Over the years that I spent building erwin into a leader in data governance, I developed a deep appreciation for two technology areas that have an opportunity to change the way we work for years to come. The first is AI/ML that is being introduced into all types of technology use cases. The second is automation technology to increase the speed and effectiveness of work. As erwin, we employed both these technologies to set ourselves apart from the competition and move us into Gartner’s leadership quadrant and fuel our growth.
That brings me to my next journey, WorkFusion. After months of studying the RPA market, the stars and moon lined up to provide me with the perfect opportunity at this incredible company. WorkFusion has spent years building superior AI/ML technology, has a passionate leadership team that truly cares for the success of its customers and great investors that have unwavering confidence in the team. Like every great opportunity, it is not short on challenges, as this RPA market has been very well funded, has extremely strong competitors and is moving lightning fast right now.
This opportunity will enable me to fuel my passion for leveraging AI/ML to help automate functions of the intelligent worker so they can become more productive and strategic in their daily work. It will give me a new platform with passionate employees to deliver extreme customer value in ways that are only limited by our imaginations. At the end of the day, we will be able to make a life-long impact on the way people work while building a great company.
It is an exciting time to be in this space and I am honored to be leading the way with WorkFusion!
Growing up the son of an entrepreneur gave me an exciting opportunity to learn what it takes to creatively build a brand, work hard for those early customer wins, and then nurture your customer base to keep them happy for years to come.
My father led by example as he worked 15 hour days and still found time to be with his family on weekends. He always provided me with a deeper view of the operations by enabling me to join him as he worked his different businesses. I was always amazed by how close he became to his customers, knowing everything about them, both personally and professionally, while laughing and having fun with them in conversation.
My father’s primary business was as a wholesaler of baked goods, including breads, donuts and cakes. He would pick up these goods from multiple manufacturers to ensure only the best products and then would package and sell them to retailers, who would then use them to deliver a complete solution for their customers…like a bacon egg and cheese on a roll. The roll, of course, was delivered by my father.
My father also schooled me on competitive advantage. While running the baked goods route, he was always on the lookout for a superior product. But that was not very sustainable, as his competitors had access to the same goods. So my father used his customer relationships to set him apart. He powerfully demonstrated to me that, in today’s world where it is harder and harder to sustain a competitive advantage, we should look to our customers and the experience we provide to differentiate ourselves. This also means intentionally designing a company culture that drives employees to be customer first in everything they do. And, as leaders, we must ensure that our employees are set up to learn and develop their skills, to create the same opportunities to better their lives and their families.
When it was my turn to join the workforce, my dad coached me early on to work at a large company and then run your own business within it. As much as he loved being an entrepreneur, he did not want me to live the same life, being strapped to a business that took so much of his precious time away from our family. Looking back, it was easy to see why I gravitated to building partner businesses, as combining technologies to deliver better customer solutions is part of the DNA that was passed down from my father.
So that is what I have done for the last 20+ years. Building and developing businesses has become my passion. Always keeping the customer at the center of everything that I do. Making sure that we all have fun in our daily work, helping our employees grow into better versions of themselves and, most importantly, ensuring that family always comes first. Now it is up to me to pass these important lessons on to my girls as they start on their journey to becoming the next generation of leaders.
To my father, the original entrepreneur in my life!
Frank’s Baked Goods…We’re Fresh!
Today, is a big day. Quest Software announced its acquisition of erwin, Inc. erwin now joins Quest’s Information Systems and Management (ISM) business unit, which contains the Database Management, Data Protection, and Unified Endpoint Management solutions.
When we established erwin as its own entity, we knew the company had a tremendous foundation in data modeling on which to build. It was and continues to be the world’s No. 1 data modeling solution.
We knew erwin was a diamond in the rough.
From the beginning, our vision was to transform erwin into a pre-eminent player in the data space and—with the acquisitions of erwin from CA Technologies, and the subsequent acquisitions of Corso, Casewise, A&P Consulting, and Analytix DS, plus the hard work of the R&D team— the company became laser-focused on data governance. We believed that the combination of data governance, enterprise architecture, business process, and data modeling was a powerful and differentiated value proposition that would resonate with our strategic enterprise customers. And it did.
Solving the enterprise data dilemma was our mission. Helping companies navigate complex regulations, enabling digital transformation, streamlining migration and data governance from legacy to cloud data platforms, and over the past year, harnessing data to respond and survive during the pandemic — erwin has helped our customers respond to every critical data issue.
Over the years, we’ve received countless accolades including being recognized as a leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Metadata Management Solutions (for two consecutive years); DBTA’s Readers’ Choice Award; Big Data 50; DBTA 100; and so on.
All of this is to say, I am so proud of what our team has accomplished. Our relationships with our customers and partners has also been important at every stage in our journey. I am so grateful to each of you.
When I was heading the erwin Business Unit back at CA years ago, I knew erwin was a diamond in the rough. It just needed to be polished. Over the past four plus years, we’ve taken that diamond and made it shine. I am so truly proud to have been a part of the erwin story.
I think it’s fair to say that we’re all glad to usher in a New Year.
Unexpected, unprecedented and disruptive, 2020 required radical transformation – within global organizations and our day-to-day lives.
Our predictions for 2021 are rooted in what we’ve learned from this past year and the relevance of data in getting us to where we are and where we need to go. With that said, here are seven predictions for the New Year:
1. “Death of the Office” Alters Compliance: Since the pandemic, many organizations have decided remote work is here to stay. However, challenges persist if your organization doesn’t take proper precautions in supporting a remote workforce — from human resources to productivity and IT security – especially when regulations such as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) are involved. In highly regulated environments, such as financial services, healthcare and pharma, attestations, audit trails and compliance reporting are required regardless of circumstances and will be difficult with a manual, laborious approach. As a result, look for more automated compliance solutions to hit the market.
2. Data’s Move to the Cloud Hits Warp Speed: As a result of COVID-19, enterprises are expediting their digital transformation and cloud migration efforts at record rates, with no end in sight. Historically, moving legacy data to the cloud hasn’t been easy or fast. As businesses migrate from legacy systems to the cloud, data governance and data intelligence will become increasingly relevant to the C-suite and tools to automate and expedite the process will take center stage.
3. AI-Fueled Data Governance: Artificial intelligence (AI) has been narrowly tied to internet of things (IoT) with smart features like Alexa, Nest and self-driving cars. However, that definition is too narrow in terms of AI’s relation to data governance. AI will drive automation to ensure an organization’s framework is always accurate and up to date. AI-powered data governance will ensure data environments always stay up to date and controlled, enabling compliance and tagging of sensitive data.
4. Rise of Data Governance Standards: Despite the rise of data governance, industry-wide standards have been lacking, surprisingly. This year, that will change as semantic metadata comes into its own driven by Microsoft’s Common Data Model (CDM). The CDM provides a best-practices approach to defining data to accelerate data literacy, automation, integration and governance across the enterprise. We anticipate more standards to be developed and released in CDM’s wake.
5. EA Becomes Integral to Innovation: Enterprise architecture (EA) is having a resurgence as COVID-19 has forced organizations around the globe to re-examine or reimagine themselves. However, even in “normal times,” business leaders need to understand how to grow, bring new products to market through organic growth or acquisition, identify new trends and opportunities, determine if new opportunities provide a return on investment, etc. Organizations that can identify these opportunities and respond to them have a distinct edge over their competitors. EA will become even more critical to innovation in the year ahead.
6. Data Becomes a Matter of Life or Death: To say that data will be the difference between life and death in 2021 is not hyperbole. The initial rounds of COVID 19 vaccines are being distributed as I write this. And at the heart of these monumental medical breakthroughs is data. From re-engineering research and development to managing trials and regulatory approvals to setting up manufacturing and distribution, data has made and will continue to make a life-and-death difference. Figuratively, data will mean life or death to businesses around the world to restoring some sort of normal activities, organizations across all industries will rely on data to make it happen. That data will need to be accurate and trusted so it can lead to actionable insights – and it will need to be governed throughout its lifecycle.
7. Workplace Humanity: A lesson learned from 2020 is that work is part of life, and the boundaries separating the two shrank considerably. Whether it was via Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangout, etc., the pandemic forced us to bring our true selves, our spouses, our kids and our pets to work this past year. As a result, we’ve developed a new level of humanity in the workplace, which may be the ultimate silver lining from these dark times. From employees to customers, we’ve had to communicate more, listen more, and help each other more. My hope is that this trend of being human in the workplace extends into 2021 and beyond.
COVID changed everything. However, I believe we will start to see the light at the end of this dark tunnel in 2021. We’ll see innovation accelerate at a pace we haven’t seen in years, perhaps not since the dot-com boom. But to succeed in the new normal and avoid false starts and bad decisions, enterprises must be able to find, navigate, understand and use their most valuable data assets.
For all of us at erwin, I’d like to wish our customers and partners a healthy and happy New Year!
This was the theme of the global conference we produced in October, but I’d venture to say it’s the mantra global organizations need to adopt as we continue to deal with the most disruptive event of our lifetime: COVID-19.
When I look back, I should not be surprised that 2020 has been incredibly busy for us here at erwin. I’ve made decisions during the past nine months I never thought I’d have to, and I’m sure this is the reality for you and your organization as well.
As CEO, of course I had big plans for us, but then the world and everything in it changed. However, data is central to our mission, and data is the key to sound decision-making. Thankfully, we were in the right business at the right time.
After making sure our employees were safe and equipped to work from home, once we closed our offices, we emerged with more focus on that mission and more time to spend with customers. All the time I used to spend traveling, I now spend talking – or listening – to my employees or our customers from my dining room table.
To survive and eventually thrive in the face of radical disruption requires transformation that’s just as radical:
· Developing new business models, like breweries and distillers manufacturing hand sanitizer
· Reimaging current business models, like moving fitness classes outdoors
· Creating new products and services, such as restaurants providing text check-in curb service
· Market expansion, with traditional grocers becoming online shopping hubs
The companies that come out of this historic period of global uncertainty and change will be those that take an intelligent, data-driven approach to business.
The best example I can point to, which underscores the importance and relevance of data, is pharmaceutical companies that have been working at unprecedented speed to develop not only effective treatments for the coronavirus but also vaccines. Earlier this week, several historic announcements were made about the availability of the first shots and the plans to ship and administer them.
At the heart of these medical breakthroughs is data. From re-engineering research and development to managing trials and regulatory approvals to setting up manufacturing and distribution, data has made and will continue to make a life-and-death difference. Although I can’t share the details, I’m proud that erwin had a hand in this massive global health initiative.
While your organization may not be on the front line in the fight against the virus, you’ve no doubt been impacted by it. Have you had to revisit and reset priorities? Change your business processes? Confront new compliance challenges as a result of the changes you had to institute?
And when all the crazy ends, and it will end, are you prepared to capitalize on new opportunities?
Adversity spurs innovation, and I believe innovation will drive forward at a rapid pace once the global ecosystem finds its new normal. We might well be on our way. Will you be ready?
Enterprises must be able to find, navigate, understand and use their most valuable data assets. We knew that to be true before the pandemic, but now it’s become even more obvious.
Despite social distancing, I have to say our customer intimacy has never been greater. I believe that’s because our employees are operating with a heightened sense of purpose and urgency. We focused on doing what’s right, including making training for our solutions and other resources available online at no charge and releasing a free app to help organizations communicate and manage their remote workforces more effectively. We also made professional and consulting services more accessible.
The point is that if you stay close to your employees and your customers, good things will happen. Over communication is key. Those relationships will develop and deepen, even via Zoom or Microsoft Teams. Perhaps that’s because we’ve all realized how much we have in common. I might have a “C” in my title, but my wife is still annoyed that I’ve hijacked the dining room, and my daughters make a lot of noise being home instead of at school. Titles have taken a backseat to humanity as we all try to stay healthy, sane and accomplish what’s on our to-do lists each day.
Finding that balance is important. You must make time for your family and yourself because we do seem to be working longer and harder. Exercise. Listen to less news. Be thankful.
And with that, I want to express my appreciation to our customers, partners, employees and their families. I wish each of you health, time to enjoy the holiday season in a meaningful but perhaps smaller way, and here is to a brighter 2021 together.
As leaders, we all must look hard at our business models and consider how to adapt to this new, virtual-first world. Even if we think this will be for a limited time, the changes and challenges we are currently experiencing may have a very lasting impact. So, let’s adjust now.
What is it that has really changed?
Companies need to create new business processes and models to execute on a smaller presence in offices and larger work-from-home situations, all while adhering to regulations and compliance.
Companies need to speed up the pace of innovation but now to do it from home, leveraging cloud-based environments and development tools.
All companies should be thinking about their customers and how to better service them in this virtual world. Now is the time to get closer to your customers than ever before. Help them succeed and then so will you.
Will this crisis come and go? Yes, of course it will. There will be plenty of companies that fail during this time but also many that flourish. The ones that flourish adapt quickly, are responsive to these changing markets and grow stronger navigating these waters with their customers in mind.
Time for a change.
From a data perspective, 2019 was truly transformative. Organizations are evolving from data being viewed as an IT issue to increasing adoption of enterprise-wide data literacy.
Additionally, while regulatory compliance and data breaches have historically driven the data governance narrative, we’re now seeing the pendulum shift as organizations finally begin tapping into data as a true strategic asset.
With that said, here are 10 data predictions for 2020:
- More U.S. states and other countries will adopt data regulations: The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has set the bar, becoming a de facto standard for data security and privacy across Europe as well as other geographies. On January 1, 2020, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) goes into effect … expect more states, as well as other countries, to replicate these types of data regulations
- Data catalogs get hot: While some retail catalogers, like Sears, have fallen on hard times, data catalogs are on the rise because the concept works. Gartner even refers to them as “the new black in data management and analytics.” Regardless of industry or initiative, all organizations need an organized data catalog to easily find and understand their data sources.
- Enterprise data gets in the gamified: Data literacy, enabling employees to derive meaningful insights from data, is going to emerge as a major trend. One way organizations will begin to increase enterprise-wide data literacy is by gamifying it. Employees who demonstrate analytics expertise, critical thinking and story-telling to promote data literacy throughout the organization will be recognized and rewarded for their efforts.
- Data finds a soul: Highly regulated industries will begin to change their philosophies, embracing data ethics as part of their overall business strategy and not just a matter of regulatory compliance. In addition, ethical artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) applications will be used by organizations to ensure their training data sets are well-defined, consistent and of high quality.
- Government will show the rest of us how to use data to improve service delivery: Government usually lags behind other industries when it comes to innovation. However, local government agencies, particularly those responsible for schools and social services, will lead the way in using data governance to drive digital transformation in providing better services, including safety and security.
- Data modeling becomes cool again, seriously: Today’s data modeling is not your father’s data modeling. While it’s always been the best way to understand complex data sources and automate design standards and integrity rules, the role of data modeling will continue to expand as the fulcrum of collaboration between data generators, stewards and consumers. That’s because it’s the only way to visualize metadata, and metadata is now the heart of enterprise data management and governance/ intelligence efforts.
- Managing data at the edge: Adoption has been slower than we thought, but this is the year edge computing will take hold because organizations need to view, manage and secure this data and quickly incorporate it into an automated pipeline. For example, IoT device data is often integrated and aggregated with other enterprise data sources but still needs to be documented and governed like any other data. Mapping and cataloging these data sources makes this a manageable challenge.
- Data valuation becomes the holy grail: Data will finally be treated as a true asset with an actual monetary value assigned to it, just like physical assets, intellectual property and even brands. The ability to discover, understand, govern and socialize data assets, aka data governance, is crucial to this process especially in ensuring data quality and being able to present compelling, data-dependent use cases.
- The real CDO stands up: Does the “CD” stand for “chief data” or “chief digital” officer? These roles have started to blur, but I predict chief data officer will become the more prominent title and in-demand job because data is central to an organization’s success both from a compliance and day-to-day operational perspective.
- Marketing and enterprise data collide: As data becomes increasingly democratized throughout the organization, the marketing department will become more connected to the data pipeline and therefore a power player in using data insights to help the enterprise achieve its business goals. Marketing even will get its own line item in the IT budget.
This past year witnessed a data governance awakening – or as the Wall Street Journal called it, a “global data governance reckoning.” There was tremendous data drama and resulting trauma – from Facebook to Equifax and from Yahoo to Marriott. The list goes on and on. And then, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) took effect, with many organizations scrambling to become compliant.
Five years ago I was an executive with a large enterprise IT company. I was in my late 30’s and working upwards of 70 hours a week … with an amazing wife and three young daughters at home. But, a simple routine physical changed my life. During the physical, I learned that I was on a fast-track to heart disease with high cholesterol and overweight. I knew I needed a lifestyle change – fast and without medicine. But how? I didn’t have the time. I was crazy busy.
For those of you who never heard of the ERwin software platform, it is the industry’s most powerful data modeling solution. ERwin gives IT professionals an intuitive graphical interface to model the database before they build it and acts as an information hub to share data definitions, rules and structures across the organization. ERwin has a 15-year rich history and is deployed across more than 75,000 organizations. But what’s most exciting is the role that ERwin is coming to play as the foundation for global Big Data initiatives.