Where did the data modeling community go?

Make no mistake, there is a data modeling community out there. Data modeling remains an integral piece of many development methodologies. The modelers of data may not fit the same vision of a data architect as the old timers know it. There is a community of technologists, maybe some not so technical, that design and architect data solutions. These all define the data modeling community.

I have been president of the Modeling Global User Community (MGUC), the CA Technologies ERwin data modeling user community, for the past four years. The CA Technologies model for user communities is traditional. Regional user communities meeting face to face with the MGUC supporting regional communities while offering global ERwin users a virtual ERwin user community.

There is no question that the data modeling community is in the midst of change; change that goes beyond the makeup of our membership. ERwin community members face uncertainty with the upcoming acquisition of the product by Embarcadero Technologies. There has been a move over the years to more virtual communities with the increase in social networking options. The number of and frequency of face to face user community meetings is falling.

As MGUC President, I can address the ERwin user concerns with Embarcadero Technologies. At this time, the user community continues to function as usual under CA Technologies guidance with the acquisition remaining in progress. I have no insider knowledge of what is going on with the acquisition and no knowledge of how user communities will function under Embarcadero. I find it highly unlikely that the ERwin user community will disappear under the new owners. It can function independently if needed with no vendor support.

Regional face to face community meetings will continue to exist. There are times when in person networking and meetings are more effective than virtual meetings. The number and frequency of these meetings will continue to decrease as more in the data modeling community become comfortable with social networking and virtual meetings.

The virtual data modeling community is going to grow. Web based technologies are enabling more and better social interaction. It offers many benefits that are not available in the regional user community meetings. There is a larger diverse audience that possesses diverse skillsets. Participants can get immediate feedback from fellow community members. The convenience of participating in the office or home enables greater involvement.

The primary issue that faces the data modeling community is the embracing of virtual communities. The majority of data architects are hesitant to actively participate in these communities. There are almost no bloggers, tweeters or active community members in the primary social networks. The modeling community needs to reach a critical mass where their participation adds great value to the social networks.

Where did the data modeling community go? It has never disappeared. It may take on a different form. The real question is “Where are the modelers of data?” There are communities out there, many are virtual and many are no longer meeting in a hotel conference room. Data architects must go out and seek these communities. They must be willing to adapt their concept of community. This change needs to include active participation in social networks.

Tom Bilcze

I am presenting at Data Modeling Zone 2014 in Portland, Oregon. I hope that you will join me in my sessions: Is your data model a work of art? and Relationship versatility and the data modeler #DMzone

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5 Comments
  1. Interesting posting. We really have multiple communities, often siloed around a particular tool or tool suite and even a single methodology. Consider whether this draws from modeling being a creative activity where individualists rigidly adhere to those practices they like. We have a long way to go before we can claim to be a profession or even a data specialty.

    • My hope is that a stronger community emerges with the two big players coming closer together. There are so many common issues and much information to be shared. Tool specifics could be handled under a SIG concept. Mark, you are correct. The modeling community needs to invest in itself to be stronger and better.

    • Anne, I suspect this would be quite a list. There are many LinkedIn data groups. ERwin.com has links to the CA Technologies ERwin communities. Maybes good starting point would be for each of us to shout out in the comments here what our favorite data communities are.

  2. Pingback: Dangling Relationships | Some flavors of the data modeling community

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