Talend – Implementation in the ‘real world’: what is this blog all about?
Let me introduce myself: My name is Adam Pemble and I am a Principal Professional Services Consultant based in the UK. My area of expertise is MDM (Master Data Management), along with the related disciplines of DI (Data Integration or what was traditionally known as ETL – Extract Transform Load) and DQ (Data Quality).
Now a little background: Talend has four main grades of consultant: Analyst, Consultant, Senior and Principal, with each grade bringing different levels of experience, technical knowledge and of course different price points. I have been with Talend for around four and a half years now, starting as a consultant (the first consultant in the UK team!) and working my way up. Before that, I worked for a competitor for three and a half years as an Analyst, then Consultant. I have two main roles: consulting for Talend customers and what we call ‘practice contribution’ – business development, defining best practices, training our consultants etc. When I am not consulting, I like to race cars – sponsored by Talend!
So why am I telling you this?
A little while ago I was asked by the Talend management team to start writing a blog for the website. I was given a free reign to write about anything I liked (except cars – sadly). When I looked through the blogs and the bloggers that we already have on the site I realised that many of my colleagues were already doing a really good job of writing about the marketplace, the challenges faced by organisations, and where the industry is heading. All great stuff indeed, but as an MDM practitioner, in particular I’d recommend reading the blogs of Mark http://www.talend.com/blogger/mark-balkenende, Christophe http://www.talend.com/blog/ctoum, Sebastiao http://www.talend.com/blogger/sebastiao-correia and Jean-Michel http://www.talend.com/blogger/jean-michel-franco).
Given that I like to pick my own “lane” (pun intended), I thought I should use my blog to discuss real-world problems and use cases, as well as provide some practical examples of how these may be overcome. I thought this type of content might also serve to augment some of the other information we make available to current and potential customers such as documentation, training, forums etc. that focuses on the ‘how’ to do something, but not necessarily the ‘when?’ and ‘why?’.
Let’s think about how most DI / DQ / MDM developers begin their journey with Talend. The practical reality is that if you have a decent sized project, your company will have chosen one of our Enterprise or Platform products. As a developer you may have been involved in the pre-sales process, but this is not a given. Perhaps you might have even downloaded and used one of the Talend Open Studio products, which was the catalyst for your company considering the purchase (if this is the case, and not that I am biased, well done!) Perhaps there is a Systems Integrator / partner involved in your project that you will work alongside or maybe you have your own development team. You may have used another DI tool in the past, perhaps worked extensively with Databases, or come from a coding background. Then again, maybe none of the above fits your particular situation. The truth is everyone starts at a different level and progresses at different speeds – this is only natural. Perhaps some people in your company think that Talend solves all their problems with no thought / effort required (encouraged by our marketing team I am sure). However, as practitioners, we know the reality is not quite as simple. What are the key factors in delivering a successful DI / DQ / MDM project?
- The right tools (aka Talend!)
- The right people at the right time – technical and business experts
- Best practices / standards
- Analysis / Requirements / Design (i.e. a methodology which delivers results)
- Realistic expectations
All this can be rather daunting - so where do we begin?
The Talend training courses are a great place to start – incidentally, if you opt for an Instructor led course, this may be your first interaction with someone from our Professional Services team. The courses are a great first step that will put you on your way, but Talend is a powerful solution with a lot of depth, so mastering it will take time. Of course the disciplines of DI / DQ / MDM are complex, so no matter your background, it will take time and hands-on experience to be able to build truly ‘production-quality’ logic. I can’t quantify how long this will take because everyone is different (the quickest learners tend to be experienced practitioners who have used similar tools), but you are not alone as there are numerous resources available to you, some of which I have mentioned already.
You should also consider utilising our Professional Services consultants – most customers use us for architecture design and installation of Talend, but we can also help mentor you through the development journey. We live and breathe the tool on a daily basis and have been through the project lifecycle many times. In most cases, we will have implemented something similar before (not always though and we love a challenge!). No one Talend consultant is an expert in all Talend products as the platform is too big for one person to know everything. Given this, we tend to specialise – for example I only deal with our ESB and Big Data products at a high level – MDM, DI and DQ are my specialisms. Regardless of your needs though, I can guarantee we have staff on hand that can help.
My hope is that my blog entries can be a practical guide to real-world problems using Talend, and that it will give you a little more insight into the way we work in Talend Professional Services.
Thanks for reading!
Next time: A practical guide to Data Quality Matching.