"See It Coming" (February 2006) has an excellent grasp of the issues! Thank you for showing that depth as well as presentation are important to get to "actionable information."
Your article "Not Your Father's ODS" (January 2006) is lucid and presents the situation quite simply. I would like to highlight one major risk in undertaking such a project: Won't the enterprise get tied down to a certain data structure that needs to cater to multiple applications? What if one application needs a revision in the structure later? In earlier versions where we had point-to-point connections, this could have been done very easily, but now it could impact the entire system. Won't we make the systems more rigid by doing this? How can we minimize the impact?
Author's reply: The data model for the ODS needs to be generic, adaptable and extensible. The model must be designed with a high degree of normalization and an adaptable set of tables that can change with business needs. This type of modeling approach keeps the design components simple, allows new business functions to be easily added or changed and doesn't use any type of parent/child relationships. The disadvantage of this highly normalized modeling approach is an increased number of tables and potential table joins.
Having read Josh Greenbaum's "The Myth of the Service Economy" (December 2005), I think we should tip our hats to [Oracle CEO] Larry Ellison yet again for demythologizing the software industry and bringing the cold, hard light of truth to bear on our reasoning. The software industry as a whole has a long way to go to truly distinguish itself from the other "disservice" industries. At least it's good to know the bar is set so low.
My compliments on exposing the direction that the IT industry has taken as a service industry. In the wake of recent mergers and acquisitions — hostile or otherwise — your wife correctly asks, "Why should software be different from any other service industry?"
We need somebody to tell us how we look as an industry because we can't see ourselves. We need to decide whether we're part of the mainstream service economy or whether IT enjoys a special status. Of course, whatever we decide and try to present, it's the customer who will either reject or welcome our move.
We misreported some facts about Vignette's product line in "The Portal Makes the Platform" (February 2006). Only Vignette Content Management (VCM) bundles BEA Systems' WebLogic application server, not Vignette Records & Documents (VRD) or Portal. Vignette Collaboration runs on Solaris as well as Windows.
In the February Dashboard story "Google's Foray Into Web Analytics: Does Low Cost Mean Low End?" we incorrectly assigned John Nardone the title of chief client officer at Yahoo. Nardone is the chief client officer at Marketing Management Analytics, Yahoo's partner.