Many organizations struggle with the importance of metadata. Metadata is the definition of your information. It includes both the business definition and the IT definition. Tying these definitions together in a coherent manner is critical to your long-term success.
Does your business deliver the single version of the truth across all business units and geographies?
Is your information consistent no matter how you look at it – at the most granular level or strategically? Can you drill down, roll up or look across at any level and get a consistent answer?
Do you have a certified reporting strategy that is driven by your metadata?
Does your business agree, from top to bottom, with all of your metadata definitions? For example: is profitability consistently defined and calculated across the organization? Can you consistently look at the profitability of a customer, a product or a vendor across business units or geography?
Data lineage allows you to understand where all of the data is used in your organization. Can you look at a report and work back to the source data? It is one of the key factors in having a transparent solution that everyone can believe in and trust. When you do not have good data lineage you will have higher information inconsistencies. Organizations often face the problem of making a change in a source system without understanding the full impact to the downstream solutions including your information solution. A simple change in a finance module of an ERP system can dramatically alter your results. Having complete data lineage and good governance including change control boards that are inclusive of upstream and downstream system owners will ensure that your solutions are consistent over time.
The metadata repository holds all of your metadata information including the information from the business and IT. It should be both a tool that the business uses to understand where they can get information and how it is calculated as well as an integral part of your development life cycle. Like all repositories, if the metadata repository has poor data quality or is out of date, its usefulness is significantly degraded.