Conferences – an opportunity to network, learn, and reboot

By Daragh O Brien
September 15, 2014
13min read

The last quarter of every year is a busy one for Castlebridge Associates and Information Quality/Data Governance professionals around the world. The Autumn (Fall) conference season is upon us.

Conferences are often seen as junkets or luxuries by organisations, but after almost over almost two decades of attending Information Quality and Data Governance conferences around the world, I think there is a critical element that is often missed when weighing up the go/no go decision: the Therapy and Education value that comes from leaving your organisation where few people understand you and get it and immersing yourself for a few days in Deep Data to recharge your mental batteries.

In this post, I want to look at a number of upcoming conferences and sing their praises.

Conferences we wish we were at

For the past number of years I’ve attended the annual conference of the International Association for Information & Data Quality (IAIDQ) in various cities around the US. I found it a great experience and a great opportunity to connect at the cutting edge of Information Quality and Data Governance thinking in the US. I made a number of good friends and contacts at these conferences. Which is why I’m regretting getting double booked in early October (see below) as I’d love to get to the IDQSummit, the IAIDQ’s conference in Richmond Virgina this year. It looks like it will be a blast!

Where else would you find a keynote presentation from Honest Abe Lincoln, extolling the role of Information technology and quality information in the Union win in the Civil War? Add to that keynotes from rising stars like Alex Borek and Alan Duncan and established thought leaders like Danette McGilvray (one of my personal mentors and a strong influence on how I think about and do Information quality for and with clients), Anne Marie Smith, Dave Marco and Bill Inmon.

This conference features two Expert Panels.

  • The first is sponsored by Castlebridge Associates and deals with the importance of defintions in Data Quality and Data Governance, with a nod to a certain swordfighter from a certain movie (no, not Zorro).
  • The second is sponsored by Data Blueprint and looks at the thorny issues of Ethics in Information Quality and Data Governance.

The full conference programme can be found here: .

And for anyone who thinks data conferences are boring, the IDQ Summit has two amazing innovations:

  • A fancy dress conference dinner for delegates – the Banquet of 1862
  • A jam session featuring local musicians lead by the inimitable Peter Aiken (See picture below of Daragh – lead guitar and Peter – on bass jamming at EDW14)

To register for the IDQSummit, CLICK HERE!!

Darahg & Peter Aiken jamming at EDW14

Conferences we will be at

Castlebridge Associates is hosting the IGQIE2014 conference in Dublin in November. This conference aims to “Connect the Dots” between Data Protection law and Data Governance and Information Quality practice and features a unique mix of speakers spanning law, Data Governance, Data Quality and Information Strategy.

Speakers include:

  • Jan Hendryckx
  • Sue Geuens
  • Joy Medved
  • Fergal Crehan
  • Daragh O Brien

Full Conference details can be found on the IGQ.IE website.



Daragh has been attending the IRMUK EDBI conference since its early incarnation as the Data Management and Information Quality Conferences almost a decade and a half ago. Daragh is teaching two classes at EDBI this year, one in collaboration with Joy Medved.

Details of EDBI can be found here:

Every year EDBI is an opportunity to reconnect and learn from some of the leading innovators in the fields of Information Management and Business intelligence. It’s not to be missed.

Belgian Data Quality Association

Daragh is attending and keynoting at the Belgian Data Quality Association’s Data Qualty Congress in Belgium on the 9th of October.

Details of that event can be found here

So why go to conferences?

Deming was adamant that organisations and individuals needed to engage in “vigorous self-improvement”. Going to a data quality or data governance conference, in my experience, is a great way to see what ideas fly like eagles and what ideas fall like anvils. More importantly it is a great way to build a strong personal network of like minded people, connect with professional bodies and opportunities for formal certification and skills training, and (dare I say it) engage in some group therapy with your peers.

That’s the recipe that kept me relatively sane for over a decade working on information quality and data governance activities in an organisation that dared not speak those words. When I couldn’t find peers inside the organisation to bounce ideas of and to help validate my thinking, I found them at a conference.

However, it’s important to remember that “this one time, at band camp” is a great way to preserve anonymity of your organisation when sharing case studies.

Go. Visit new places, meet new people, learn new things. That’s what conferences are for!

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