Tag Archives: kalido

Magnitude/Kalido Webinar Review: Automated and Agile, New Principles for Data Warehousing

I watched a webinar yesterday. It was sponsored by Magnitude, the company that is the result of combining Kalido and Noetix. The speakers were Ralph Hughes, a data warehousing consultant operating as Ceregenics, and John Evans of Magnitude.

Ralph Hughes’ portion of the presentation was very interesting in a great way. Rather than talking about the generalities of enterprise data warehouses (EDW) and Agile, he was the rare presenter who discussed things clearly and in enough detail for coherent thought. It was refreshing to hear more than the usually tap dance.

Webinar - Magnitude - Ceregenics slide

Ralph’s slide on the advantages of agile development for EDW’s is simple and clear. The point is that you don’t know everything when you first acquire requirements and then design a system. In the waterfall approach, much of coding, testing and usage is wasted time as you find out you need to do extra work for new requirements that pop up. Agile allows business users to quickly see concepts and rethink their approaches, saving both time to some productivity and overall time and effort of development.

After talking about agile for a bit, he pointed out that it does save some time but still leaves lots of basic work to do. He then shifted to discuss Kalido as a way to automate some of the EDW development tasks in order to save even more time. He used more of his presentation to describe how he’s used the tool at clients to speed up creation of data warehouses.

One thing he did better in voice than on slides was to point out that automation in EDW doesn’t mean replacing IT staff. Rather, appropriately used, it allows developers to move past the repetitive tasks and focus on working with the business users to ensure that key data is encapsulated into the EDW so business intelligence can be done. Another key area he said automation can’t do well is to manage derived tables. That still requires developers to extract information, create the processes for creating the tables, then moving the tables back into the EDW to, again, enhance BI.

Notice that while Mr. Hughes spoke to the specifics of creating EDWs, he always presented them in context of getting information out. Many technical folks spend too much time focused on what it takes to build the EDW, not why it’s being build. His reminders were again key.

John Evans’ presentation was brief, as I always like to see from the vendors, rounding out what his guest speaker said. He had three main points.

First, the three main issues facing IT in the market are: Time to value, time to respond to change and total cost of ownership. No surprise, he discussed how Magnitude can address those.

Second, within his architecture slide, he focused on metadata and what he said was strong support for master data and metadata management. Given the brief time allotted, it was allusion to the strengths, but the fact that he spoke to it was a good statement of the company’s interests.

Third, he discussed the typical customer stories and how much time the products saved.


The webinar was very good exposure to concepts for an audience thinking about how to move forward in data warehousing, whether to build EDWs or maintain them. How agile development and an automation tool can help IT better focus on business issues and more quickly provide business benefit was a story told well.

Kalido: A solution in search of the message?

I had the fortune to see Kalido presentations twice in two days. First, was the Qlik road show event on Thursday and second was the Boulder BI Brain Trust call on Friday.

Kalido provides a streamlined way to create and manage data warehouses. The key seems to be a strong data modeler linked to the engine, providing a more graphical way to define processes and link that to the automatic creation of the physical data layers and data warehousing management. According to their case studies, the result is a significant savings in time to deploy and manage warehouses. As they pointed out in the BBBT presentation, the deployment savings is a clear and compelling argument but the longer term saving in ongoing operational costs is one they haven’t yet successfully attacked.

That ties in to the issue of their major message to the Qlik audience and on their web site: “No ETL!” As anyone who understands their technology knows, and as they pointed out in their BBBT presentation, ETL is one component of their solution. The presenter on Thursday tried to claim it’s not ETL, it’s ELT, because they use a temporary data store to more quickly extract information from operational systems, but that’s not going to cut it. ETL is still performed even if in a slightly different order. IT people will understand that and laugh at the claim while most BI business users won’t know what that means and the rest won’t care as it’s not a major concern to those people trying to get information out of the warehouse.

Operational costs matter to both IT and the business line managers. As many IT centers internally “bill” divisions for costs, that will still have an impact and matter to both sides more than a specious ETL message.

More importantly, the ability to change your business model and have it rapidly be reflected in the data warehouse is of strong value to the decision makers. The ability to eliminate 6-9 months of rework before a change is done only to see the changes now be out of date has a clear and compelling message for business decision makers. The ability to rapidly satisfy business users in changing markets while using less IT resources is valuable to the IT organization.

So why does the message seem to be missing a great market focus opportunity? One possible answer is found on their executive team page. Rather, it’s what’s not found. A company that wants to leave the startup phase and address a wider market would do well to emphasize marketing with the same importance as engineering and professional services. Products aren’t enough, you have to create messages that address what interest stakeholders. Kalido seems to have a very good product, but they aren’t yet able to create messages to address the wider market.