As enterprises look at implementing a new Data Governance program or improve an already existing one, the importance of Metadata needs to be considered. But first a firm must look at what benefits they hope to achieve through Data Governance.
A company focused on Sarbanes-Oxley compliance might have a different set of requirements than one looking to merely facilitate a Data Quality program, or one hoping to improve the overall synergy between the business and technical sides of the shop.
ASG is a software solutions company with a robust collection of products serving most areas of IT, including tools specifically for Data Governance and Metadata. Their Rochade application is an industry-leading Metadata repository useful for managing any enterprise’s inventory of data and systems.
An emphasis on the use of well-managed Metadata remains a key part of many successful Data Governance implementations. It needs to play an important role, central to the entire process.
Getting a Handle on the Goals of Data Governance
As stated, before implementing a Data Governance program, it is vital to identify the ultimate goals of the program. ASG’s Senior Director of Product Management, Ian Rowlands, concurs:
“That really depends on what a particular client means by data governance. When some people say data governance, they probably mean some blend of data profiling, data quality, and measurement. Other people mean a process to get their arms around all of the data entities they’ve got, and somehow make sure they understand who has ownership of what. Other people will come to us and say, look, what we’re really interested in is we think we have a good handle with this stuff, but we want some kind of collaborative work flow driven process to manage data – definition of information, definition going forward.”
After determining an enterprise’s goals from implementing Data Governance, the next step usually involves deriving an understanding of the types of IT assets to be managed – data, systems, and others. Determining the constituencies for these assets and the use-cases around their management is also part of this process.
Use the World’s Leading Metadata Repository
Considering the importance of good Metadata in most Data Governance programs, ASG’s Rochade metadata repository is well-suited to provide quality Metadata management functionality. Specific to governance, Rochade supports the creation of a transparent regulatory audit trail, which facilitates the management of vital compliance-related information. It also offers global impact, gap, and integration analysis.
The tool uses an automated process for the capture of an organization’s technical assets, making the overall process easier to implement and manage. This helps in streamlining the organization of Metadata from the disparate sources residing in most enterprises. It also allows the easy integration of data from other off the shelf ERP systems like SAP, PeopleSoft, and Siebel.
Rochade is perfect for medium to large organizations, although it can be deployed to support workgroups or just a few people, considering the product’s high scalability factor. The tool also sports an open architecture which lends itself to easy expansion and compatibility with future technical hardware initiatives.
In addition to its features related to Data Governance, Rochade offers other valuable benefits, most notably the ability to discover hidden relationships within an organization’s technical assets. This facilitates a new level of “what if” analysis, helping to increase an organization’s overall productivity.
Rochade includes various user interface options allowing both business and technical users the ability to tailor views of Metadata to their specific needs, including different languages as well as graphical vs. textual views. The web-based interface allows read-write access to the Metadata as well.
ASG metaGlossary to get the Business and Technical Defining Together
Ian Rowlands recommends that firms considering an ASG-based, Metadata-oriented Data Governance solution take a look at his company’s metaGlossary tool. Rowlands:
“metaGlossary ties together business concepts to the underlying technical artifacts that are used to support those business concepts.” He feels the application fits perfectly on top of a Rochade installation.
metaGlossary is vital for creating a common business vocabulary used throughout an enterprise. The tool promotes the transparent sharing of definitions as well as providing the kind of accountability essential for a compliance-focused Data Governance program.
Bridging the gap between the disparate business and technical worlds within any organization is a key requirement of any successful attempt at Data Governance. Ian Rowlands agrees, “One of the things that we have noted and been dealing with over a fair number of years is the fact that as organizations get increasingly information dependent, so it gets to be increasing important for business people to be able to use metadata.”
metaGlossary’s interface allows for easy searching of business terms across all of an organization’s glossaries. It also provides for easy tracking of any term’s lineage as well its ownership or stewardship information.
Merging the Divide between the Business and Technical
One ASG tool suitable for enhancing metaGlossary’s search capabilities is My Info Assist, which helps the company achieve its vision for a “user interface-less technology” helping to merge the divide between the business and technical within a firm. Ian Rowlands explains its functionality in context:
“So now for instance, you can be sitting at your desktop maybe looking at an Excel report, or looking at a document, which happens to be an Adobe Acrobat document, and there’s a term in there that you’re not quite sure what it means, or you know it has something to do with how you use information technology inside your organization. An application that we have called My Info Assist will actually take that word, go and search for it in our metaGlossary – in the business glossary – and give you your organization’s definition and usage of that piece of terminology.
And, if you need to, it will then provide you with the links to things like a report to which we have data related to that term. Here’s our revenue report. Or, here’s a database in which we have to store that type of information. And, so you can get from carrying out my business activity sitting on my desktop, to having access to the metadata that helps me understand the information and now I can actually locate data and things related to it, without ever having to know about metadata technology.
Because, one of the things we’ve come to understand is that actually, in a way, the whole notion of merging the divide is almost misconceived. Business people will never actually use the same language as technology people, and vice versa.”
In short, metaGlossary armed with My Info Assist is recommended as an essential part of any Rochade implementation geared towards Data Governance. Productivity increases related to the enterprise-wide usage of a tool like My Info Assist become another potential benefit.
The ViewDirect Suite for the Governance of Unstructured Data
Another ASG technology worthy of consideration for organizations sporting a robust amount of unstructured document-based content is the ViewDirect Suite. Considered the world’s most scalable full-featured archiving platform, ViewDirect is a solution perfect for the long-term storage of enterprise content in any content and from any source.
The ViewDirect Suite also includes solutions tailored for the processing and archival of SAP Accounts Payable/Accounts Receivable information, the audit and balancing of financial information, content integration, workflow and business process management, and compliance issues associated with records management initiatives.
ASG’s Own Park in the Cloud
Given the rapid growth of Cloud-based “as a Service” offerings in the industry, it makes sense that ASG is about to roll out their own Cloud Computing initiative. ASG expects CloudPark to hit the market either later this year or early next year. The service provides a management layer on top of a traditional Cloud-based infrastructure offering.
Ian Rowlands explains CloudPark further: “in that cloud environment, we will be offering various ASG solutions, which it will make sense to offer from the cloud environment. So, one of the things we will be doing is offering our service support solutions in a Software as a Service mode running on theCloudParkenvironment. Now, obviously to do that, we have to do some modifications and changes in the way that technology actually works.”
Some of those changes are specific to how a Metadata repository operates on the Cloud and how organizations treat a Cloud-based implementation of their metadata. Ian Rowlands:
“But the other side of this, from a metadata management point of view, is that there is actually an interaction of significant trends, all of which, as they work together, are going to have a dramatic effect on metadata management technologies amongst others. And, I’m just going to pull out 4 that I think are substantial. Cloud is one of them. Another is Big Data, and I’m not going to go into a long spiel about that.
But the combination of cloud, big data, consumerization of IT, and oddly enough, the direct regulation of IT actually work together to make some very significant changes in the way that we’re having to think about metadata management, and about our metadata management technologies.”
Companies looking at either starting a Cloud-based Data Governance initiative or migrating an existing implementation need to pay attention to ASG’s upcoming rollout of CloudPark.
Organizations needing robust Metadata management as part of their Data Governance program have a potential partner in ASG. Ian Rowlands comments, “We have the most capable enterprise metadata management platform. Industry Analysts say we are the best of breed.” Interested parties need to be aware that ASG’s product line is worthy of further exploration.