The devil is in the detail – which is why the Lord of the Nine Hells should never be your DBA

Maybe he knows where the bodies are buried...CPA Australia have asked me to present at their conference in Melbourne in October. They didn’t want to do Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme – that’s already been well-covered apparently. I did suggest that I could relate some case studies from the field about data governance – you know, how to get databases right and so on. I decided that I would try for the entertainment factor – after all, I have seen quite a few fun things in my time, and embellishment never hurt 🙂 – and so I have written an outline for ‘The devil is in the detail – which is why the Lord of the Nine Hells should never be your database administrator’.

Seminar overview:

A successful business knows about its business environment to deliver consistently good services or products to its customers at a reasonable price. Accountants prepare the information that provides the feedback to the business on how it is travelling.

Unfortunately, getting that information right is quite a trick! Some of the information is locked away in limbo; we know it exists but how do we get to it? And no, ‘it’s in the database’ is not really all that helpful. Is the information we rely on actually all that accurate?

In this entertaining presentation, Micheal Axelsen explores the steps and some of the pitfalls you can take to achieve good governance of your data so that the information you prepare for the business is as right as you can get it (and meets compliance requirements!).

On this journey we take a look at some of the practical pitfalls and case studies of working with data that Micheal has seen in fifteen years of working and consulting to industry and commerce, with practical advice you can use to help your business escape its database hell.

Short overview:

As accountants, we prepare the information that a business uses to make its important decisions. Sometimes, though, the data we use seems to be impossible to track down – and when we do find it, who knows whether it’s actually useful or not?

In this entertaining presentation, Micheal looks at some of the practical pitfalls and case studies of working with data – from rampant spreadsheets to the DBA from Hell – that Micheal has seen, with practical advice you can use to help your business escape its database hell.

Does anyone care to leave feedback for me? Would you go to such a session? Or is it trying too hard to try and make databases entertaining… Still, this stuff is what I live for – which is a sad indictment of the times, I suppose, or at least of my sense of humour.

Image from Flickr User Lessio. Some Rights Reserved.

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Feedback from data governance seminar

Hmmm.  One of my ‘corporate values’ is honesty.  Which translates to transparency.  So… I thought I’d post the feedback that I received for the data governance seminar a week or two ago (30th April 2008).  Out of 7, the feedback was 5.7, and I received comments like:

  • Good, relevant and practical
  • Very helpful
  • A good presentation. Will be checking up on notes
  • Annoying that an accountant knows so much about IT!!!
  • Good governance advice
  • Good, reusable data
  • Practical at times. I didn’t agree with some comments
  • Clear presentation; needs to use gender neutral language
  • Practical and concrete
  • Very data focussed and comprehensive

My favourite I think is that it’s annoying for an accountant to know so much about IT :).  And I’ll watch the gender-neutral language in future, old mysogynistic habits die hard.

Advancing data governance to create improved data quality frameworks

As promised in my last post, I attach to this blog post my speaker’s notes for today’s session ‘Advancing data governance to create improved data quality frameworks’.  This presentation was given at Ark Group Australasia’s Data Quality Conference, held on 30th April 2008 at Crystal Palaces, Luna Park in Sydney.  I undertook the presentation as a Director of Applied Insight Pty Ltd, my business systems consulting company. 

The brochure for this conference can be found here.

My speaker’s notes are available below:

For completeness, here are my slides as provided to conference participants (in PDF form):

As always, feedback from members of the audience, via comments or an email, is very welcome.  I hope it was an interesting approach at some level. 

I did at one stage think of going all Gordon Ramsey (he of ‘Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares’) on the audience – I’m a brand new fan, it’s just like consulting but with more swearing and nan bread! – but decided against it.  Perhaps next time, that’s what I’ll do – I’ll try good-consultant, bad-consultant.  Probably at least as good as my idea of having a 40-minute presentation with a single slide with four circles on it.  Maybe one day I’ll be able to combine the two approaches. 

By the way, I loved the venue – at least it will stand out in my memory, that’s for sure.  Here’s a photo I took outside:

I am fairly certain it is the only data quality conference ever held in a theme park.

Data quality conference: Data governance and data quality

I seem to have missed blogging about the fact that Ark Group asked me to present a session at their conference in Sydney today (30th April 2008).  My presentation was entitled ‘Advancing data governance to create improved data quality frameworks’.  I promised people in the audience that I would blog my notes to today’s presentation, which I will do as soon as I am back online (probably tomorrow around midday I’d say). 

Anyway – the taxi driver couldn’t find the address for the conference – the address is 1 Olympic Drive, Milson’s Point in Sydney.  The fun part?  This must be the first data quality conference in the entire world held in a theme park – 1 Olympic Drive is the Crystal Palaces in Luna Park.  I have to say – what an impressive venue!  A shame that the hot dog stands, the cartoonist, and the laughing clowns weren’t operating!

Anyway, it was a lot of fun, and I feel I got good feedback from various people after the conference in the audience.  I spoke at 4.10pm on the second day of a 2-day conference.  That’s always a tough call but hopefully I was energetic enough – it’s kind of hard when you had to wake up at 4.10am to give a presentation at 4.10pm (rather crazily, I asked Aimee Rootes of Ark Group to get me ‘the first flight down’ and ‘the last flight back’.  Which is why I have now been waiting for the flight for three hours at Sydney Airport now.

Talk about your lessons learned.  Anyway, I was glad to share a taxi with Suzette Bailey of Sensory7 and we got to speak the same language in the back of the taxi – there aren’t all that many people in the western world who actually understand the language I speak, so it was refreshing to do so.

Next post:  advancing data governance to create improved data quality frameworks.