After you've done a thing the same way for two years, look it over carefully. After five years, look at it with suspicion. And after ten years, throw it away and start all over. Alfred Edward Perlman, New York Times, 3 July 1958
I started my career with 5 years of working in the service of companies who need data
management1 to support them in their efforts to be either more competitive or more reliable. Ahold, specifically Albert Heijn and the Pallas project2, formed the basis of my career in data management and was also the first jelled team I was part of3.
The next 5 years I worked for various consultancy firms; Vertis (now Ordina), I3 and Cibit. Every one of those taught me valuable lessons in what worked and what did not work. Within Cibit I began giving masterclasses data warehousing in depth and tutoring prep courses for the CBIP certification.
The last 5 years I was an independent 'jiggler'4 with a mission; enhancing the rigor and relevance of data management. Data management was and still is a young field of expertise with a thin body of knowledge, in practice as well as in science. One of the reasons is the extremely limited cross-pollination of other fields of expertise with data management; Quality, Manufacturing, Operational Research, Logistics, Software Engineering, Psychology, Economics, etc.. Hundreds of books and huge piles of academic papers have littered/light up (?!) my path the last 5 years and resulted in various papers, blog posts, tweets, conferences and workshops. In my 'jiggling' efforts I increasingly was able to use this wonderful knowledge for the benefit of my clients. I like to belief that I have had some impact on how we can deliver cost-effective quality data products.
In this day and age, the field of data management and its uses for decision support/enhancement is growing at an unprecedented pace and is getting more and more complex and intertwined. Combined with an evermore accelerating technology advancement, data explosion and increasing demand, we find ourselves in a fascinating era. For an indy like me, keeping up is vital and increasingly challenging.
Instigated by the quality literature, the agile approach in software engineering and the problem solving leadership course5 I took in 2011, I got convinced that 'the team' - when empowered - can achieve astounding results in the non-linear world we are living in. And like they say - there is no 'I' in 'TEAM'...
In short; I decided to search for an environment where I can make a difference, where I can learn and contribute and be part of a team of kindred spirits that share the passion of the trade we are in.
SAS and myself go back over a decade where we worked together for various clients. And over the years I became impressed with the company (great place to work, the history), the SAS employees, the approach to the market (very much value based), their products (a.o interoperability, breadth of products, expertise in analytics), their Dataflux subsidiary and a consulting company I admire for quite some time; Baseline Consulting, featuring giants like Jill Dyche and Evan Levy.
In short; I am leaving the lonesome cowboy act and join the SAS stable as of September
1st 2012. As a Principle Business Solution Consultant I will remain to be focusing on (agile) data management, be part of the the SAS data management team, telling the story that needs to be told, continue blogging and tweeting and assisting customers in formulating their data management strategies and executing them.
ps. A press release has been issued by SAS regarding my transfer (Dutch only)
1 - The best description of data management in my opinion is the one used by DAMA;http://www.dama.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3548
2 - http://www.grey-matter.nl/pubs/AH_Pallas_NL.pdf
3 - http://www.amazon.com/Peopleware-Productive-Projects-Second-Edition/dp/0932633439
4 - J.Weinberg: 'A jiggler gets an organization unstuck by providing a small change in how the client sees the world'
5 - Jerry Weinberg/Esther Derby/Johanna Rothman