Reference data lists are used from a data governance perspective in a variety of places including definitional, quality, reporting, integration, and standards. Previously we covered what is reference data in this blog post. Now we thought in this blog post cover where reference data is used. We also did a video on this topic as well.
Here is where reference data lists are used:
Definitional (Glossary) involves scope and context. This includes functional definitions (elevated above a particular data system) and technical definitions (which are tied to data systems).
Data Quality and Data Integrity involves protecting against bad data (valid values) and maintaining referential integrity.
Reporting and Analytics involves management of consistent calculations, counting, selections and sorting. Often, they are parameters for reports and dashboards. For example, you have a report by employee class which involves the employee class valid list.
Data Integration involves understanding the list of statuses and how they map between systems. For example, in one system you might have a value of a one and a zero while in another system for the same information you might have a yes and a no. These need to be understood and mapped between each other.
Standards and System Implementation involves enforcing and creating consistent values between systems. You need to understand the reference data, what is needed, and how they change so that they can be standardized across data systems and when implementing a new system. If you are going to go implement a new CRM or a new manufacturing application, you must set up all your reference codes. But before that can happen you need to understand your current values so that they can be mapped into a different system. Having transparency and visibility into your current values and your new values are important for implementation and integration.
Inventory involves understanding and controlling the list of items and hierarchy, so that you can measure and monitor things more effectively.
I hope that this blog post gave you a quick summary of where reference data lists are used from a data governance perspective. It is important to have the data governance activities of adding, changing, identifying, and understanding your reference data lists. The better that reference data is understood and managed will help in many areas of the organization. Additional reference data resources (blog posts, videos, recorded webinars, etc.) can be found in this blog post.
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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