Here is an interview with Scott Gidley, CTO and co-founder of leading data quality ccompany DataFlux . DataFlux is a part of SAS Institute and in 2011 acquired Baseline Consulting besides launching the latest version of their Master Data Management product.
Ajay- Describe your personal story in technology and software. What made you choose this as a career.
Scott- I became interested in computers and technology fairly early in life and majored in computer science in college. I started in earnest in the technology world while a consultant with Seer Technologies. During these projects at multiple client sites, many of us began to see that a big factor in the success or failure of many IT projects was the quality and reliability of the data. By the mid-90s, a few of us – who would go on to found DataFlux – began to see how this type of technology could be deployed across organizations to create and maintain high-quality information. Up until that time data quality was more of a back-office initiative that was often done as a service. The idea grew into a business that now encompasses a wide variety of software and services that still focuses on that key theme – helping companies deliver more value from their data assets.
Ajay- What are the exciting new products that DataFlux has come up with . How do these compare with the rest of competition in the market.
Scott- DataFlux was first to the data management market with a variety of innovations: integrated data profiling and data quality, customizable data quality rules and repositories, automated data monitoring, and the ability to deploy data management jobs via web services. However, one of the things that we have continually strived to achieve is business and IT collaboration. Our technology has always been used by a mixture of business and IT professionals, and we have helped hundreds of companies bridge the gaps between those two groups. In the release of our core Data Management Platform later this year, we will unveil even more technology designed for data stewards, such as a web-based interface for interactive dashboards, reference data management and the management of a “glossary” of business terms that will drive downstream data management initiatives.
Ajay- What are the benefits and changes that acquisition by SAS Institute has helped DataFlux. What are the drawbacks (if any).
Scott- When SAS acquired DataFlux in 2000, we were an energetic and innovative company, but we lacked the resources to deliver on the overall vision. The SAS acquisition provided a boost in our overall resources while also plugging DataFlux technology into a larger audience – the SAS customer base. Over the past decade, we have seen DataFlux technology installed as a standalone data management application for things like data migrations or MDM – and the technology was deployed to support SAS solutions to deliver better data for analytical purposes. As a result, our technology has a much broader reach, and we have learned a tremendous amount from all of these deployments.
Ajay- In the age of Big Data, how is MDM going to change and evolve.
Scott- Things like MDM and data management, in general, are going to be even more important in the age of Big Data. Much of the press about Big Data has focused on the size and scale of the data. What is missing from the conversation is whether the data will meet the business needs of the organization. The same rigor that companies put around governing the data within internal applications will have to extend to any ata repository that can affect a company’s business processes – whether the resides within the firewall or in the cloud or whether it’s a traditional data source or a Big Data initiative. In addition, traditional data management activities will be driven down into the storage of big data rather than the more traditional extract and then cleanse or transform operations. Other types of technologies such as complex event process (or, as it is also known, event stream processing), will be used to filter through data on a massive scale so that only relevant information is maintained or utilized by the business. This approach to integrating Big Data sources and MDM applications is already underway.
Ajay- What do DataFlux employees do when not creating or consulting on software and technology.
Scott- With almost 200 employees, there are probably 200 different responses to this question. Personally, I like to golf, watch sports and spend time with my kids. We have a fairly active employee community, and you will often see groups leaving at lunch or after work to go cycling or play team sports. The SAS culture fosters a healthy work-life balance, and we strive to keep that same balance within the DataFlux culture.
(special thanks to Jill Dyche and Daniel Teachey for enabling this interview)
Chief Technology Officer & Co-Founder
Scott is a DataFlux founder and has worked extensively on data quality and data management projects, while directing all DataFlux research and development efforts. At DataFlux, he provides the technological vision for the company and consults with customers, analysts and internal staff to devise a roadmap for software enhancements. Scott was honored by InfoWorld as one of the “Innovators to Watch in 2006.” Prior to founding DataFlux, Scott worked in the Consulting Services division of Seer Technologies, where he was responsible for developing several financial systems for clients in the commercial banking and investment banking industries, including CS First Boston, RM Trust of Toronto and Kidder Peabody. Scott is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in computer science.