Active Metadata is gaining popularity in enterprise data governance alongside the data mesh and data lineage. Metadata is data that describes itself. It’s a way of tagging your own content so that other people can search for it and find it, even if they don’t know exactly what they’re looking for. For example, suppose you’ve written a blog post on how to cook brown rice in a rice cooker. If you add tags like “rice cooker” and “brown rice,” anyone trying to find information about either of those things will be led straight to your post. But what makes metadata active metadata?
What is Active Metadata?
Active metadata is a class of metadata that can be used to automate processes, improve the quality of data and data management, and create a data dictionary. The goal of active metadata is to help you learn more about your data assets by improving their quality. It enables you to explore your data assets (e.g., by generating reports or alerts), as well as document them (e.g., by generating documentation automatically). According to Gartner, active metadata is “a set of capabilities that enable continuous access and processing of metadata that support ongoing analysis…”, in other words, active metadata is “an always-on, intelligence-driven, action-oriented system that is an antithesis of its passive, static predecessor.”
In this model, metadata no longer simply sits in a passive store of information, but leverages APIs to connect with other data technologies in a dynamic, use case oriented two-way street. Thus, active metadata can bring context from Azure Data Lake into Power BI and vice versa, helping to solve knowledge silos.
Active metadata can be used in a variety of ways:
To help you understand your data assets (e.g., by enriching them with easily discoverable business context)
To help you improve the quality of your data assets (e.g., by generating documentation automatically)
To help you automate processes (e.g., by feeding into automated workflows and generating reports or alerts)
To create a data dictionary that you can use as a reference for managing your data assets
To help you manage your data assets more effectively (e.g., by visualizing the relationships between different technologies and data objects)
What is Active Metadata Governance?
Active Metadata Governance is a set of processes and tools that help you to make your metadata actionable. Active metadata governance improves the quality of your metadata and makes it easier to find, use and share. When you can see the value of your metadata, you’re more likely to invest in expanding and maintaining that metadata. Good metadata saves time and makes everyone’s life easier – it cuts down on searching back-and-forth through documents or looking up information from multiple sources; it also helps people focus on what they came for instead of trying to figure out how to find things online or asking an expert.
Active Metadata Governance leverages automation to help keep your metadata clean by making sure it’s up-to-date, complete and accurate. It also gives you a way to make sure that people use your metadata consistently so that they aren’t creating multiple files with the same information in them or using different formats when they describe the same thing. Put simply, Active Metadata Governance is a set of processes powered by automation that help you to make your metadata actionable by making it easier to find, use and share.
Alex Solutions is an ideal active metadata governance platform, because the many facets of data governance, activating metadata and its specific use cases are enabled in a single metadata workspace. By automating the cataloging, discovery and profiling of metadata as configured to your unique business and technical requirements, Alex is essentially an active metadata headstart for the enterprise. Users can easily embed business context and meaning in data assets in real time, to drive in-depth contextual discussions and data-driven decisionmaking. This information is made always available when viewing specific systems and data so institutional knowledge is always leveraged in daily tasks and critical decisions. In the same platform, business and technical users can collaborate on automated workflows of key use cases, such as data quality validation, privacy control, reporting and cost rationalization.
Why do you need Active Metadata?
Active metadata provides a way to make your data more actionable. Active metadata allows you to find, filter and analyze data more easily. In addition, active metadata helps others understand your data by providing context about its origins and how it was created or modified over time; what kind of data it contains; how well the data has been curated over time; what other datasets might be related to it; who owns the the data and any restrictions on its use.
Active metadata can be used to create new datasets and to improve existing ones. It makes it possible for people who don’t have access to your data sources or collections to use your data. Active metadata is also important because it helps reduce the risk of misinterpretation, misuse and abuse of your data.
Active metadata is one of the most important things you can do to improve your data quality. In general, the more active metadata you include in your datasets, the better they will be understood and used by people across the business.
Benefits of Active Metadata
Active metadata is beneficial to data quality, governance, and access. Active metadata provides:
Data Quality – Active metadata can be used to improve the quality of data. For example, it can be used to filter out duplicate records before they are entered into the system, or it can be used for validation purposes (e.g., ensuring that the correct fields are populated). Active metadata helps organizations keep track of changes made to their data over time, which gives them the ability to ensure that it remains accurate and consistent. This can be especially useful when there is a need for multiple people or teams to collaborate on projects from different locations around the world.
Data Governance – Active metadata improves your ability to monitor how each record evolves over time and where different copies of a given piece of information reside in your organization’s various applications and repositories. This helps you gain visibility into your data sources which helps you better manage changes; track down errors; detect fraud; comply with regulatory requirements; protect against identity theft; etc.
Improved Data Accessibility – Active metadata makes it easier to discover relevant information from different sources because it allows users to search across both structured/unstructured data and other non-traditional types such as images or videos without needing any programming skills whatsoever! This capability also enables compliance with industry regulations such as GDPR by giving organizations greater visibility into their operations while enabling them meet audit requirements more easily than ever before possible using traditional methods alone.
Improved Data Security – Active metadata can help you protect against cybercrime by ensuring that your organization’s data is correctly labeled and linked so that it can be leveraged for the purposes of compliance with industry regulations. Every Critical Data Element can be labeled so that wherever it is viewed, its access controls and usage restrictions are known. This helps prevent unauthorized access to sensitive information, which is especially important when dealing with personally identifiable data such as names, addresses, social security numbers etc.
To get the most out of your data and metadata, you need to make it actionable with active metadata.
Active metadata is the intersection of data and metadata. It’s what makes your data actionable, allowing you to take advantage of it in a way that can help you make better business decisions. Enterprise data governance is moving toward an active metadata model because traditional passive models of metadata management have not delivered the ideal business results.
Active metadata is an important part of any organization that wants to leverage their information assets for competitive advantage, which means almost all organizations these days. The more actively you can use your data and metadata, the more value you’ll get out of them—and active metadata helps you do just that by making sure the right information gets into the hands of those who need it most at the right time.
To learn more about active metadata and why it is the next stage of enterprise data governance, request a free, personalized demo of Alex: