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17 November 2022

data glossary

Building a common business vocabulary is critical for fostering data-driven decision-making within an organization. When a multitude of conflicting terms and definitions are used, this process becomes more complicated. That is why it is critical to have a data glossary to help with the process. So, what is a data glossary and what benefits does it provide? Let’s dive in.

Data glossary: definition

The data glossary, also known as a business glossary, is a tool that brings together terms and definitions and presents them in a clear and contextualized manner to help employees at all levels of the organization better understand data and its challenges.

It is a data governance tool that is necessary for understanding your organization’s data and carrying out analyses correctly. Creating a corporate glossary is a complex task that calls for the use of a specialized tool.

A single repository that everyone can access

The business glossary is a collection of definitions for concepts used within the organization. These definitions are shared by everyone involved. Each member can add new information, update existing entries, and delete obsolete ones, allowing each department to standardize the terms it uses to describe data.

A good data glossary is a helpful tool for data-driven organizations. Without one, some terms may have multiple definitions, which can cause confusion and impede decisions. By creating a corporate glossary to use across the organization, it enables more time to be spent focusing on how to manage and analyze data better.

Data glossary: What does it contain?

To standardize data vocabulary within an organization, the data glossary includes:

  • Terminology and definitions: This is the core component of the data glossary. These definitions help users to better understand the ins and outs of each business term.
  • Data categorization: This gives users the ability to search, identify, and find relationships between data based on their classification.
  • Technical metadata: This metadata forms the link between business data and its technical implementations. As a result, data scientists can better interpret the data within a specific context.

Data glossary: 4 Key Benefits

Your data drives every business decision, and that’s why it’s so important to have a core set of terms in place to get everyone–from the executive team to the sales team–speaking the same language. Having this uniform approach to data across the organization is invaluable as it allows any member of your team to not only find the information they’re looking for but understand what it means within the context of your organization.

Here are the key benefits of adopting a data glossary within your organization:

Facilitate communication between departments

With a business glossary, each department can quickly and easily find the definition of terms, which makes it easier to understand the data set and prevents confusion over business-specific data terms.

Build confidence to improve productivity

Users are more inclined to use data that they trust to make better and more efficient business decisions.

Reduce complexity

When the terminology associated with data is standardized, everyone can more effectively access and use the data. This simplifies the company’s day-to-day operations and relieves the data teams.

Facilitate data governance

A data glossary helps to eliminate team silos by outlining each stakeholder’s ownership and role in data governance. Each user is responsible for the management of business information and can be easily contacted by other employees.

Build a common data language in your organization

The data glossary, or business glossary, brings together terms and definitions in a clear and contextualized manner to help employees at all levels of the organization better understand data and its challenges. Overall, it’s clear that there are many benefits to having a data glossary. Beyond facilitating change within your organization, a data glossary allows everyone within your company to be on the same page. It will help you train employees in better data management, and overall improve productivity throughout your entire business.

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