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June 2008 Volume 3 Number 2                                                                                               ...
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Getting Enterprise Meta Data All the Time


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Metadata may not be the best word to use to try to get senior management excited about reference data projects. But metadata management is a vital part of enterprise data management (EDM), and as EDM projects are now maturing, metadata is swiftly moving up the agenda. Tine Thoresen explores the best strategies for implementing metadata tools and systems.

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Getting Enterprise Meta Data All the Time

  1. 1. June 2008 Volume 3 Number 2 Metadata may not be the best word to use to try to get senior management excited about reference data projects. But metadata management is a vital part of enterprise data management (EDM), and as EDM projects are now maturing, metadata is swiftly moving up the agenda. Tine Thoresen explores the best strategies for implementing metadata tools and systems Getting Meta All the Time John Carroll, who recently retired from Merrill says Serenita. It is often difficult to improve data research. When assessing applications, firms Lynch, had been working in the same role for 10 quality if data definitions are all over the place. should look for harvesting population utilities, years. He was initially hired to build on the vision Everyone needs to be on the same page—both to according to Carty. He says most customers will be of an enterprise data repository. But this type improve reporting and consolidate silos. able to automatically load 80% of definitions into of project is not done overnight. Carroll was still To succeed, firms simply need to identify the the system, while 20% will typically be manually working on enhancing the system 10 years on. best strategy to overcome challenges such as inputted. So when reviewing applications, firms This is the reality of reference data initiatives—the structuring the data, increasing automation, should be shooting for that 80%. projects often seem never-ending. Yet, many enter- keeping the content current and managing the And standards can offer better integration prise data management projects are now entering refresh rate. But this is obviously not that simple opportunities. Greg Keller, vice-president, product a new phase—the metadata management phase. when there is little public information on how to management at metadata management product Firms are starting to focus more on standardizing get there for financial institutions. vendor Embarcadero Technologies, advises firms and centralizing ‘data about the data.’ So, as with every other data problem, can firms to move on if the tool does not speak ‘standards.’ Peter Serenita, chief data officer at JP Morgan turn to vendors for help? Honore, who focuses on “There is no panacea, but the only way to collect, Chase, says the types of reference data technology financial services, says the projects he has seen refine, integrate and communicate this data (about he expects firms to invest in this year are meta- have been internal developments, and he does not data) is to ensure it can bi-directionally integrate data management tools. “Firms will invest in the know of anyone who is using off-the-shelf tools. via open standards such as the OMG’s [object ability to define data using data management There are, however, many vendors targeting the management group] set of data interchange stan- tools so that this information is not buried in metadata management space across industries. dards,” he says, adding that OMG’s forthcoming code,” he says (Inside Reference Data, Reference Stu Carty, founder and metadata solutions expert information management metamodel (IMM) Data Technology Special Report, May 2008). at Gavilian Research, says there are 17 vendors implementation is rooted in universally defining But so far there have not been many metadata offering metadata solutions. The providers can be storage for data standards. success stories in the financial industry. These divided into two groups—one group offers inde- Keller also says firms should choose model- types of projects can require a lot of resources, as pendent metadata management tools that can be driven products—“critical to be able to express a large portion of the work tends to be taxonomic. bought separately and the other offers metadata complex business rules in a manner that can Adam Honore, senior analyst at Aite Group, says management tools bundled into a tool suite. abstract the information in a graphical format”— some of the larger firms are currently working on The third option, which Honore mentioned, is and products that embrace logical and physical these projects, but that it is probably too early to building systems in-house. Carty says most firms data modeling as a means to express the core talk about successes. might start with internal developments, mainly underlying metadata. Yet, this is not to say that metadata management using Excel, but since vendors are getting better In fact, ease of use of the application is vital to tools cannot add tremendous value. “By providing and better, off-the-shelf solutions are becoming review when assessing metadata tools. This might visibility to the data definitions, the firm’s ability more viable. Metadata management solutions sound very basic, but it is particularly important to manage the data increases exponentially,” are database applications that can be filled with in this market, where some tools have tradition- descriptions and relationships. Carty says Google ally had a poor reputation. Carty says some prod- is an example of a metadata tool—probably the ucts are difficult to use and implement, but the biggest one. best vendors today recognize that problem, are focusing on making it easier for customers and Finding the Right Product are leveraging new technology. Although Google might help firms find informa- So the area is worth exploring. Some firms have tion, selecting vendors requires more thorough seen early successes, according to Keller, who has witnessed some “well-implemented metadata management programs in large household banks “The only way to collect, refine, both in the UK and US.” In most cases, the proj- integrate and communicate this ects revolved around data rationalisation, refining data (about data) is to ensure it and documenting the metadata values of core business attributes in an effort to point to live data can bi-directionally integrate via in order to continually assess quality, he says. open standards” And as metadata management tools mature, Greg Keller, Embarcadero Technologies the industry is set to see more of these projects succeed and materialize. © 2008 Incisive Media Investments. All rights reserved. Used by permission. First published in IRD June 2008.