How’s your company’s metadata governance strategy? When it comes to the business planning and software development lifecycle, it’s likely it could be more solid, one company says.
“There are a ton of companies making a lot of money now providing raw storage as things like e-commerce, mobile, and cloud technologies generate big volumes of consumer and behavioral data,” says Henry Olson, director of product management at Embarcadero Technologies. “But many organizations can’t make effective use out of it. There’s an obscurity problem that people can’t find stuff or know what to make of what they do find.”
There’s a lot of metadata behind all that primary data that, if well-governed, could be leveraged to help. Embarcadero last week said that its take on addressing the problem is to bring various metadata governance and syndication features that exist across its technology line to its full product suite for building, optimizing, and running software applications, databases, and data governance initiatives. Added to the picture are universal mapping for improved enterprise modeling and impact analysis between physical, logical and conceptual models, and a portal product with new search engine enterprise data dictionaries and deeper model metadata visibility, which complete its approach to letting companies build, publish, manage and maintain an effective “enterprise information map (EIM).”
Metadata governance and syndication, Olson says, close the execution gap in data governance by enabling collaborative authoring of the enterprise information map by enterprise architects, governance teams, system owners and IT, and by providing the ability to put that map to use in the everyday work of IT.
“There are some distinctions between semantic technologies as applied to web properties and the web as whole, but we have a somewhat narrower view within the walls of the enterprise in trying to optimize data usage,” Olson says. “But one of the key concepts to tie things together is what we term the enterprise glossary, which is a facility by which we can build agreement in definition of a set of very specific terms and their exact meaning….Once we identify those logical concepts, they can be mapped down to specific data elements and to the use of those data elements.”
Generally, critical business processes require participation across various systems, each one with its own processes and representations of key master data. What happens today in the absence of metadata governance and syndication is that it’s hard for business users to understand the state of the business – how many customers it has, for instance, since they may be tallied differently and represented by different identifiers in different systems. Or, another example is ensuring that data abides by regulations that govern its enterprise usage, from PCI to HIPAA. So a big part of this, Olson says, is more seamlessly annotating these data elements with their intended and allowed use, so that controls may be put in place around them.
“You have to drive data aspects to specific databases where the data lives, so you can map business intent down to specific data,” he says. “The other thing is you need facilities and mechanisms to manage and maintain that map, because the ground is shifting.” With its metadata governance strategy and solutions, companies can manage and maintain the EIM map through governance principles, then syndicate that to the rest of Embarcadero’s IT tool suites so that the information and critical insight is available in the tools those tech workers use every day.
The notion of the enterprise information map gets more and more valuable as a company covers more and more of the information footprint, he says. “In a large corporation a lot of data is structured and relational in form, but the broader you cast the net, the more value we can deliver,” Olson says.