We feature speakers at Big Data Bootcamp Dallas May 13-15 2016 to catch up and find out what he or she is working on now and what's coming next. This week we're talking to William Mcknight (President, McKnight Consulting)
Interview with William Mcknight
Tell us about yourself and your background.
William Answer: I run a consulting and analyst company, lead and advise on projects, teach, write and mentor around the industry of data. My background is a lot of data and database work, starting with engineering DB2 at IBM, being an executive for information at a Global 2000 company and now consulting a long time. I’ve had the opportunity to consult to many large companies with complex data problems and drive business results in those companies. The domains span information strategy, big data, analytics, master data, data warehousing and more. I find myself working on the most complex problems out there, often involving workload allocation to platforms, technology selection, organizational change and building and executing roadmaps. I also keep on top, and ahead, of the market, through working with many in the vendor community, both leading and emerging vendors. I love data, and helping companies succeed.
What have you been working on recently?
William Answer: Our clients keep me busy. Recently, I’ve built the information strategy and master data management proof-of-concept for the largest health carrier in the US. The data components included master data management (member and product domains), enterprise data warehouse and an operational data store. I’ve performed deep investigative hands-on research into alternative methods for loading data into Hadoop, resulting in quantification of the key Spark differentiators. I’ve helped build a multi-year master data management, business intelligence and data warehouse strategy and began implementation of the student domain for a 50,000 student university and built a multi-year information management action plan covering current state analysis, source system analysis, data warehouse analysis, architecture development, conceptual modeling, platform and tool selection, data governance setup, methodology and guiding principles and roadmap development for a financial company. I’ve helped improve a data governance program of a major financial institution to be world-class, incorporating the business community in an element-level, multi-tier program to manage all corporate data with predetermined rigor.
I’ve helped our teams architect and implement an analytical research database for scientist users enabling efficient access to sequence information at a Global 100 organization, built an action plan for the information environment for a major reinsurer which included an analytical environment and an exposure data repository which included current state assessment, gaps and roadmap. I’ve advised on big data tool selection, architecture, business planning, testing, and integrating a mission-critical packaged application for a major European telecommunications company and helped build a Claims Operations Key Performance Indicator Analytics (Claims KPI) Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW) for a major healthcare company.
What has your experience been working with executives on Big Data projects?
William Answer: It’s been extensive. Regardless of why we’re brought in, the work includes big data. Executives are curious at the least, and don’t want to fall behind. There’s a time for big data and that time is now for many of our clients. We help them plan or invigorate a departmental, moribund project that doesn’t have a chance to get into enterprise production and produce value as is. People forget these projects need ROI, they need to share data with the relational enterprise, they need governance and they need enterprise-level non functionals to succeed. We’re particularly good at that, as well as the agile development of Hadoop, NoSQL and graph database projects.
What are some of the best takeaways that the attendees can have from your "Top 10 Mistakes Companies make in forming Enterprise Data Governance" talk ?
William Answer: There will be 10 takeaways as the title indicates. Just kidding. Really I hope to convey to your big data developer audience how data governance can help their projects and how to help charter any data governance that may be necessary. At the end of the day, a big data project is a data project and data projects need to be delivering data above a standard of quality. I’ll cover the whole process and how they can run or help a data governance process or team succeed.
What are the top 5 reasons for Big Data Project Failures?
William Answer: Ingesting Data Without a Business Purpose, Over-focus on Data Load Performance to the exclusion of Query Performance for Data Usage, Improper Node Specification, Distracting focus on the Enterprise Data Warehouse, Over-reliance on Open Source and a bonus - Ignoring the Quality of the Data being loaded.
What trends you see in upcoming 6 months?
William Answer: More Systems will be taking advantage of in-memory processing, more utilization of Data Stream Processing, more incorporation of data from the Syndicated Data Marketplace, more embracing Master Data Management, more use of Data Virtualization, and less Multidimensional Databases and choosing the vanilla version of the DBMS for everything.
Any closing remarks?
William Answer: Come out and have fun growing your abilities, but also knowing that you, as a data professional, are sitting on the crown jewels of your company. With that comes great responsibility. Be a leader, advocate appropriate change appropriately.