It is common to describe the term metadata as data describing other data or “data over data”. In general, indeed, the concept of metadata refers to those data that speak of the data, In other words, describe the content of the files or their information.
What is the meaning of the term “metadata”?
The etymology of the term metadata also puts us on the trail of its meaning. Del griego meta, “after” and of “data”, plural of Latin datum -i, “data”, literally means “beyond the data”, referring to data that describes other data. Specifically, the use of the term from a computerized approach takes this generic conception as a starting point, both individually and when a group of metadata describes a set of data or resources.
The metadata is characterized by:
- Be highly structured data that describes characteristics of the data, as content, quality, information and other circumstances or attributes.
- They present differences that will depend, as a last resort, of the rules included in the applications to establish the internal structure of the data schemas.
- They can be categorized according to different criteria, as its content, variability or function.
In the current context of Big Data, Internet of things and cloud computing, metadata has become relevant unprecedented. Faced with enormous amounts of information that grow exponentially, metadata management can be of great help in gaining operational efficiency and / o make better decisions to gain competitive advantage.
The benefits of metadata management
The benefits of managing metadata are numerous. This “information about information” encompasses all the data attributes that each file describes and, on the whole, provides information of interest very different uses in the moment of improve data management.
Not in vain, in the organizational environment Metadata plays an important role as a reference framework., in line with a generic view that Forrester Research summarizes by defining them as “information that describes or provides context for the data, the content, business processes, services, the business rules and policies to support an organization's information systems”.
Its multifunctionality, effectively, is one of the main features of this powerful data management tool as an asset. Specifically, these are some of the most beneficial features of good metadata management when it comes to improving data management and governance processes:
- Facilitates searches and analysis: Metadata helps find and locate data. Good metadata management also makes it easier to analyze the course of the data from the source., facilitating self-documentation, as well as the transformation functions, analysis and reporting.
- Facilitates standardization: By erasing errors and inconsistencies, data standardization improves data quality throughout its life cycle. With metadata management in a centralized repository, we will achieve a more complete view of the data life cycle, from creation to consumption, as well as advantages in process control.
- Help Integration: In hybrid integration, metadata is key. By using a centralized metadata repository for shared use between IT and business users, we will facilitate governance, as well as the application of best practices by them. Very useful in hybrid structures to boost data management in an integrated way.
- Change management: Especially in complex environments, as metadata management provides the visibility and control to do so in an enterprise data integration environment. Through an automation of the impact analysis we will detect changes in the applications and we will be able to intervene to correct conflicts.
- More security: In case of changes, Proper metadata management will protect critical business data and, in general, will facilitate regulatory compliance.
- Improve reporting: Thanks to this ease of intervention, the data will be of quality and the processes will not present incidents and, logically, reports will gain in reliability. In general, proper metadata management will deliver secure and reliable data.
- More agile developments: Smart access to metadata, as an example in an integrated hybrid environment, increases developer productivity and reduces connectivity delivery time. This translates into a decrease in the cost of switching between the different platforms..
- Better data governance: Metadata managed in a standardized environment through a centralized repository is essential to implement a successful data governance program. Among other advantages, metadata management increases visibility into different pattern runs and management of different data sources, promoting centralized governance, as well as best practices..
But, Just as important as understanding what metadata is is carrying out proper management of it.. Do you already have your data management strategy on data?
Image source: Stuart Hundred / FreeDigitalPhotos.net