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Data & metadata: the impossible separation!

Jul 20, 2020 | Data Governance, Meta Data

Although invisible and discreet, the data surrounds us and feeds us largely according to our research and daily needs. Companies are increasingly aware of the stakes it represents. Data only needs to be organized, stored and updated to gain, in the eyes of the market, a market value. In this sense, the implementation of an operational governance of data is an important lever. However, this lever will only make sense if the data & metadata pair is pampered.

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Data governance is not a luxury

The increasing digitalisation of companies means that data processing services are multiplying, rubbing shoulders with each other and crossing paths on various new or priority subjects. Indeed, projects and departments composed of experts in Big Data, CRM, analytics, DataViz and other Data Scientist, flourish here and there with the sole mission, the collection and enhancement of more and more data to have the indicator and / or information that will make the difference.

The risk at this stage is of several kinds:

  • the explosion in volumes and the poorly controlled multiplication of data sources make their exploitation complex, undermine their clarity and make them more difficult to interpret;
  • disparate and heterogeneous data can ultimately contradict each other, due to a lack of shared definition or understanding, methods, or the multiplication of tools used.
    Day-to-day operational governance helps to coordinate the understanding, use, enrichment and transformation that the various stakeholders can bring to the data in order to exploit it. It guarantees :
  • a shared understanding for increased legitimacy of the reports and reports produced, removing ambiguities of understanding and interpretation
  • Uniformity of formats, which simplifies the use of data and facilitates comparisons and interoperability in different business uses
  • an increasing valorisation of the available data, by optimising the collections, minimising redundant exploitations and highlighting the data not or under-exploited, which is called Dark Data.

 

Metadata, a powerful lever of governance… under-exploited

Abundance of data as such should not be a goal in itself. Data that is incomplete, imprecise, impossible to interpret or use is of no interest. Having well-defined, orderly, hierarchical data, with an operational governance strategy, which frames the collection, storage and daily uses: this can be a huge asset for a company. This objective is difficult to achieve without metadata. Metadata is the data that describes the data and makes it understandable and exploitable (source, definition, type, precision, quality, context of use…).

The use of metadata is essential to use and enhance the data effectively :

Metadata allow to qualify the data. They facilitate the understanding, search and identification of data in circulation in the company. It is a prerequisite for any data governance initiative.
Metadata is the key to shared mapping of enterprise data.
It ensures optimal storage optimization and an effective data retention policy. The risk of loss or deterioration of useful data is limited or even eliminated.
As part of a regulatory approach, metadata allows for the rapid identification of personal data collected, and for deletion if necessary.
Thus, no one will be able to meet the data challenge without a metadata management strategy. A metadata management strategy is not only critical to effective operational data governance, but also to effective data mapping.