By: David Norfolk, Practice Leader - Development, Bloor Research
Published: 26th September 2013
Copyright Bloor Research © 2013
If I want readers to switch off (it can be useful; one can sometimes sneak something controversial past them), I usually chuck in a couple of things about metadata.
But 'data about data' is important, especially in a business context. I have no problem with risk-based analyses using lots and lots of comparatively low quality data, but unless you have some understanding of exactly what the data actually means and what it is trying to tell you, you risk making some pretty silly decisions. Now, Embarcadero has given us CONNECT, a new metadata governance platform that promises "to make database tools smarter and users experts".
Hmmm, not sure about the feasibility of that last one but I like the idea of a tool that gives your data a business context, as you use it, and adds collaboration facilities. What this all means is that CONNECT provides an "Enterprise Information Map" (a single, searchable registry of all available data sources). It promises you:
With a bit of luck, when you are aggregating data across a million customers, this'll warn you that what Private Banking calls a "customer" has somewhat different characteristics to what your payday loans dept calls a "customer".
Now, I must admit that I haven't had a chance to look at this in detail; but to me, it sounds rather like the sort of active Data Dictionary, integrated with production systems, that I once found so useful when I was in DBA in the mainframe environment used by an Australian government department. Welcome back!
And please take that "Welcome" absolutely at face value. Way back then, we might have had similar functionality, but I'd have killed for the sort of user experience and social collaboration possible today; to say nothing of the potential for using data from outside of the corporate database.
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