Robert S. Seiner (RSS): Thank you for taking the time to be interviewed. You and I have a long history and friendship. As always, it is a privilege to work with you. Can you please share with the TDAN.com readers a little bit about your background, our history and your present endeavors?
Davida E. Berger (DEB): It is always a pleasure to work with you and TDAN.com. As you know, I am the founder of DebTech International, a training and conference production organization. Prior to DebTech, I worked in management roles for several organizations establishing data management functions. I am also the co-founder of The Meta-Data Professional Organization (www.metadataprofessional.org) and have served on the boards on several DAMA chapters and DAMA International.
In fact Bob, I believe that the very first DAMA meeting I attended l was one of your first public presentations. But that was so long ago!
Currently I am working on developing the 2010 Annual Data Governance Conference.
RSS: Actually, you told me you are finalizing the agenda for the Conference in San Diego in June. If I recall correctly, this is the 5th year that you have been holding this event. Can you tell me a little bit about the event and its history?
DEB: The first Data Governance Conference was held in 2006. It started as a small event with two conference tracks. Since then the conference has grown and doubled in size and is now the largest event in the world dedicated to data governance and stewardship. This year the event is larger than even before and we are pleased to be co-located with IAIDQ’s Information and Data Quality Conference.
RSS: Can you please tell my readers more about this conference, your involvement, where they can get additional information?
DEB: The Annual Data Governance Conference will be held June 7-20, 2010, in San Diego. The conference is produced by my organization, DebTech International and Wilshire Conferences who is also the producer of Enterprise Data World and The Semantic Technology Conference. I am the Data Governance Conference Program Chairperson responsible for developing the agenda. Information about the conference is available at www.dg-conference.com.
RSS: How is this event unique in the data management industry?
DEB: There are a number of conferences that include presentations on data governance. However, the Data Governance Conference is the only event where the entire conference focuses on data governance and stewardship.
The conference is unique in that the sharing of experiences has contributed to the creation of a data governance community. The conference venues are selected to contribute to this and the conference provides enhanced opportunities throughout the conference for additional networking and sharing of experiences.
At the end of each conference many attendees comment that they want to come back next year and present. I’m very pleased to hear this and this is something I’ve never experienced with any other conference that I have developed.
RSS: Tell us a little bit about the line-up of speakers you are working on for the event and what are some of the surprises that practitioners and readers of TDAN.com should be looking for? When will the agenda for the Data Governance 2010 Conference be announced?
DEB: For this conference we have many experts in Data Governance. Our keynotes are Andy Hayler and Len Silverston. Tutorial presenters include Malcolm Chisholm, Larry English, John Ladley, David Loshin, Danette McGilvray, Gwen Thomas, David Plotkin, David Schlesinger, Anne Marie Smith and Bob Seiner. The conference also features more than 30 case studies from practitioners that will discuss their successes and challenges with data governance. Sallie Mae, Pfizer, Southern California Edison, Lexmark, the Nielsen Company, Hallmark, Capital One, Safeway, Toro are just a few of the presentations
This year we are also featuring an evening how to forum, industry based special interest sessions and user group meetings plus a special presentation by the winner of the Data Governance Best Practice Award. The agenda will be announced the week of February 8, 2010.
RSS: What is the advantage of an organization sending several people to the event versus a single person?
DEB: We are offering a group incentive if your organization pays for two attendees, a 3rd co-worker can attend for free. This group incentive expires on April 30th and that incentive can also be used with the early registration discount. Also, another advantage is that there are several great sessions to choose from in any time slot. If you send more than one person, you can cover all (or at least more) of these sessions.
RSS: Do you have any tidbits of information you want to share with potential attendees that will make it easier for them to convince their management that attendance at the Data Governance 2010 Conference is a good investment?
DEB: The conference features a large number of presentations and case studies that are directly applicable to anyone starting out in data governance or looking for advice and tips for anyone who has implemented a data governance program. The conference is the one place where data governance professionals will be able to have the opportunity to network not only with experts in the field who can provide advice but also with their peers at other organizations that are dealing with similar issues and looking to share their experiences. Getting the information in this way will greatly reduce research time and costs and save attendees from repeating the missteps of others. Plus there is an early registration and group discount.
RSS: I cannot let this interview come to an end without mentioning the Data Governance Best Practice Award 2010 that is being co-sponsored by your company (DebTech International), my publication (TDAN.com) and Wilshire Conferences. You and Tony Shaw (Wilshire) invited me to Chair the esteemed Judging Panel through the Award Selection process. I was and am honored to accept this role I am looking forward to helping this to become a successful annual event. What can you tell my reader’s about award itself and the relationship between the conference and the award?
DEB: The “Data Governance Best Practice Award” is given to the practitioners within a customer organization (i.e., corporation, government agency or non-profit, as opposed to a product or service vendor) in recognition of the business value and technical excellence they have achieved in the design and implementation of an outstanding data governance program.
Each submission is judged on the following criteria:
- Sponsorship, planning and framework
- Business requirements and business participation
- Data governance program structure
- People-program team and the data governance roles
The winner will be invited to present their story at the Data Governance Conference in San Diego and will receive an expense paid trip to San Diego. Additional details regarding the award can be found at http://www.debtechint.com/dg2010/DGBestPractices1.html.
RSS: My understanding is that the Award Winner will be announced at the conference. What is the timing for submitting entries and how will the winner be announced?
DEB: The deadline for submissions is Monday, February 8, 2010. The winner will be formally announced at the conference.
RSS: You have become a significant player in the data management education space. How has your background helped you to achieve this success?
DEB: As I mentioned earlier, prior to founding DebTech, I had worked in data management in several organizations. It was during this time that I became active in DAMA and served on the DAMA International board where I was responsible for conference services. My work background plus this experience gave me the opportunity to learn more about the educational needs of data management professionals.
RSS: What are some of the challenges that you are facing as a major player of education and conferences in the data management, data governance and data modeling space? How did you select these areas of discipline to focus your business?
DEB: One of the challenges we are facing is how to provide education and educational opportunities in this economy when companies have limited budgets and travel restrictions. We are offering partnering opportunities for on-site training where companies that host training classes can partner with other local companies and share the costs of training.
In addition to classes on data modeling, governance and data management we also do a great deal of training in data warehousing. We offer training in these subjects, as this is where we are seeing the greatest need and interest.
RSS: How is the data management education field changing and what has been the cause of the changes?
DEB: Data management in general is evolving and expanding in different directions. Courses new to be frequently revised based on need, new technology, and industry trends.
Based on our research we have recently added new courses for Business Analysts Training, Agile Data Modeling, Data Modeling and Data Management in a SOA Environment and Agile Data Warehousing. Later this year we are planning a seminar on cloud computing as it pertains to data management.
I’m sure that most of us have been seeing and hearing more in the electronic learning area. We have found e-Learning to be effective for teaching and re-enforcing concepts but not as effective in other areas. Data modeling requires hands on exercises that this is difficult in an eLearning environment. We also have found that many attendees may have knowledge on the topics of some of our classes but attend to improve their skills and also because they want to understand how other organizations are addressing similar issues. I don’t think one can underestimate the value of face-to-face training.
We are however considering using e-Learning as an addition on to our classes for individuals that would like to review the concepts that they learned in our classes.
RSS: Any final words of wisdom for the TDAN.com readers?
DEB: As always Bob it’s been a pleasure speaking with you. I look forward to seeing you and the TDAN.com readers in June in San Diego.
RSS: Thank you again for taking the time to hold this interview. I am looking forward to working with you in many ways the balance of this year and into the future.