You have all this data governance content (definitions, specifications, data dictionary items, business glossary items, data system inventory, data quality rules, etc.). All this content needs to be in an accessible and up to date knowledgebase. And to get a full benefit to the organization, this data governance content needs to be connected where possible. In this blog post we will cover what data governance content can be connected, go over some examples and mention the benefits to the organization.
There is now a broader scope of data governance which leads to more content which makes it hard to connect. Feel free to check out our data governance content video and blog post. You need a solution that can keep track of this connection (like the Data Cookbook). Multiple spreadsheets or a homegrown system cannot keep track of this connection. You need a knowledgebase in a solution (like the Data Cookbook) so everything is in one place so that items in the knowledgebase can be connected.
Content in the data governance knowledgebase has relationships and dependencies including:
- Definitions refer to other definitions
- Definitions refer to data model objects (technical metadata)
- Data quality attributes refer to reference data lists
- Specifications refer to definitions
- Group of specifications (for reports, dashboards, integrations, ETLs) can be linked together to form a new specification (such as a dashboard)
- Data system inventories contain data model objects
- Data system inventories link to system reference materials
- Reports can access definitions
A specification can document reports, dashboards, and integrations. Definitions can be functional and technical. Multiple technical definitions can link to a single functional definition. The business glossary is a tool to understand and communicate about your organization’s data. Having linked terms in the business glossary enables users to experience its full benefits. You will also catch errors in suggested linking when users can see the links. Functional definitions use links or references to basic terms from more specific terms. A data dictionary and a business glossary are separate entities, but they work nicely together to describe the data of the organization. These entities should be in the same knowledgebase and linked. Many quickly realize that there are outgrowing their homegrown version of data governance and need to get a knowledgebase (such as is included in the Data Cookbook). The knowledgebase has open access and can be kept up to date easily by many. And it shows the connectivity between the various content items. The information is not as siloed and you get a more enterprise-wide picture of the data.
And when you change something:
- You should only need to change it in one place
- You should be informed when the change has (or might have) an impact on something else
- You have a specification for an integration (a specification can also be about reports and dashboards). In this specification are data definitions. There is a dependency between the two. One of the data definitions that is referenced in this specification is changed. A data steward needs to be notified of the data definition change so that they can review the impact on the integration. Without the dependency between the two, the notification cannot be automatic so could be forgotten. With the automatic notification, the data steward can determine on if there is an impact or not on the integration. If there is no impact, such as just minor spelling corrections, then the data steward records that, and the change happens. If there is an impact then the data steward can halt the change and determine the next step (set up meeting, create new definition, modify specification, etc.). What you are trying to do is eliminate fire drills and major problems by just having someone review the impact of a change.
- A consumer (a user) is viewing a report and has a question on where the heck did those numbers come from. Instead of having to contact a data steward, since the definitions for that information is documented and you have a specification for that report, you click on a link and see the definition for that specific number. You get your answer immediately.
- You have a definition for active employee that is used in 50 reports. If you have a change to that definition you should not have to modify all 50 reports. Since the specification for each of the reports has the definitions in them, they are connected. The change should only be made in one place. And you should know what reports that definition is being used in. And you should notify someone to look at those 50 reports and see what the impact will be with the definition change.
Hope that this blog post gives you information on why the connection (integration) of data governance content (definitions, specifications, reference data, data system inventory, etc.) is very beneficial to an organization of any type and size.
IData has a solution, the Data Cookbook, that can aid the employees and the organization in its data governance, data stewardship and data quality initiatives. IData also has experts that can assist with data governance, reporting, integration and other technology services on an as needed basis. Feel free to contact us and let us know how we can assist.
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