TDWI Best Practices Award: Recognition for Innovative Big Data, Business Intelligence, Data Warehousing, and Analytics Implementations

Have you completed a big data, data warehouse, business intelligence, data management, or analytics implementation that you think other organizations could learn from? Would you like some recognition for your accomplishment? Are you a vendor or consultant with successful customers who deserve recognition?

If the answer is "yes" to any of these questions, then you should consider submitting an application for a TDWI Best Practices Award. Once a year, TDWI collects award applications, judges them, and gives awards in 10 data-related categories (listed below).

By early January 2016, we will finalize the categories, post all important dates and deadlines, and begin accepting applications!

The Purpose of the Awards

TDWI's Best Practices Awards program is designed to identify and honor companies that have demonstrated best practices in developing, deploying, and maintaining applications for business intelligence (BI), data warehousing (DW), and related data management (DM) areas (like data integration, data quality, and master data management). We also grant awards for innovative organizational structures, emerging technologies, and creative funding, as they apply to BI, DW, DM, and analytics. Winners are chosen by a panel of independent judges who have expertise in the field. Judges select winners from written applications and, if needed, follow-up interviews. They score entries on business value, maturity, innovation, and relevance to other organizations.

Selected Winners Will Receive

  • Recognition from TDWI, the industry's leading professional association for all things data with thousands of members worldwide.
  • An invitation to attend and be recognized at an award ceremony held at the TDWI Conference in San Diego.
  • A free pass to the conference where awards are presented.
  • Publication of their project in Best of TDWI, an online magazine which is distributed to BI professionals throughout the world, and the Business Intelligence Journal, which is distributed to TDWI Premium Members.
  • A project summary page on TDWI's website that contains links to the organization's homepage (includes sponsor logo and website link, if applicable).
  • Recognition in TDWI press release about the Best Practices Awards.
  • Opportunity to speak at a TDWI Conference or other events (at TDWI's discretion).
  • Company name on signage at the TDWI Conference announcing Best Practices Awards winners.

Applicant Eligibility Requirements

Eligible applicants are any private or public company, government agency, or non-profit organization, which has implemented a BI/DW/DM implementation to enhance organizational decision making or operations. Applicants may nominate themselves for this award, or their solution vendor may nominate them. If you are a solution vendor, you may only nominate yourself if you are submitting an internal implementation that involves more than implementing your own product. Otherwise, you should be listed as a solution sponsor.
Organizations may apply in no more than two categories, and must submit a separate application for each category, where each application is tailored to its category. Companies that submitted entries last year (but were not chosen) may enter again, but applications must be updated for the current year and resubmitted. Winners from a previous year may submit an entry for a new or different BI/DW/DM application.

Judging Criteria

A team of judges composed of TDWI staff and faculty members will evaluate the entries using the following criteria:

  • Business Impact. What is the business value of the BI/DW/DM initiative?
  • Maturity. To what degree has the solution's vision been implemented? Has the solution been operating long enough to corroborate business impact and growth?
  • Relevance. Does the BI/DW/DM solution exemplify best practices that other companies can adopt?
  • Innovation. Does the BI/DW/DM solution use an innovative design or approach? Innovation can relate to technology, business, organization, methodology, and so on.


Best Practices Awards Winners. TDWI may declare multiple winners per category if multiple entries merit recognition. TDWI may also decline to declare a winner if the judges feel none of the entrants in that category represent a laudable best practice. Below are the 2015 categories, 2016 categories may differ.


  • Big Data Technologies. One of the most influential trends in BI, DW, DM, and analytics is to apply these disciplines to so-called "big data." TDWI is eager to hear from organizations that are working with various types of big data, especially data from Web applications, social media, machines, sensors, devices, grids, surveillance equipment, and geospatial systems. Also of interest are the new platforms that help manage big data, such as the Hadoop family of products, MapReduce, BigTable, and NoSQL databases. Some types of big data stream in real time, so TDWI is equally interested in users that manage streaming data with technologies for event processing, messaging, and operational intelligence.
  • Enterprise Data Warehousing. The enterprise data warehouse (EDW) delivers a consistent set of data for the entire organization. The EDW is the sole source of integrated, atomic, and historical information that the organization uses to drive key analytical and operational processes. The EDW enables the business to work in an efficient, coordinated fashion since all users and applications work off the same set of information and rules.
  • Performance Management. Business performance management (BPM) applications translate top-level strategy and goals into measures, metrics, and key performance indicators (KPIs) specific to every level of the organization. The applications then measure performance against those goals and provide timely information so users can act to change outcomes before it's too late. Organizations use dashboards, scorecards, data visualization, BI mash-ups, and BI portals to monitor the degree to which they are achieving key strategic objectives and goals.
  • Enterprise BI. Enterprise BI delivers information and insights to all users in an organization. But rather than provide a "one size fits all" approach, enterprise BI tailors the delivery and content of information to meets the unique requirements of different groups of users, from executives and managers to business analysts and power users to customers and suppliers. Organizations typically standardize on a variety of BI tools to deliver enterprise BI. Sometimes these tool sets all come from a single vendor with a comprehensive BI platform; in other cases, the tools come from a variety of vendors whose capabilities uniquely mirror organizational requirements.
  • Right-Time BI and Analytics. Traditional BI solutions provide users with historical data collected in a batch process on a monthly, weekly, or nightly basis. Now, companies are delivering data to users for tactical and operational decisions hourly, in real time (near instantaneous), or some other "right time." Some organizations are updating their data warehouses or operational data stores using trickle-feed or micro-batch techniques; others are querying operational systems directly using data federation tools. Whatever the technique, operational BI, operational analytics, operational intelligence, real-time DW, event processing, data services, and other right time solutions help business users get information in a more timely fashion so they can work more proactively.
  • Organizational Structures. The "re-org" of BI, DW, DM, and analytics is driven by a need to adapt to changing business requirements, like compliance, risk, security, privacy, collaboration, business integration, and IT-to-business alignment. TDWI members and others ensure the success of their programs for BI, DW, DM, and analytics by supporting them with evolving organizational structures and team compositions. These include data governance boards, BI governance boards, data stewardship programs, steering committees, centers of excellence, competency centers, and innovative twists on traditional teams for BI, DW, DM, and analytics.
  • Enterprise Data Management Strategies. The data that goes into solutions for BI and DW is only as good as the data management solutions that collect, aggregate, and improve the data. The same is true of many operational and transactional applications. Whether for BI/DW or operational systems, enterprise data management strategies involve a long list of disciplines: data integration, data quality, data profiling, master data management (MDM), event processing, database administration, and many more. TDWI is interested in uses of these and other DM disciplines that push the envelope with real-time operation, system interoperability, multi-structured data types, and very large data volumes. Equally of interest are organizations that coordinate data standards, governance, and team productivity across multiple DM disciplines, as well as innovations in data architecture.
  • BI on a Limited Budget. Many organizations face considerable financial constraints when building environments for BI, DW, DM, and analytics. This requires project sponsors and managers to come up with clever ways to stretch a limited budget to deliver real and sustained value to the organization. It also often requires setting realistic goals, rolling out functionality in a phased approach, and evangelizing and selling the organization on the value of BI, DW, DM, and analytics at every opportunity.
  • Analytics. Online analytic processing (OLAP) is the most common form of analytics today, and will continue to be so. However, TDWI wants to hear from organizations that have gone beyond OLAP and reporting into advanced forms of analytics, namely those based on data mining, statistical analysis, predictive techniques, artificial intelligence, text analytics, and natural language processing. Analytic applications based on these commonly support fraud detection, risk quantification, customer-base segmentation, cross-sell recommendations, automotive part failures, illegal trafficking, insider trading, and questionable accounting practices.
  • Emerging Technologies and Methods.  This category is a catch-all for the many new techniques that are gaining acceptance in BI, DW, DM, and analytics, including agile BI, lean development, cloud computing, software-as-a-service (SaaS), text analytics, Hadoop, MapReduce, data virtualization, open source software, Web 2.0, social media, data visualization, BI mash-ups, mobile BI, self-service BI, and geospatial data. TDWI wants to hear from early adoptors who've succeed with these new technologies and methods, as well as how these complement or extend existing solutions for BI, DW, DM, and analytics.
  • Government and Non-Profit. Government, education, and other not-for-profit organizations face unique challenges when implementing and managing BI/DW solutions. These organizations often must sell, justify, and sustain BI/DW/DM projects using different tactics from those employed by commercial organizations. However, the impact of these projects can be far-reaching, often providing citizens, patients, students, and businesses much easier access to information and beneficial programs and services.

Tips for Successful Applications

  • Applications that have a high chance of winning will describe tangible business impact, especially in financial returns.
  • Applications will have a minimal chance of winning when they emphasize a sponsor's product as a key attribute for success or have been in production for less than a year.
  • Answers to the application questions should be succinct, well constructed, comprehensive and logical, with enough detail to adequately define the project. Extremely long or extremely short submissions are always more difficult to judge.
  • Limit the number of attachments you submit with your application to those that clearly illustrate a major point you are trying to make. Avoid using overly complex architectural diagrams.
  • Send your application and supporting diagrams in one e-mail to ensure that they stay together through the judging process.
  • Thoroughly fill out all contact information on the first page of the application and note which category the application is for.
  • Be sure to print the first page of the application, sign where indicated and fax to TDWI at 425.687.2842, to the attention of Brenda Woodbridge. Please do NOT fax the entire application.
  • View an example of an award-winning application.

How to Apply

  • Application available early January 2016.
  • Once the application is completed, e-mail it and any supporting diagrams to We recommend you request a return receipt when sending to ensure that your email is actually received.
  • Print a copy of the front page only of the application, sign it where indicated, and fax to 425.687.2842. All e-mailed applications must be matched with faxed signatures to be considered complete.

Key Dates

  • April 2016 - Applications Due
  • July 2016 - Best Practices winners announced

Rules of Entry

  1. You must submit your application via e-mail.
  2. Individual companies may nominate themselves in up to two categories. Instead of submitting exactly the same application, however, it's best to create tailored versions for each category to which the application is submitted.
  3. Prior year's winners may apply if they submit a new application for a new or significantly enhanced project.
  4. You must print, sign, and fax the first page of the application where indicated in order for the application to be considered complete. Fax to 425.687.2842, to the attention of Brenda Woodbridge.

Special Note to Solution Sponsors

  • You may submit a maximum of six applications in total on behalf of customers. For example, you can submit applications for three customers in two categories each, six customers in one category each, or any combination of customers and categories.
  • If your nominated customer is chosen as a winner, you will be recognized as a Best Practices Award Solution Sponsor.
  • Winning solution sponsors receive a Best Practices Award plaque and a Best Practices Award logo for use on their web site and in print materials, and mention on the TDWI website (including logo on winner's page), press release, and various TDWI publications.


If you have any questions about the TDWI Best Practices program, please contact Brenda Woodbridge at 425.277.9132 or via e-mail at