Think back to your favorite adventure movie. There’s probably a canonized moment that shows the intrepid hero leading his troupe through the forest or jungle, searching for a bridge that will guide them all across the smoky abyss to safety. You’ve seen it before, right? And of course, when they do come across the bridge, they find it worn away, that there are huge gaps, or it’s completely destroyed so there’s no way to get to the other side of the canyon. That spells trouble.
This broken bridge adventure movie moment is a perfect metaphor for the data gaps in your business. The result of an incomplete, disorganized data lake is a series of broken bridges that prohibit you from making any progress with your hard-earned data. Gaps in the data chain may mean that you can’t trust the accuracy or relevance of your information resources. Or maybe you’re missing entire clusters of data that leave the information you do have incomplete.
The most cost-effective and quick-thinking way to fix a broken bridge, of course, is to pick up the pieces and repair them. That’s where metadata management comes in. When there’s a gap in the chain of data, you need to find out what you’re missing in order to follow the thread. With a metadata management solution in place, you can easily pull your entire data lake and all of its components together so it’s organized and viewable from a glance. From there, you can identify what’s missing, and fill in those data gaps effectively.
Implementing metadata management eliminates this concern about broken bridges and data gaps. In fact, the goal of data governance and metadata management solutions is to be able to trust and rely on the data in your systems, wherever it occurs, so there is no need for data reconciliation or repeated manual alignment. Data is often acquired from multiple sources, and metadata management solutions help you to manage, format, align and integrate it into a single system within your business to create this reliability and accuracy in the data itself.
When you’re working on a jigsaw puzzle, you might spend hours perfecting each piece’s connection before you wind up with a finished image on the table. But when you first dump the 500 or 1,000 or 5,000 jigsaw pieces on the table, you can’t tell if a piece is missing in the jumble. It’s not until you put it all together that you can see there’s a gaping hole in the beautiful landscape.
Data gaps often work this way too. If your business only has access to a disorganized, unmanaged data lake, you probably won’t be able to identify the gaps in the mire of information. But metadata management draws together the entire data lake so you can understand the data as a contextualized whole, an information resource that you can use to derive important business insights and make crucial business decisions.
Of course when your data lake is organized and contextualized, you can see the missing pieces immediately. All your data is threaded together and connected in a way that makes sense and is easy to follow. And from a managed data lake, mending broken bridges and locating missing pieces is a piece of cake.