Consider this situation: Would you try to ride a bicycle blindfolded? You could probably pump the pedals and steer without trouble, but you would be lacking the visual feedback that the changes you are making in direction and velocity will keep you on your intended course and avoid harm.
This question undoubtedly sounds crazy, but people are making changes to their data integration environments every day without the tools in place to visualize the environment and to tell them the impact of proposed changes.
There are good tools available today to help with this problem.
The first thing you would need to manage a complex data integration environment, is a visual map of where the data is coming from, how it is flowing through the system, and what targets are using that data. Metadata Management tools, such as Informatica Metadata Manager, provide connectors to automatically collect metadata from repositories, Business Intelligence tools, data modeling tools and Informatica PowerCenter. That data is then presented as a visual map of the data integration environment. Having a good map is an important starting point.
Good metadata management tools can also tell you the impact of proposed changes to your data integration environment before you implement them.
That’s the technical side of metadata. It’s all about gaining the visibility to see and manage what is going on in your data integration environment.
On the business side of metadata, there are products such as Informatica Business Glossary, which business term owners use to create, document, and publish business terms. These terms become the common vocabulary of the business.
The business vocabulary can then be linked with the underlying technical metadata to enhance the quality of communication between the business and IT sides of the enterprise.
- How many of your projects have suffered delays as your staff struggled to simply agree on the definition of a business term?
- How many projects have failed because of a lack of a common vocabulary to use between business and IT? Many studies (including Gartner) have shown this to be a major cause of IT project failure.
The business side of metadata is all about building a common vocabulary to improve collaboration, reduce mis-communication, and speed up project delivery.
For more of an introduction to metadata, see the Informatica Chalk Talk: Getting the Most out of Your Data Integration with Metadata Manager & Business Glossary.
For many people, metadata can sound a bit esoteric and complicated. But, ask yourself this; Would you get on that bike blindfolded?