Please vote for your favourite data modelling tool, whatever it is #PowerDesigner #ERwin #Idera #ERStudio

The people at ERwin pay a lot more attention than some other vendors do to promoting their product, including asking their users to vote for them in various polls or awards. Currently they’re asking their users to vote for ERwin in the “Readers’ Choice Awards” for Database Trends and Applications.

The following data modelling tools are listed in the poll –
PremiumSoft Navicat Data Modeler, Dell Toad Data Modeler, IDERA ER/Studio, ERwin, TimeXtender, SAP PowerDesigner.

That’s an interesting selection of tools, partly due to the absence of any tool from IBM, and also because there are two I’ve barely even heard of.

Voting closes on May 20th, so make sure to vote for your favourite modelling tool, whatever it is. My message is the same as it is to every registered voter in the UK today (lots of elections on in the UK today) – cast your vote and be heard!

Go to http://www.dbta.com/ReadersChoice/2016/Vote.aspx

April 28th Sandhill webinar – What’s new with SAP #PowerDesigner Latest Edition V16.6

Join us for a webinar on Apr 28, 2016 at 2:00 PM EDT.

Register now!

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3620953847587697409

Strategic decisions are based on data. The quality of your data will greatly effect the quality of your decisions. A well informed decision, requires a 360º view of an organisation’s information assets.

Sandhill Consultants in conjunction with SAP will be hosting a webcast on the latest features and functionality within SAP PowerDesigner R16.x, including the most recent Edition R16.6.

Sandhill Consultants will also review the different Editions (Data Architect and Enterprise Architect) and the process of upgrading to the latest editions.

Key topics discussed in this Webinar

1. Understanding the differences between Data and Enterprise Architect Editions
2. Visualize the different model types, features and functionality
3. Review of the SAP PowerDesigner Repository

Don’t miss this opportunity to see SAP PowerDesigner in action and learn how SAP PowerDesigner can help your organization achieve a 360° view of its information assets

For more information on SAP PowerDesigner click on the link below:
http://www.sandhillconsultants.com/powerdesignereditions.asp

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

When your processes or business rules aren’t up to the job, don’t blame the customer #BusinessRules

Defining and implementing processes and business rules can be a complicated task, as I know from years of experience of data and process modelling.  I’ve been on the receiving end of some incompletely-defined processes and business rules recently, and was made to feel as if it was my fault, and that’s not a good feeling.

This isn’t intended to be a rant against the supplier, though it’s very tempting to go on at length about what went wrong, the promises that were broken, and the amount of time we had to spend on the phone to get it sorted (at a cost of 5 pence per minute).

The topic is the unwritten assumptions that lie behind some process and business rules, and what happens when those assumptions prove to be false.

Here’s the scenario – a family have an integrated dishwasher, built-in to a line of cupboards in the kitchen. The dishwasher has a major fault, so the family decide to replace it, and order a new machine from the web site of one of the biggest electrical retailers in the country. The unusual step they take is to order a free-standing dishwasher to replace the existing integrated machine; they pay extra for the new machine to be installed, and for the old one to be removed.

Here’s the supplier’s description of the service that they paid for.

Insstalling free standing dishwashers

That’s a straightforward process – it says quite simply that they will install the new dishwasher and remove the old one. No conditions specified.

The following morning, the delivery / installation team turned up with the new dishwasher, took one look at the existing one, and refused to touch it. Apparently, removing and installing integrated dishwashers is the job of a specialist team, and it costs the customer a lot more money – 4.5 times as much for installation. The fact that they weren’t being asked to install an integrated dishwasher, just to disconnect it and take it away, was irrelevant.

The family were not impressed – the installation team promised to call the office when they had a mobile signal to arrange a visit by a suitably-qualified team, but the family left nothing to chance, and called Customer Support themselves straight away. They were promised a call back which never came, so they called again in the evening. During that call they were told about the additional cost for installing an integrated appliance, and accused of not reading the terms and conditions when they ordered the installation service. These are the terms and conditions shown above, the ones which don’t mention the assumption that the installers would be replacing like with like.

By the time the family made the evening call to Customer Support, they had discovered how to detach the integrated dishwasher – there were three screws attaching the dishwasher to the worktop, which took about a minute to remove. Now it’s no longer integrated, it’s free-standing; why didn’t the professional installers know how to do that?

If the family had ordered a new integrated appliance, here’s what the installation service would consist of.

Insstalling integrated dishwashers

Again, a straightforward process, and you can see the additional tasks necessary to remove and replace the plinth and the panel door. In the family’s case, none of these tasks were necessary, as they had already removed the plinth and didn’t want to keep the old panel door.

Anyway, as the dishwasher had been converted from ‘integrated’ to ‘free-standing’ by the family, the supplier agreed to honour the original installation agreement and send a new team of installers.

At the time of writing, the family are waiting for the installation team to arrive, with all fingers crossed.

What lessons are there in this unfortunate story, apart from making sure you become an expert in somebody else’s job before they turn up?

  • When defining business processes, document your assumptions, and work on the exceptions (use cases are a great technique for doing this)
  • Make sure that the affected parties (in this case, the customers paying for the service) are aware of the assumptions and exceptions – include them in the definition of the service, perhaps asking the customer to call Customer Support before placing an order if the assumptions aren’t true.
  • Make sure that Customer Support staff don’t blame the customer for the supplier’s own lack of information
  • Let installers use judgement –the original team could have worked out how to remove the existing machine if they’d looked at it instead of just saying “Not my job, mate”

How much can you rely on tool comparisons from tool vendors? #EDW15

The quality and reliability of comparative evaluations issued by vendors of modelling tools varies significantly, from the completely unprofessional to the merely incomplete. I include the comparisons I wrote for Sybase (now SAP) PowerDesigner in 2011 in the latter category.

The worst I’ve seen (very recently) was ‘unofficial’, presumably produced by a sales rep for a particular customer. It was completely unprofessional, the sole intention was to rubbish a competitor. For example,

  • claiming that the other tool doesn’t support feature Y, just because it doesn’t have a feature called Y – in this case, it does support that feature, just happens to give it a different name
  • missing information – “my tool supports both relational and dimensional modelling” – doesn’t mention the fact that the other tool also supports both of them
  • apparent hearsay – throwaway comments such as “they say that my tool can leverage colour better than the other tool” with no supporting information
  • our model comparison feature can compare more objects and properties than the other tool – hmm, really?
  • unanswered questions, such as “Does the other tool support inheritance?”, presumably intended to sow doubt

I think it’s safe to say that the author of this comparison is not actually a user of the tools in question.

It’s very difficult for one person to produce an unbiased and detailed comparison of tools, as very few people know the target tools in sufficient detail. To create unbiased and detailed comparisons you need access to experts in all the tools involved, and you have to ask all the right questions.

Take everything with a huge pinch of salt – take time to come to your own conclusions when you’re choosing a modelling tool.

I’m speaking with my friend Chris Bradley on the topic of Evaluating Data Modelling Tools at EDW in Washington next week, come along and find out more – http://edw2015.dataversity.net/sessionPop.cfm?confid=87&proposalid=7183.

Enhancement request process for SAP #PowerDesigner, via @ISUG (part 1)

The Independent SAP Technical User Group (ISUG-TECH) have re-opened the PowerDesigner enhancement forum, which allows you to submit and VOTE FOR enhancements to PowerDesigner. This is the place to submit them if you want your request to be visible, and you want to get other users to back you up. Once voting is closed, I’ll be responsible for bundling them up and passing them on to SAP.

Enhancement Requests can be raised at http://my.isug.com/p/is/ty/type=14. You can become a member for free, so basically anyone can raise and view enhancement requests, though you need to be a paid-up member to vote on requests. If you’re a member of a local SAP user group, you may already be a member of ISUG.

In this post, I’m going to outline the process for you, and I’ll follow up with a more detailed look at the information you need to supply for each new request.

Here’s a quick guide to raising an enhancement request.

  • Join ISUG – see my.isug.com – log in to the web site
  • Select ‘Enhancements’

Image

  • Read about the voting process

Image

  • scroll down, and select the PowerDesigner list

Image

  • Select an entry to read or vote on, or add your own enhancement

Image

  • Vote on the change

Image

  • If you want to clarify the reason for your vote, cross-reference an existing enhancement request, or say anything about the request, add a comment

Add Comment

This diagram summarises the enhancement process for you:

Enhancements Process Flow

%d bloggers like this: