Friday, May 6, 2011

Metadata – Why Every Organization Needs It


For the last few months I have been leading a metadata project and on more than one occasion I have thought to myself, why doesn’t every company do this?  Metadata has different meanings depending on who you ask but the most common and agreed upon meaning is that it is data about data. Every company has data, and most have a significant amount that has been put together over the years.  Unfortunately, only very few people outside of the developers or database administrators that work directly with the data usually know where to get what, or how to join or piece it all together to make sense out of it.

This is why metadata repositories are so important.  Granted it is not always an easy sell to tell the CIO of a company that he or she needs a project to document their database systems from top to bottom and it is going to take 6-12 months. If the executives could search a repository as easy as they can google something to find out what data is captured by their organization, it might peak their interest.

The Embarcadero ER Studio Enterprise Suite of tools that includes Business Architect and Data Architect make it very easy to document conceptual business entities to logical and physical data models very easily.  The newest feature of the tools are that the repository that stores all of this information now has a portal where users can login through a website and search their metadata repository.  Executives can now find out exactly if they have a particular piece of data for reporting, where it is, who owns it, and whom to see to get access to it.

If executives in your organization are constantly asking for more information, and I am sure they are, and its not quite clear how to obtain it you may want to embark on a metadata project.  Your time to deliver a Business Intelligence solution will be greatly reduced as the discovery phase and time required from the data SMEs will be much smaller.