3 thoughts on “From Business Glossary to Full-Blown Metadata Management or Vice Versa

  1. Kimmo Kontra 22nd November 2014 / 12:45

    Strongly agree with the idea of a business glossary as one of the foundational steps for Data Governance. If there is no common understanding of even the basic concepts across the silos of an enterprise, well, common governance is going to be challenging (to put it mildly).

    The problem with initiatives about fixing glossary & metadata is that they tend to lead abstract, political, and too detailed argumentation. Even when the goal of documenting glossary is reached, it becomes a dead piece of paper in a SharePoint (or similar) archive.

    I believe the success factor is to scope the exercise: to limit the glossary to the essential. But easier said than done: how to figure out what is “essential”? What do you say, Henrik?

  2. Henrik Liliendahl Sørensen 22nd November 2014 / 13:25

    Thanks for adding in Kimmo. I am a strong believer in agile approaches within many disciplines. You must have a vision embracing a broad spectre of capabilities and then implement in sprints with minor but essential deliverables. One feature of a business glossary is definitely that is a living thing. There must be responsibilities for continuous maintenance. The glossary should support related capabilities and definitely be a reference for more technical data dictionaries and metadata repositories as for example mapping the business glossary to data elements in the current system landscape. The business glossary will also define elements that may not currently be held in internal databases, but could be used in spreadsheets, looked up on the internet and even only exist in none digital form for now.

  3. Gino Fortunato 2nd December 2014 / 15:28

    What I find useful about a glossary is the high level information, not the low level. For example: is a prospect counted as a customer? I have seen it argued, successfully, both ways. This will affect the customer count report and an organization should have consistent terminology for this. Where I don’t see it useful is on self defined terms. “First Name” for most geographies is self explanatory. I also have a hard time seeing large value in environments with multiple COTS. If SFDC manages a field in a certain way, and SAP captures that information a different way, then a metadata tool can only record the differences. A company will not be rewriting SAP, SFDC, Oracle or whatever to reconcile the difference.

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