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Data Management Summit Keynote: The Builders and The Architects

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Data management veteran and SmartStream senior vice president, Tom Dalglish, led this week’s A-Team Group Data Management Summit in London with a thought provoking keynote covering ‘all things data’. He started with a review of what he called a tumultuous year in which people, including himself, moved jobs, data management solution vendors changed hands, and the market arrived at the threshold of the data utility.

Moving on, Dalglish addressed the topic ‘Data Utilities in the Market Place: The Builders and The Architects’. He noted that builders and architects often need to be good at both jobs, but warned that architects sometimes create designs that can’t be built and builders sometimes build without architectural plans.

By way of example, he described a terminal built at Charles de Gaulle airport that collapsed soon after it was built in 2002. The collapse, he proposed, was most likely caused by the same problems that are encountered when building systems for use in capital markets, perhaps process failure, lack of design checking, design flaws that are not caught during building and the wrong materials.

These problems, Dalglish said, describing himself as a builder who hangs out with architects, often occur at the interface of architects, builders and engineers. Problems can also arise if changes are made to a project and the initial plan doesn’t survive, or if architects and builders fail to consider how long systems should last for when they start designing and building.

Turning to the building of data utilities, Dalglish described the need for data accuracy, a change in data sourcing, and a shift in vendor strategies. He said: “Data accuracy is a double-edged sword because everyone’s data sucks, yet everyone wants to hold on to it, even though they know they need accurate data. Data vendors are beginning to come to terms with new market dynamics and software vendors that look like competitors are not, while vendors that we thought wouldn’t collaborate are collaborating.”

Taking into account the changes and developments that have marked the past year, Dalglish concluded: “We stand at the threshold of the data utility, but how do we build it and what commercial models do we use?”

You can listen to a full recording of the session here.

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