2009 Year in Review

As we’re about to enter 2010, it’s a good time to reflect on what happened in 2009 and what it all means.

“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times…” So Dickens begins “A Tale of Two Cities”, but it’s also a good description of the past year.

The first half of the year was one of the most challenging I’ve faced in my twenty-three year career in business and technology. The second half of 2009 was better – not without its speed bumps but every month was a little better than the one before it.

The macro-economic climate has been tumultuous at best. But the second half of the year showed enough improvement that Hub Designs’ revenue for the year was up 33%. Not bad for a two and a half year old company during the worst economic conditions in 80 years …

Marketing and Thought Leadership

We launched a new web site in January, and it’s been well received. Total visits to www.hubdesigns.com were up 14% over 2008.

A little later in the year, we updated the “look and feel” of the Hub Designs Blog, branding it as the “world’s fastest growing blog covering master data management and data governance”. We’ve gotten more than 43,000 hits since we started writing in July 2007, and our readership more than doubled in 2009, to about 27,000 hits per year.

We published six issues of our “Best Practices in Master Data Management” newsletter this year. We publish the newsletter about six times a year to roughly 3,300 subscribers.

I wrote six articles for Information Management magazine, including some popular ones on “Product Information Management Challenges”, how to build a business case for master data management, and how to select the right MDM vendor for your organization. I also wrote for Identity Resolution Daily, on “The Growing Role of Identity Resolution in MDM” and “Matching – MDM’s Secret Sauce”.

With our partner Siperian, we wrote a white paper in August called “When Data Governance Turns Bureaucratic: How Data Governance Police Can Constrain the Value of Your MDM Initiative” that has generated quite a bit of discussion. You can download a copy of it here.

A second white paper, called “Best Practices for Leveraging D&B in Oracle E-Business Suite”, was written in partnership with Dun & Bradstreet. It describes using D&B information to drive better supply chain performance for companies using Oracle E-Business Suite. You can download it here.

I volunteer for the Education Committee of the Oracle Applications Users Group (OAUG). A big part of that effort lies in programming the MDM track for the annual conference. This year, it was in Orlando in May, and I really enjoyed speaking there and seeing people from the Oracle community that I don’t see very often. Here’s a link to my OAUG presentation.

We participated in conference calls with Oracle Development during the year, and ultimately attended the Oracle Fusion “Hands-On Validation & Testing” session for Customer MDM at Oracle headquarters in August. It was a great chance to get some early insights into Oracle’s next major product release and to see the progress Oracle has made in building out its Fusion MDM vision, which is striking in its powerful hub technology and its elegant & productive user interface.

In 2008, we attended the Gartner MDM Summit to decide whether to exhibit there in 2009.  We were impressed enough with the conference that we did exhibit in 2009, in October in Los Angeles. We had a positive experience, so we’ll be a Silver level sponsor in April 2010 in Las Vegas. Since we specialize in MDM and data governance, we find the association with Gartner’s MDM event a powerful one.

I didn’t attend Oracle OpenWorld for the past couple of years, but this year I was glad I did. It was like “old home week”, seeing people from Oracle itself and from the broader Oracle community that I’ve met over the past 15 years. David Butler, Senior Director of MDM Marketing at Oracle, posted my presentation on Oracle’s web site, and said “you were our cleanup hitter and you hit a home run with the bases loaded”.

We also did webinars with our partners Siperian and Initiate Systems. The Siperian webinar covered the differences between MDM platforms like Siperian and ERP platforms like SAP from a master data perspective. The Initiate webinar, with Initiate’s CTO Marty Moseley, discussed developing strong MDM business case, deploying core MDM technologies and lessons learned on the “build vs. buy” question.

Social Networking

After experimenting with social networking in 2008, this year we had a coordinated strategy to use the Hub Designs Blog, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to communicate & collaborate with our clients, potential clients, team members, partners, suppliers, etc.

It’s a pretty simple strategy. Short updates (140 characters or less) go out on Twitter, and are re-published on both LinkedIn and Facebook. Longer updates (i.e. blog articles) are published on the Hub Designs Blog.  We encourage responses and feedback using @replies on Twitter and comments on LinkedIn and Facebook, as well as longer-form comments on the blog. And we get them – almost every blog article gets at least one comment, sometimes as many as a dozen.

When a new blog article comes out, we notify everyone via a single update on Twitter. What’s amazing is that during 2009, social networking now drives about 15% of the Hub Designs Blog’s total traffic. And one of our clients gave us some good feedback that our social networking activities help her stay current on what we’re up to, and help her feel connected to us as a company.

Another social networking experiment that developed further in 2009 was the MDM Community.  We started this using Ning (a “social network in a box”) in November 2008, out of frustration with LinkedIn’s “Group” functionality.  It now has more than 210 members, from 23 different countries. It’s still a work in progress, but if you’re interested in master data management or data governance, you should check it out at http://mdmcommunity.ning.com. It’s becoming an international “who’s who” of the MDM world.

Summary of Client Projects

In case you think the Hub Designs team has been doing nothing but marketing, writing white papers and magazine articles, speaking at conferences, and volunteering for user groups, here’s a summary of our 2009 client projects:

  1. Technology provider for vehicle dealers: integration of Oracle E-Business Suite with D&B data
  2. Payroll services company: integration of Oracle E-Business Suite with external credit information
  3. Information services company: technical support for customers using Oracle E-Business Suite
  4. Legal information services company: readiness assessment and product MDM strategy & design
  5. Simulation and engineering software company: advisor to data governance board
  6. Manufacturer of oil and gas equipment: integration of Oracle E-Business Suite R12 with D&B
  7. Software company: built connector between Oracle AR and D&B’s DNBi risk management solution
  8. Technology company: customer MDM strategy workshop

Out With The Old, In With The New

This past year has been a lot of fun, but it has also been somewhat exhausting. So I’m looking forward to a bit more deliberate pace in 2010.

We’re very excited about the coming year at Hub Designs. We’ve got some great projects underway and in the pipeline, and we’ll be continuing to grow and expand to meet our clients’ needs and market demands.

In closing, I’d like to say how grateful I am to my family, for their patience with my traveling so much and for their unconditional love.

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