Month: June 2007

The “personal data warehouse” debate sounds so familiar

Look closely at business intelligence and you see the world. Larissa T. Moss writes today in TDWI Flashpoint about the “the new debate” over enterprise data warehouses vs. personal data warehouses.

One side believes in one-for-all. The other side believes that by taking care of Me first, I can take care of You.

Where have you heard this before? That’s easy: look at the front page of a newspaper. It’s at the core of so many public debates going on now. The environment: should land be protected or should anyone be allowed to run over anything with an SUV? Taxation: should the poor pay less in taxes, or should rich people pay less so they can provide jobs?

Your heart rate might have risen as you read that last paragraph–and so heart rates rise when people think about what happens with their data. Do they get to harbor it in a “personal data warehouse”? Or should they trust the enterprise to give them what they need?

In his 2000 campaign, George W. Bush proclaimed, “It’s your money!” Yeah, it’s your data, too. Even now, six years after the first tax cuts, we’re still debating the wisdom of “it’s your money.” And a decade from now we might still be debating the wisdom of “it’s your data.”

It’ll be decided, I think, by the quality of the people on each side.

Back in the late ’90s at NetWorld+Interop, they debated another hot issue: whether DSL or cable internet would dominate in the long run.

After many insightful comments, one guy said what I still think was the most insightful of all: what would matter most is which side employed smarter people. DSL had the edge so far, he said, because the phone companies had expertise in networking. Cable would lag because its roots were with the guys who used to pave driveways.

The verdict on that one is still not in. So don’t hold your breath over enterprise data warehouses vs the “personal data warehouses.”

Blinded by the “check engine” light

Late last month on the Juice Analytics weblog, they were talking about Stephen Few’s new concept, the “faceted analytics display.

I like the idea, and I’m sure FADs are important. I just hate to see Few resort to a new term because inept designers have spoiled “dashboard.”

Dashboard is a valuable metaphor and should be defended. I’m afraid FAD will be forgotten.

Isn’t a FAD just a dashboard with extra features? When they added tachometers to auto dashboards, did dashboards become something else? If you add new software or a new peripheral to your computer, isn’t it still a computer?

Perhaps we could call it a “faceted” dashboard—but still a dashboard. That name is still stronger than FAD.

Using “faceted” might force a modifier onto dashboards with just one face. How about “dumb,” as in dumb dashboard? Then we’d call the really bad dashboards just “dumber.”