Here are the slides from my 2-hour #PowerDesigner presentation to the UK SAP Database & Technology User Group (UKSUG) today

This was an opportunity I could not miss – a 2-hour presentation on modelling to an audience of database experts!
Starting with a brief look at using Visio and/or Excel for data modelling and governance, I talked about the extras we can gain by using PowerDesigner to design databases.
Of course, it’s not ‘just’ databases we’re concerned with, the relationships those databases have with our business and technical architecture is also important.
The next key topic is the role of Data Models and others (such as the Requirements model) in Governance and Design.
Next it’s mapping data sources and targets to demonstrate and create data lineage, showing how PowerDesigner supports multiple DBMS Versions (and what you can do to change how it does that), creating a CUBE for Business Objects, finally (almost) focusing on the support provided for SAP IQ.
Finally, I described some real-world uses of PowerDesigner.

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

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!

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:

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

Buying another company? Have you checked the data models? #datamodeling #ITintegration #M&A

There’s an apparently never-ending discussion of the role of data modelling. Is it an IT activity? Is it only about designing databases? My friend Chris Bradley has given numerous sessions on this (you can see one of them here), as have many others, so I don’t want to labour the point. I’d just like to focus on a possibly overlooked role for data models in mergers and acquisitions.

I heard a tale a few years back, of a foreign mortgage provider that bought a UK company that had a comprehensive enterprise data model. This was the first UK company that the foreign company had ever purchased, so I expect that they carried out a lot of research into the new market before deciding how much to pay for the acquisition, and how much effort would be involved in migrating the existing UK IT applications to their own platform. During that research, they ought to have taken a look at the enterprise data model and compared it with their own data models, assuming they had any, but did they?

Here’s where the tale gets interesting. The foreign company was used to a market with a simple view of mortgage accounts; each mortgage account only has a single product, making the interest and repayment calculation processes quite simple:

Mortgages - simple view

Unfortunately, a glance at the UK company’s enterprise data model would have revealed that their business processes and IT systems were much more complicated:

More complex mortgage

This is a simplified view of the data model, so it doesn’t look like there’s much difference at first. Look at the full data model and you’ll see that the UK mortgage account can include multiple products with different:

  • start date
  • maturity date
  • interest rate %
  • interest rate type (interest only or repayment)

The business processes for managing these accounts would be much more complex.

According to the tale, the foreign company had a modular component-based IT platform, and their projected cost savings were dependent on migrating the UK IT functionality to the existing components. Without the knowledge gained from looking at the data model, they may have seriously underestimated the amount of work needed to migrate mortgage accounts.

Within three months of the takeover, the new owners shut down the entire enterprise data modelling organisation – all the people, the data modelling tools, and the metadata repositories. I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions.


Do we really have Employee master data? #MDM #MasterDataFail #MasterDataSlaves

Sometimes when I’m providing a service to a client, I need to connect to their domain so they set me up as an internal user. This can give me some interesting insights into the way they operate, and it’s amazing how little has changed since the distant time when I was a salaried employee. For example, I recently supported a user department within a very large UK company, and the team moved from office A to office B. We all received an email advising us to update our current location in our email signatures, and also in the following systems:

  • Human Resources (two separate systems)
  • IT’s ordering system
  • the Intranet Directory

What on earth is going on at this company? How much time is wasted by employees carrying out manual Master Data Management? How much variation is there in the location data? Why are the Employees expected to act as Master Data Slaves?

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 –

Trust and Traceability – Building an Information Architecture with SAP #PowerDesigner

Here’s a date for your diary – on February 5th, Sandhill Consultants will present a webinar aimed at those of you who want to know about building an Information Architecture in PowerDesigner.

The webinar will introduce three key approaches to moving beyond data modeling with SAP PowerDesigner that will allow you to trace your data lineage and analyze impacts on other systems, such as Data Warehousing, Transactional, ERP, COTS, among others.

• Reconciling disparate data systems
• Reduce data complexity via data modeling
• Reuse data assets

Follow this link to register –

Sandhill Consultants are PD resellers in North America, and I’m happy to say that I help them to provide PD services and training.