monday, 20 October 2014

Fairy-tale castles, mad kings and Business Analytics: the Gartner Business Intelligence Summit

My blog post of 20/10/14 can be viewed here.

I am now working at Gartner Inc within the Business Analytics research group. My blog output has followed me and will come out through the Gartner Blog Network.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

International Data Quality Summit - Content is Crucial, But People are Paramount

My blog post of 15/10/14 can be viewed here.

I am now working at Gartner Inc within the Business Analytics research group. My blog output has followed me and will come out through the Gartner Blog Network.

Please follow the link to view "International Data Quality Summit - Context is Crucial, but People are Paramount."

Thursday, 2 October 2014

'Big Data', Analytics, Data Quality and the Seven Gates of Hell (My first post for Gartner)

My blog post of 02/10/14 can be viewed here.

Thanks for your continued support,


As previously intimated in my post at the end of August, a change of continent, change of circumstances and change of employer (in that order) now see me plying my trade at Gartner Inc within the Business Analytics research group. So naturally, any of my musings will also shift over to come out through the Gartner Blog Network.

Please follow the link to view Big Data, Analytics, Data Quality and the Seven Gates of Hell.

Friday, 19 September 2014

A quick plug for the International Data Quality Summit, Richmond VA 6-9 October...

Just a quick placeholder to remind everyone about the forthcoming International Data Quality Summit, to be held in Richmond, Virginia from 6th to 9th October.

As well as leading a session on methods of information requirements gathering for data projects (following on from my blog post "the one question you should never ask!"), I will also be joining an expert panel to discuss the ethics of Information Quality and Data Governance.

The whole event features an enviable line-up of speakers, and promises a wide and varied agenda covering all aspects of Data Quality, Data Governance, Master Data Management and more. For more information and to book your place, please visit the Summit website, here.

See you in Richmond, folks!

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Information Management Quote of the Week 30/08/14

Ignorant power comes to the same thing as wicked power; it makes misery.”

Mary Anne Evans (George Eliot)

See also:

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Follow the Yellow (Data) Brick Road, my pretty....

Chief Data Officers need to stay on the data path - even if we don't really know where it leads yet.

Just as in the "Wizard of Oz" when Dorothy dropped a house on the Wicked Witch of the East, the emerging role of the "Chief Data Officer" (CDO) has come in from nowhere and is suddenly being lauded as the solution to all our data problems. Plenty of Munchkins are looking to this new position to be a key mover and shaker in making a better data world - even if we're nowhere near settled in terms of what it's actually there to do, or how it's going to do it. 

Yet already, the flying monkeys are circling, with speculation that the CDO role isn't going to be wearing the ruby slippers for long. For example, as this ComputerWorld article explores.

This quote by Peter Aiken particularly got my attention: 

"Once that job is finished, and data management is ingrained in the organization, the need for a specific chief data officer may disappear."

Really? We haven't even started seeing whether this role is actually able to contribute, yet we're already writing it off? 

Now, I accept that it may have been taken out of context, so apologies to Peter if ComputerWorld has taken his comment in a direction that he didn't intent. But taken at face value, I think that's not just a polemic statement - I'd go so far as suggest that it's actually almost meaningless. 

From my perspective, there is no business that I've ever come across has reached a level of maturity such that information is ingrained as part of its behavioural DNA. It's a constant process of renewal, innovation and evolutionary change. Based on the fact that people are involved, it couldn't really be otherwise! 

If nothing else, Business Entropy comes in to play to ensure that there's never going to be an ordered state. Where data is concerned, it's the CDO's role to be accountable for facilitating information-enabled thinking and injecting energy into the whole ecosystem.

I challenge anyone to come up with one concrete example of a truly information-enabled organisation that doesn't need some form of catalytic input.

And while I'm at it, I might as well also take issue with David Mathison's contention as also quoted in the article, that there are three "CxO" roles in play (Data, Digital and Analytics). 

Lions and tigers and bears? (Oh, my!)

For me, part of the problem is that these things end up getting thought about separately, rather than being complementary facets of the same business problem - that of achieving evidence-based decision-making. (As I already made a case for when I published the example Data Governance Charter.) It doesn't really help to separate them out in this way, because sure as dammit, companies will actually try to hire three different people and chaos will ensue, rather than looking at implementing a unified vision. 

The ruby slippers need to be used in tandem with the witch's broom and the magic spyglass.

OK, so we're still working out exactly where this particular Yellow Brick Road leads (to the Emerald City, hopefully. Or at least an opal mine...). But one thing's for sure, I'd rather stay on the path than wander off into the haunted woods of data chaos, or fall asleep in the poppy fields of information apathy....

Keep to the path, and we might even make it back over the rainbow...