I wouldn't hesitate in recommending erwin, that's for sure. It’s an easy-to-use, comprehensive modeling tool.
An important government agency needed a way to ensure all data structures built within their data warehouse maintained consistency. They required a solution that would streamline production of data structures and enforce standards.
The government agency had set up a team of specialist data modelers to assist with the data modeling requirements in their Teradata environment. The department already had the erwin solution installed but its adoption within the data warehouse environment was a major expansion of its use. Several members of the team had extensive knowledge of erwin Data Modeler by Quest. With erwin features, automation and standards enforcement, they were able to ensure consistency of data models within their data warehouse data modeling environment. By centralizing data modeling through the erwin solution, the government agency ensured the data models developed for the data warehouse were consistent and well controlled.
As a lead data modeler at the government agency explained, “erwin Data Modeler enforces consistency across the solutions. Without erwin, you could have developers implement 50 tables with one set of naming standards, and someone else producing a different 50 tables in a different database with a totally different set of naming standards. By making everybody go through a centralized modeling function and using erwin and its naming standards capability, we can enforce consistency across the warehouse. We can also enforce various standards about how tables are structured.”
With erwin Data Modeler in place, the government agency gained an easy way to find, visualize, design, deploy and standardize high-quality enterprise data assets. This was extremely important, as the number of data modelers working for the agency fluctuated greatly over the years. Simplifying processes was critical for meeting demands with fewer resources. As the agency begins to scale up again, the centralization and consistency the erwin data modeling solution provides will continue to pay off. And that’s great news, as the benefits of data modeling are gaining traction.
Data modeling is experiencing a comeback, as more organizations rediscover the value of aligning data structures with business requirements. “People on the ground always knew that the data models themselves were useful,” a lead data modeler at the government agency said. “But what they couldn't really come to grips with is the amount of time it might take to come up with a model that was going to be accurate and really beneficial to them.”
At many organizations, methodologies that emphasized speed had replaced the focus on taking time to build solid foundations, which increased cybersecurity risks and other issues. Now, organizations are seeking a better balance, and data modeling solutions that streamline and accelerate processes, such as erwin Data Modeler, are fuelling that change.
“I think the people we had the most trouble convincing were upper management. But now, with data breaches, emphasis is coming back around to data governance and data management,” the agency’s data modeler said. “If enough people say enough times, ‘Oh, wouldn't it be good if we had a data model and knew what had happened to this data with data lineage and that sort of information,’ then the senior managers listen. I see a resurgence in interest in that.” And while the data modeling resurgence is growing, hiring data modelers has been challenging.
“It is really hard to find data modelers, though. It’s really difficult,” the agency’s data modeler explained. “If you put an advertisement out there for data modelers, you get a variety of people applying, but very few of them are actual data modelers. You just have to have skills.” That’s where erwin Data Modeler can help.
The government agency has been able to weather fluctuations in staffing, thanks to the automation erwin provides. “erwin is set up to automate a lot of processes,” they said. “We could consistently generate DDL, for example, for a release, which defines the tables and so forth. erwin Data Modeler would generate that DDL in a very, very consistent fashion and in a fashion that meets the standards expected within the organization for releasing a production artifact. Now that was set up using automated template functionality that's available within erwin. That really allows us to very quickly regenerate documentation, DDL, release scripts and data model reports without us having to do everything manually.”
In addition, “The automation was straightforward. We might have to change five tables, generate three views over each table, but the way we've got it automated, once you've changed the tables in the logical layout, then everything else just automatically flows through.” Thanks to erwin automation, new and experienced data modelers can easily perform maintenance tasks and ensure consistency.
The automation erwin Data Modeler provides comes with another benefit: confidence. As their data modeler explained, “I think once people are used to seeing the output from the data model in a certain fashion, the fact that it's consistent every time they ask for change and they get another version and it looks more or less the same as it did last time, but with their minor change, and they're not seeing mistakes, because all of this is picked up and automated in the tool, that lends a lot of credence to the whole process. It gives people confidence in the tool and in the people that are using the tool that they can actually rely on them to produce consistent, high-quality and thorough deliverables, whether that be the data model, DDL or a data dictionary. The automation in erwin Data Modeler is quite important for us, especially when we’re down to a very small team.” And it’s not just the business that appreciates all these benefits, it’s the data modelers, too.
One of the new data modelers the government agency recently hired had used erwin Data Modeler in the past. “They joined us from a previous engagement where they had actually brought erwin onboard as the chosen modeling tool because they had used it before. So, people who use erwin are very comfortable. They go to a new workplace and if it doesn't have erwin, they recommend it.”
When their peers have had to work without erwin Data Modeler, they’ve found it challenging, noting that other data modeling tools lack the functionality erwin provides. “From what I've heard, you might find yourself thinking, ‘I wish it did that, like erwin. And when you come back to erwin, you go, ‘I wish the other tool had done that,’” they said, confirming the value erwin delivers.
They also noted that erwin provides unrivalled support for their environment. “We've got Rational Architect within the department. At one stage, it looked as if the decree was that everybody had to use that. And we pushed back very, very strongly on that because another thing we love erwin for is its Teradata support. In erwin, the Teradata support is excellent. We're also generating for DB2, so the support is there for that as well. This tool works perfectly for us within our environment.”
They were also impressed with the metadata integration bridge. “I do remember when that was introduced; that was a big step forward. It allowed us to more or less talk between different platforms, different modeling tools, so we could bring the metadata from one modeling tool into erwin and vice versa, push it out. So that was great.” While the platform support and key functionality have been invaluable to the government agency, they also appreciate the simplicity of erwin Data Modeler.
As data growth and demands continue to increase, having a data modeling solution that streamlines and simplifies tasks is critical for maximizing the value of data, and that’s where erwin Data Modeler shines. “erwin Data Modeler is very, very easy to use. The interface is very user friendly. I find it's easy to access help from the tool as well. It actually takes you directly to the erwin online Knowledge Base where you can get a lot of really interesting information,” they said.
Having a data modeling solution that provides built-in help, powerful automation, data modeling consistency, platform support and unrivalled functionality has made their job enjoyable. “I’ve been around a long time and seen a lot of changes. I really enjoy the data modeling side of things. I think it's a very effective way of communicating between the business and the technical people. Both sides can truly get value out of the data modeling process. So, I really enjoyed that aspect of it,” they said, and erwin Data Modeler is a big part of that. “I wouldn't hesitate in recommending erwin, that's for sure. It’s an easy-to-use, comprehensive modeling tool.”
And they can’t wait to see what erwin will do next. “Certainly, the rapid rollout of the new versions is incredible,” they added. With more powerful functionality coming with each release, there’s no doubt they will continue to elevate data modeling at the government agency.