Engage your business in your data journey with a data catalogue

Nov 17, 2022
  • IT
  • data

To become data-driven, organisations need to establish a rock-solid data culture where the value of data is recognised and takes ownership. One of the keys to supporting and enabling this dynamic in the long run is data governance: clear agreements about the way data is organised and managed throughout the organisation. Recently, data governance tools, like the business glossary & data catalogues have proven indispensable parts of a data culture. Here’s why.

Who should be responsible for an organisation's data?

Too often, individual teams within an organisation are aware of the presence and value of data but do not consider it their responsibility. To prevent this, the rules and agreements concerning data ownership, definitions, production and usage need to be formalised. 

Even more importantly, they must be easily searchable and accessible to everyone. With a data & business glossary, it helps you assign meaning to data by adding and managing metadata.

What is metadata?

Metadata is ‘data about data’: information about the data in your organisation. This includes data such as technical information, including data types, source systems, and their weight, but more importantly, critical business information such as the calculations behind certain KPIs and reports, their source data, other places and reports where the same KPI can be found, and who – or which department – owns it. The goal of metadata is to make tracking and working with data more manageable and make the data more accessible. 

The rules of engagement… with data

A data catalogue allows you to document data, make it searchable, and indicate fields such as who is responsible for which piece of data or current agreements for inputting data. 

Adding new master data or making changes to existing master data in the ERP system must happen according to predetermined rules concerning classification and definition. All of these can be found instantly in the data & business glossary. In short, it tells users where they can find data, who is responsible for it, how they should work with it, which KPIs are available for analysis, and more.

Rise of the data catalogues

Data Catalogue

There has been a surge in demand for data & business glossaries. And there’s a perfectly logical reason for that. More than ever, modern business leaders understand that getting valuable insights from raw data and making them available for everyone who can benefit from them is key to long-term survival. However, the barrage of data and data sources makes it impossible for the IT department to handle everything alone. These tools effectively bridge the gap between business and IT by allowing non-technical business users to work with data.

For example, a sales manager needs to report on turnover to the CEO. A data catalogue can tell them where to find this figure and its derivates. It will also give them information such as the exact term definition, KPI calculations, the sources, who this metric is relevant for, and why. This will clear up a lot of misunderstandings and faulty assumptions.

In the same way, data catalogues also help with onboarding. New hires can easily find all the relevant business definitions, data, dashboards and reports they need through the glossary. With every piece of data having an owner or steward, new joiners will know who to look for in case of questions.     

The benefits of a data & business glossary

Data catalogues provide thorough documentation of the origin, history, context and meaning of data in your organisation. But there’s more:

  • they reduce the time wasted on searching for data;
  • by providing context, they increase data trust;
  • by identifying redundant data and processes, they help improve operational efficiency;
  • they improve understanding between business users and IT;
  • by centralising information, they help reduce training costs;
  • this centralisation of relevant information also lowers the impact of staff turnover;
  • they provide thorough documentation of the origin, history, context and meaning of data in your organisation

A long-term vision for data governance

To truly benefit from a data & business glossary, it needs to be supported by IT and owned by the business. Should it only be regarded as an IT tool, business users will not touch it. IT will have little incentive to support it if it's strictly business. It needs to be a joint project in which both parties participate actively. You'll also need a 'data governance team': a permanent fixture in the organisation responsible for all the supporting tools, including the business glossary & data catalogue. They manage and complete data objects within the tool, set up new flows, and document reports and KPIs. The ideal candidates for this are people already working with data before.

our goal is the long-term anchoring of data governance in your organisation

At delaware, we take a people-focused, holistic approach to data governance and the technical and functional implementation of data governance tools. This is reflected clearly in our data governance framework: we start from your organisation's long-term strategy and goals and pay close attention to key enablers, including policies, processes, specific tools and users, all of which are the keys to success. In addition, we offer advice on how to set up your data governance structure and team and its workings. 

After implementation, we provide continuous support by helping you spread the word throughout your organisation, track adoption rates, and measure success. Our goal is the long-term anchoring of data governance in your organisation.

take your data culture and governance to the next level

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