Most of us know that Metadata is “data about data” as illustrated by the following picture, but an enterprise-wide strategy of how to manage metadata is a rare occurrence among our clients.
“Metadata is a long-term ally in generating value from your data.”
This quote was pulled from an excellent blog post by Rash Gandhi and Antoine Gourevitch at Boston Consulting Group which addresses the problems often found when companies don’t pay proper (or any) attention to their metadata structure. Gandhi and Gourevitch argue that Metadata can not continue to be the domain of the IT department without consideration of the business and operations sides of the company. To do so often times leads to faulty data which eventually costs the company time and money.
The optimal coordinated strategy brings the entire enterprise into the picture as depicted below.
Ignoring your Metadata can cost your business in more ways than one. The most obvious costs associated with not having an Enterprise Metadata Strategy is the time spent trying to find and massage the correct data. Often times this work is done by fairly well compensated data scientists or analysts. Not only does it cost money, it can also be grueling, tedious work. I have seen this in more than a few clients.
The upfront work required to get a coordinated approach up and running is also very time intensive, but in the long run those companies which invest in getting their Metadata squared away are way ahead of the curve. They are able to implement new data initiatives more quickly, and less expensively. They have greater flexibility in the ways they choose to analyze their data.
Do yourself a favor and head over to the BCG Blog to learn why you need to embrace a Metadata Strategy.