Quality Is Job One

New data quality remedies took center stage at The Data Warehouse Institute's recent gathering in Boston.

More than politics, culture, or language, manufacturing and the operation of supply chains are what bind globally distributed civilizations into a collaborative whole. As this economic system matures, the business advantages of a single-minded focus on the word "cheaper" are evaporating. Now, companies must consider a more diverse set of objectives — efficiency, effectiveness, and market dynamics — as they set strategic goals for competitive advantage. Finding success with each of these objectives, not to mention how best to balance the application of people and resources to pursue all of them in concert, is the stuff of information, knowledge, and intelligence.

That's what excites us at Intelligent Enterprise and motivates us as we put together content for each of our editions.Organizations sense when their economic ecosystems have matured to the point where it takes brains, tapping into well-managed, integrated, high-quality information resources, to decipher where they can further streamline and automate processes, innovate, and establish metrics to measure and respond to business change. In this issue, our topic focus is manufacturing and supply chain management.

David A. Taylor's lead article ("No Time to Spare: A Guide to Supply Chain Performance Management") exemplifies the modern approach to information-driven management. It focuses on a key danger: Metrics and performance management methods can fog strategic vision if they aren't applied carefully. Michael McClellan's "Execution Systems: The Heart of Intelligent Manufacturing" tells us about the central process engine at work in knowledge-based manufacturing. He also gives us a sense of how manufacturing systems will be critical information resources for emerging intelligent enterprises. We're pleased to be publishing the work of both of these experts in this issue.

Data Quality's Time Has Come

Boston's Hynes Convention Center was the scene of The Data Warehousing Institute's quarterly gathering during week of May 10. Perhaps an encouraging sign, my discussions with vendors exhibiting at the show stuck with me on the plane home. Even as TDWI expands its focus to performance management and other BI topics, some of the most interesting stuff going on had to do with what we might call "infrastructure": data management and integration. Sunopsis in particular displayed a cost-effective, standards-based alternative to traditional data integration approaches.

The greatest heat was on data quality. Business mandates for corporate governance and compliance, better visibility, and concepts such as "single view of the customer" are driving strong interest; some companies are even establishing c-level data quality officers. Riding this momentum is Firstlogic, which made the major product announcement at TDWI: IQ8 Integration Studio. Based on Unicode and employing a service-oriented architecture, business rules, and data flow management, Firstlogic's product is truly a platform rather than just a toolkit. Trillium Software's System Version 7 also impressed me with a comprehensive approach to not only data quality but also to profiling and other critical activities.

As potential information resources increase and grow more diverse, data quality is going to have to rise above point solutions toward a more enterprise notion of how to achieve objectives. Enterprise intelligence is nothing without data quality.

Editor's Choice
Mary E. Shacklett, President of Transworld Data
James M. Connolly, Contributing Editor and Writer