Earlier today I keynoted at the World Wide Data Vault Consortium European conference in Hannover Germany. I presented an overview of Disciplined Agile, some of the challenges that organizations are experiencing in their agile transformations, and how their teams can improve their way of working (WoW) via Guided Continuous Improvement (GCI).
Although all of the presentations were great, I was particularly enthralled with Bill Inmon’s keynote on Thursday. As you may know Bill is the father of data warehousing and has written 59 (59!) books over his career, clearly putting me to shame. Bill shared some of his experiences in extracting information from text-based sources and described several stories doing so. One story focused on how his team had combined information culled from multiple text-based sources that together indicated that BP had a potential maintenance risk in their Gulf of Mexico operations. Sadly his warning was ignored and several months later BP had a catastrophic oil rig failure on Deepwater Horizon. Another story described how his team processed 5000 online postings from Nike customers and 5000 from Adidas customers. Their analysis indicated that while Adidas was a “normal company,” that on the other hand Nike had quality problems with their shoes. Although Bill contacted Nike to inform them, free of charge, of what he had discovered this advice was also ignored because Nike apparently already had consulting companies providing them with advice. A year later Nike suffered a $2 billion market capitalization loss when Zion Williamson’s sneaker exploded in a basketball game watched by over 100 million people. Another text analysis project led him to discover that airlines are consistently not well liked by their customers, revealing that Bill doesn’t always end up with earth-shattering revelations. Although the stories were interesting, Bill’s description of the techniques he was following and the challenges surrounding text-based data analytics were fascinating.
Data Vault 2 (DV2) is an extension to Inmon’s approach to data warehousing. Dan Lindstedt, the creator of DV2, worked for years with Bill. DV2 brings a lot of very practical strategies to data warehousing. Furthermore, a few years ago DV2 adopted Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD) for its process which was one of the reasons why I suspect I was invited to speak at the conference.
Kudos to everyone who made the conference a success. I’m looking forward to next year.