Going to Atlantic City was anything but a gamble if you attended the DAMA International Symposium and Technology Transfer Institute (TTI) Meta data Conference in April of 1999. All attendees left
the casino-enhanced New Jersey town with more than they arrived with, which is a rarity for people visiting this town. This conference has become the focal point of the DAMA conference schedule and
is recognized as THE meta data conference to attend on an annual basis.
This year’s lineup of speakers included a who’s-who list of respected authors and lecturers – including John Zachman, Larry English, Claudia Imhoff, Barb von Halle… too many to list here. More
than half of the sessions were offered by individuals demonstrating successful data management techniques practiced by some of the world’s biggest companies.
The full-day tutorial sessions at the beginning of the conference were well attended and well received. The tutorials were offered by known specialists in their respective areas including Adrienne
Tannenbaum (Repositories), Michael Brackett (Meta data), Barb von Halle (Business Rules), and Graeme Simsion (Data Modeling). The first day of the conference is typically reserved for these full
day sessions that prime attendees for the following days of shorter sessions. This year’s event included a bonus post-conference tutorial by Daniel Moody (Information Health Monitor).
Between the tutorials at the beginning and end of the conference were dozens of information packed sessions. Since presentations were scheduled three or four at a time, I often found myself
choosing between multiple interesting sessions. Companies solved this problem (obviously learning from previous DAMA/TTI conferences) by sending several employees and splitting them up amongst
Highlights of the conference included:
On Tuesday – Larry Dziedzic (Chubb) spoke about how his company qualifies business data elements and gains consensus for primary elements and standardized definitions. Judy Reeder spoke about
building trust between IT and business data users by “getting where the customer is”. Dave Hay presented useful data model patterns. Jon Zachman gave a keynote presentation on the subject of
re-use and his framework. I offered a session on justifying the “investment in” (not the “expense of”) meta data management.
Time was also provided on Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning to visit an Exhibit Hall lined with software vendors and consulting companies demonstrating their products and services, and taking
time to discuss issues of interest with attendees. I found the time allocated for the exhibits to be time well spent, in a low-pressure sales mode, to learn about (and in many situations kick the
tires) of some of the latest and greatest tools available to manage data.
Tuesday came to an end with an evening reception hosted by DAMA International. This was the perfect time for companies to share insight into their successes and failures with other companies with
On Wednesday — Larry English spoke about the importance of finding allies in the business community. Larry made it clear that data definition is to data what a product specification is to a
product. Barb von Halle spoke about how “rules guide behavior” and she advised her attendees that time spent waiting for the Y2K issue to pass (while companies hesitate to make production
changes) is a great time to focus on business rules.
Also on Wednesday, Moe Rifaie (Royal Bank of Canada) spoke about information management via meta data management and how data must be managed as a valuable and discreet asset. Peter Aiken’s
handouts included an IEEE paper on re-engineering new systems while his presentation focused on the role that meta data plays in reverse engineering data. Anne Marie Smith spoke about enterprise
data management purpose/goals/tools/tasks and standards.
On Thursday – Barbara Morgan and Catherine Nolan (Allstate) demonstrated an effective solution for managing corporate codes. Ho-Chun Ho (First USA Bank) spoke about aligning meta data with business
dynamics. Claudia Imhoff spoke about the evolving nature of business and the corporate information factory. Ron Ross gave a presentation on how to win “the game” by managing business rules.
It is impossible to mention here all of the thoroughly educational sessions that took place at this conference (although it may appear that I tried). Truth told there was so much to do at this
conference that this review simply can not do the event justice. This conference consistently satisfies the information needs of experienced data practitioners and novices alike. Many of the
attendees have attended this conference before and I’d venture to guess that many of them will attend this event again next year.
The DAMA International Symposium/TTI Meta data conference is time well spent every spring. Most of the attendees that I spoke to couldn’t wait to get back to their offices to begin using newly
found tips and techniques and to start sharing what they learned with their colleagues. This conference continues to be the bright spot of the year for DAMA, TTI and many data management