There’s no question that metadata management is important as a practice, but it’s not always obvious to see why it’s immediately crucial for your business in particular. Big data is an ever-increasing industry, and as we progress further and further into these technological times, big data is growing exponentially in both sheer size and business importance. And in companies and organizations that deal in huge quantities of data, learning how to process, analyze, and use that data effectively is an ability that is founded primarily on metadata management.
The trouble with big data is suggested in the name—the amount of data we collect in today’s world is enormous. It’s easy to get swamped in such huge stores of data. According to the MIT Technology Review, only 0.5% of the world’s data resources are ever analyzed.
And it’s just as easy to let the data’s inherent value go to waste. What good is your data collection if you don’t know what data you have, you can’t tell what’s out of date or what’s inaccurate, and you don’t know how to gain immediate access to the specific sets of data you might need in a given moment? Not much good at all.
Data’s usability and adaptability across departments and industries only serves to exacerbate these challenges. Within a single business, data and metadata – the data about that data – has many dimensions and might be used by the information technology department, by human resources and hiring managers, by sales teams, or by c-suite level executives. But each of those departments and teams analyzes data differently, uses it for a different purpose, and certainly talks about data—even the same data—in different terms.
A Single Business Language For Your Organization
If departments communicate in their own ways and can’t speak the same language about the data they’re using, confusion ensues. What if a company is acquired by a larger organization? In that case, the parties involved would probably communicate in completely different ways. It would be like doing business in English with someone who only speaks Chinese.
When data isn’t inputted or identified in the same language, data quality suffers. And without a unifying way to communicate, it becomes nearly impossible to build the contextualized, interconnected data system that a powerful metadata management solution would provide. This is where an ontology is needed as part of an effective metadata management system.
Creating a universally understood business language within an enterprise is a crucial step towards proper data governance, and towards the effectiveness and value of data itself. But the challenges to managing data stores don’t stop there.
Extracting Data For Valuable Business Insights With Effective Metadata Management
Enormous amounts of data become useless if companies don’t know how to manage and understand them. If you can’t find the data you need because you don’t know what data you have, that data is useless. If you can’t extract meaningful business insights because you don’t have a profound contextual understanding of your data as an information resource, that data is useless. If you can’t rest assured that all of your data is up to date and accurate, that data is useless.
It’s as simple as that. Your data is no good to your business if you can’t put it to work for you. And metadata management creates this contextualized understanding of your data so that it can become valuable at every level of your business.
Metadata is data that describes and gives context to data through an ordered structure, like the many layers of a Matryoshka doll. In turn, metadata management facilitates the reliability, accessibility, and effectiveness of your data so that you can put it to work.
Metadata management allows you to see what data you have, where it came from and when, who has access to it, and even whether or not the data is up to date and accurate. With this sort of structure in place, the huge quantities of data gathering dust wherever they’re stored in your company suddenly become meaningful and valuable to your business.
- With access to this profound understanding of your data, your company can make informed business decisions, supported by analyzed, accurate, actionable data.
- The ability to derive business insights directly from your data is only possible with metadata management and data governance solutions in place.
- If we think about the worst-case scenario of useless data outlined above, we can see that there would be no rational, reliable way to extract business insights based on that kind of data.
- Disparate, uncontextualized data doesn’t make for good business decisions.
Metadata management supports precisely the kind of contextualized data understanding that you need to utilize and take action on your data, from initial input all the way through to business insights at the highest level. This is the case no matter what type of business you’re in—don’t let your valuable data opportunities waste away.