This brief Q&A was recently held with Brian L. Winters of Intel, the 2005 Wilshire Award Winner. Brian and all prior winners are participating as Judges for the 2006 Wilshire Award. For
more information about Wilshire Conferences and the 2006 Award, please visit www.wilshireconferences.com.
Seiner: What was your involvement in the meta-data work that has been completed at Intel?
Winters: My involvement has been both as a Solution Architect and a Data Architect defining many of the metadata structures, artifacts, and reuse capture.
My team has played an integral role in identifying the business needs, architecture response to the needs, and the development on Conceptual, Logical, and Physical data models that are managed
within our metadata repository today.
Seiner: What types of resources did you have at your disposal early in the program and then as the program progressed?
Winters: My team consisted of Data Analysts, Data Architects, Solution Architects, and our relationship with business constituents as we defined the key
milestones in the design, development, and deployment of metadata capabilities.
Seiner: What level of sponsorship/management support did the meta-data work have and how did you arrive at that level of sponsorship?
Winters: Sponsorship and support for metadata initiatives have evolved over the past several years as Intel’s knowledge, needs, and strategy matured. The
early metadata capabilities developed and deployed in the ’90’s focused on IT business needs and primarily addressed data models and structures. Sponsorship then broadens to encompass the
tactical needs of customer capability projects. As the metadata ecosystem, (people, knowledge, and capabilities), matured, and tangible cost savings were were realized, our strategy and sponsorship
includes both enterprise wide directives as well as tactical concerns. This evolution has occurred over the past 15-20 years in an ever increasing ramp that has steep-ened significantly over the
past 5 years. The inflection point and start of our most significant ramp occurred primarily as a result of a handful of forward looking individuals who recognized the critical role and
corresponding value that a metadata program would realize.
Seiner: How and when did you know that the time was right to start on a meta-data solution for Intel? How did you assess your organization’s business and technical requirements for
Winters: Recognizing the “right time” is both critical and challenging. Getting to the “right time” answer requires an up-front investment in education,
value proposition analysis and marketing. First, start your metadata education at the top with the CIO. Define metadata in business terms. Avoid the technical jargon and obscure capabilities. Focus
on metadata as an enabler of business strategy, cost savings, and legal compliance. Determine where business needs can be tied directly to a quick wins demonstrating tangible value. Recognize that
the world of metadata is infinite and a focus on tangible wins is key to lighting the pilot light on metadata initiatives.
Seiner: Who are the users of the meta-data in your repository and what steps do you take to solicit feedback from them as to how effectively the resource is meeting their need?
Winters: Today the users of metadata are primarily in the IT business with a growing number of customers in the Sales & Marketing, Finance, Supply
Chain, and HR divisions. As mentioned previously, the initial area of focus is a direct relationship to “metadata maturity”. In the late ’90’s Intel focused on improving business information
quality. One of the keys to improving information is driving common definition for highly shared data that spanned multiple value chains. Here are the focus areas over the past several
- 1995-1998- Naming Convention standards
- 1998-2003-Common definition is captured as metadata and is made available to the enterprise through our metadata repository. The value is realized in time and quality.
- 2003-2005Consistent Data models have enabled alignment and reuse
- 2006- Several million dollars realized in Re-use valuation
- Future- SOA enablement, Reuse, Follow business process architecture, Impact Analysis, Discovery, Consumption tracking, versioning, SOX, HIPPA (legal)
Seiner: What were some of the toughest issues/tasks that Intel faced during the development of your meta-data program?
Winters: One of the toughest issues was, (and still is), education on Metadata. Be prepared to answer questions such as:
- What is it?
- Why do I need it?
- How does it help me on my project?
- Why does it take so long and cost so much?
- What is the ROI?
- Isn’t this an IT responsibility?
- Can you just buy a tool and plug it in?
Seiner: What did you find to be particularly easy (or simple to accomplish) about the development of the program?
Winters: Singing to the choir was easy! I guess this means nothing is simple when it comes to metadata but the technical challenges pale in comparison to
educating the business and maintaining a commitment in metadata.
Seiner: What is the future direction for Intel’s meta-data program?
Winters: The future is dependant on maturity and evolution of our Metadata commitment. The key is to continuously find opportunities to show business value
and gain support and commitment from business; both inside IT and in the business units.
Some areas of growth will be:
- SOA enablement, Reuse, Impact Analysis, Discovery, Consumption tracking, versioning
- SOX, HIPPA (legal)
- Metadata to support unstructured content
- Metadata and Master data relationship. Is there a new term here, “MasterMetaData”?
- Information Lifecycle Management
- Capturing “Time” in metadata
- Continue to exploit the highest value in the infinite world of metadata
Seiner: Do you have any suggestions or recommendations for those organizations that are just embarking on a meta-data initiative?
- Continuous education from top to bottom.
- Find an area such as reuse where you can quickly attach ROI and prove value to customers inside IT and out in the Business Unit