Data Management Event: co-hosted event on modern-day data management

Data Management Event: co-hosted event on modern-day data management

6 March, Tilburg University in the Netherlands

Van Haren Publishing and their partners Aranea, Vijfhart, Strategy Alliance, and the Tilburg University co-hosted an event on modern-day data management. The goal of this event was to lay the foundations of a new community of interested professionals in data management by sharing thoughts and visions on modern-day data management topics. A portion of the event centered around the book launch of the new publication “Data Management – a Gentle Introduction” by Bas van Gils.

The following is a snippet of the event and what our take-away was and where it will lead us to next. Written by: Maurits van der Plas, Director Van Haren Learning Solutions

About the event

This event was organized because all the co-hosts agree that the data management market is quickly evolving. Suppliers of management education feel that it is time to bring current awareness of the market (and thus knowledge) to a higher level. Bas van Gils is on a personal mission to empower the data management world by making it more fun and accessible, so he wrote a book to bring more awareness to the market. The idea of the event was to have it act like a facilitator to make the next step possible, meaning bringing the data management community together and encouraging them to move forward from here on out.


The event started at noon with participants registering themselves and picking up their name tags. At first glance, it became quickly apparent that there was a high level of data management knowledge at the event. Several data management consultancies, practitioners, and representatives from several different universities were in attendance. 

In the end, there were close to over one hundred data management experts who participated in the event despite the real fear of the COVID-19 virus. Chairman of the event was Marco van der Winden of PGGM, who introduced all the speakers and sessions and ensured that the whole event unfolded smoothly. 

Keynote Hans Weigand Head Lector Data Tilburg University

At 12:30 p.m, Hans Weigand, Head Lector Data from Tilburg University kicked off the day’s events. As first guest speaker of the day, he elaborated on why data management is so complicated. He also emphasized that the sheer volume of data nowadays is making the job more difficult for data managers these days. Subjects such as data quality, data mining, the different ontology layers, and various philosophies were all touched on during his talk. 

Parallel Consultancy Session

After Hans Weigand’s talk, the event was split into two parallel sessions where people were asked to engage with one another in discussions on various topics. The first parallel session was Parallel Education – “What’s the Consultancy Track” and was led by Bas van Gils, Andre Veelders, Mark Drost, and Rick Tijsterman. Together with the data management market participants, they brainstormed and came up with guiding principles on what a data measurement game could look like. It was agreed that specifics would be worked out in more detail in future follow-up sessions, hopefully resulting in a new data management game. 

Parallel Education Session

The second parallel session was Parallel Education – “What can we learn from the industry?” and was initially scheduled to be hosted by Raymond Slot and Patrick van de Geest. Sadly, Patrick couldn’t attend the event at the last moment, and so Maurits van der Plas (myself) jumped in to help with moderating the second part of the Parallel Education session. 

During this session, we had four (4) speakers who hosted round tables. We gave all the participants of the round tables three main questions to ask which would later on be discussed during the panel discussion at the end of the session. The speakers each presented a case from their particular industry so that participants could see firsthand the influence of data management and the supportive role that education could provide to support issues that might occur in these industries. 

The goal of this session was to collect broad intel from the industry on what should be part of an (professional) educational program. Questions asked were what is currently going wrong, what is going right, and what could help make the difference for the future regarding data management? 

Speakers from different industries where:
– Annick Verweyen, Founder of Matter of Fact powered by KBC, who focused on the importance of data and how to convince the organization to invest in it now!
– Thierry de Vries Co-Founder of Bammboo, who touched on Data Driven Marketing.
– Mats Ouburg, Enterprise Data Advisor, who looked at the role of management in data, as opposed to only focusing on the role of data which is where often the current emphasis is being placed on. 
– Alexander van der Plas, Operational Manager of DSV (a large logistic company collecting vast amounts of data) rounded up the session by covering where to start when it comes to data management. . 

Any conclusions and visions that came out of the discussions in all of the parallel sessions were collected. These will help serve as input for a follow up meeting on how data management education professionals can set up an education track, which could then be in turn supported by the Data Management Community. 

Keynote Bas van Gils

After the parallel sessions, there was a short coffee break which ended with the second keynote speaker, Bas van Gils, taking the stage. Bas focused on what had motivated him to write a book about the need for consumable and practical guidance in data management. 

In his presentation, Bas gave real-life examples of where proper data management could be used as a key differentiator in business. He used the Syrian bombing accident as an example where often data is blamed for the number of casual civilians killed. Yet as Bas mentioned, data didn’t have anything to do with it given that data is not a form of action. Instead the focus should have been on the data collection, analysis, or management of that data. As more often than not, this is where things goes wrong.

After his introduction, Bas went into some core data management methods such as a business  IT alignment model by Henderson & Venkatraman and he compared it to the Van Maes Modal. The focus was on the importance of having a vision with data management. Data’s real value lies with the person and his or her situation, and not on the data directly itself. However the question remains how an organisation benefits from using or having access to this relevant data? 

Data management: “Is the capability for managing data an asset?” 

In this segment, Bas showed us the Dallemule & Davenport 2017 model which displays a graph that embodies the decision an organization needs to take on whether to put its efforts into either data management activities OR value creation with data. And how this is the main challenge for every organisation. For example, if you are a private organisation you may want to focus more on the value. While if your organization is government-owned and has a lot of citizen data protecting, managing, and securing this data may be of higher importance. Then this what will need more of your time and full attention. The value creation of that data may actually be in fact managing and security, in that case. Bas explained that this balance is the essence that every organisation should (and needs to) decide for themselves, and which naturally will continuously shift or change over time.

Successful data management requires an offense and defense tactic. Bas highlighted the importance of a community grounded in practice and how events such as these are crucial.  The ultimate goal then is to facilitate practical education through the use of gaming, training, and certification. 

First copy give away – Ivo van Haren

After Bas, Ivo van Haren took the stage to emphasize that community-driven best practice is the only beneficial way to make a movement happen and to ensure its success. He also explained that several people had already decided to invest in the publication of this subject. 

After telling a funny anecdote about how we tend to perceive things, Ivo handed over the first two copies of the book to Bas – his second son – and Stijn Hoppenbrouwers (Professor Data & Knowledge Engineering at the University of Applied Science in Arnhem and Nijmegen). 

Book signing

The event was then rounded off with a book signing giving everyone the chance to obtain a copy of the book and have it signed by Bas van Gils. Drinks were enjoyed while many participants lingered to talk about the success of the event with other colleagues and participants.  

What will be next

As mentioned several times, the intention of the event was to start a community that would focus on enriching the world of data management. Together with the co-hosts, we will be organising several follow up sessions where topics and ideas in education, gaming, and certification will be followed up on. In the meantime, we will be looking into how to best set-up and facilitate this growing community further. 

Stay tuned to hear what’s coming next!    

Author: Bas van Gils
Hardcopy: 9789401805506
eBook: 9789401805520
€54.45 Incl. Tax

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