What is the difference between Metadata and Data?

What is the difference between Metadata and Data?

“Data is content, and metadata is context. Metadata can be much more revealing than data, especially when collected in the aggregate.” 

— Bruce Schneier, Data and Goliath.

DEFINITIONS OF METADATA AND DATA

For the majority of people, the concepts of Metadata and Data are unclear. Even though both are a form of data, their uses and specifications are completely different.

Data is a collection of information such as observations, measurements, facts, and descriptions of certain things. It gives you the ability to discover patterns and trends in all of an enterprise’s data assets.

On the other hand, Metadata, often defined as “data on data”, refers to specific details on these data. It provides granular information on one specific data such as file type, format, origin, date, etc.

KEY DIFFERENCES BETWEEN METADATA AND DATA

The main difference between Data and Metadata is that data is simply the content that can provide a description, measurement, or even a report on anything relative to an enterprise’s data assets. On the other hand, metadata describes the relevant information on said data, giving them more context for data users.

Some data is informative and some may not be; such as “raw” data (numbers, or non-informative characters). However, metadata is always informative as it is a reference to other data.

Finally, data can or cannot be processed, as raw data is always considered unprocessed data. The difference with metadata is that metadata is always considered to be processed information.

WHY IS METADATA IMPORTANT FOR DATA MANAGEMENT

When data is created, so is metadata (its origin, format, type, etc.). However, this type of information is not enough to properly manage data in this expanding digital era; data managers must invest time in making sure this business asset is properly named, tagged, stored, and archived in a taxonomy that is consistent with all of the other assets in the enterprise. This is what we call, “metadata management.”

With better metadata management comes better data value. This metadata allows for enterprises to assure greater Data quality and discovery, allowing data teams to better understand their data. Without metadata, enterprise find themselves with datasets without context, and data without context has little value.

This is why having a proper metadata management solution is critical for enterprises dealing with data. By implementing a metadata management platform, data users are able to discover, understand, and trust in their enterprise’s data assets.

Are you looking for a metadata management solution?

The Chief Data Officer’s evolution to a Data Democracy Sponsor

The Chief Data Officer’s evolution to a Data Democracy Sponsor

Under the pressure of digital transformation, Chief Data Officers (CDO) have appeared within large companies. According to Gartner, 90% of large companies will have a CDO by the end of 2019.

The thousands of CDOs appointed in the course of the past few years were in charge of improving efficiency and capacity to create value for their organization’s information ecosystem. That is to say, they were invited to direct their organization in processing and exploiting information with the same discipline as the other, more traditional, assets.

Companies who valorize their information assets surpass their rivals in using them to reinvent, digitize, or eliminate existing processes or products.

The CDO’s missions can be summarized as exploiting and finding uses for corporate data as well as being in charge of developing the use of and trust of employees regarding internal enterprise data. As we have seen, these missions often collide with the powerful cultural restraints within organizations.

HOW HAVE THE CHIEF DATA OFFICER’S MISSIONS EVOLVED

The CDO has many responsibilities. Gartner identified the main responsibilities of a CDO during their 2019 Data & Analytics event in London. These are, among others:

  • Defining a data and analytics strategy in their organization
  • Supervising operational initiatives in response to the established upstream strategy
  • Ensuring information made available on data is trustworthy and valuable
  • Constructing data governance
  • Creating business value in data analytics
  • Managing efforts regarding data science
  • Operating and maintaining efforts in infrastructure in response to data analysis needs
  • Etc.

We believe that this impressive list of responsibilities is complemented by another, which could serve as a common thread for all the others and facilitate them: promoting Data Democracy and supporting cultural changes.

At first, CDOs had to lead a mission to convince interest organizations to exploit data. The first few years of this mission were often supported by the construction of a data universe adapted to new uses, often in the form of a Data Lake or Data Mart. The investments agreed upon to construct these data universes were significant but often reserved to specialists. In brief, organizations had more so implemented Data Aristocracies rather than Data Democracies.

THE CDO TOWARDS A NEW ROLE

 With the exponential development of data, the role of the CDO took a new scope. From now on CDOs must reconsider the organization in a cross-functional and globalizing way. They must become the new leaders in Data Democracy within companies and respond to the call of numerous data citizens who have understood that the way in which data is processed must change radically. The new CDOs must break the bonds of data silos.

In order to obtain the support for data initiatives from all employees, they must not only support them in understanding data (original context, production, etc.) but also help them to invest in the production strategy and the exploitation of data.

From now on, the involvement of stakeholders in the exploitation of data must extend to all levels of the enterprise. It is by facilitating understanding, exchanges, and access around data that organizations will become data-driven.

DOWNLOAD OUR WHITE PAPER “HOW DOES DATA DEMOCRACY STRENGTHEN AGILE DATA GOVERNANCE?”

In order not to commit every employee to a level which is above them, and to respect their desires and limitations, a participatory approach will lead to the implementation of multi-disciplinary teams that will welcome the necessary skills and adequate positions for the deployment of agile data governance. Read more about the Chief Data Officer new role in governance in our white paper.

Understanding the different Data Cultures

Understanding the different Data Cultures

Just like corporate or organizational culture, each enterprise that deals with data has its own data culture. We believe that what distinguishes Web Giants isn’t the structure of their governance, but the culture that irrigates and animates this organization.

At Zeenea, we believe in putting in place a Data Democracy. It refers to corporate culture, an open model where freedom rhymes with responsibility.

To better understand Data Democracy, it is necessary to compare it to other data cultures. Here are the main data cultures:

 

DATA ANARCHY

In this system, operational professions feel poorly served by their IT departments, and each one develops its own clandestine base (shadow IT) which serves their immediate interests while freeing them from all control regulations and conformity to standards. In 2019, this culture brings sizeable risks: data leaks, contravention of ethical regulations, service quality degradation, reinforcement of silos, etc.

 

DATA MONARCHY

This system translates to a very strong asymmetry in data access depending on the hierarchical position. Data, here, is very strictly controlled; its consolidation level is carefully aligned with the organizational structure, and its distribution is very selective.

This monarchical culture prevailed for a long time in Business Intelligence (BI) projects: data collected in data warehouses were carefully controlled, then consolidated in reports where access was reserved to a few select people who were close to decision-making bodies. This method promotes a “top-down” approach and willingly encourages a defensive strategy, where rules, restrictions, and regulations insulate data. Its main theoretical benefit is the almost infallible control over corporate data, but that translates into very limited access to data, only reserved to certain privileged groups.

 

DATA ARISTOCRACY

A Data Aristocracy is characterized by a more significant degree of freedom than in Data Monarchy, but which is solely reserved to a very select subset of the population, mainly expert profiles such as Data Engineers, Data Analysts, Data Scientists, etc. This aristocratic approach is often the one that brings the most successful data governance projects to the surface.

Such a culture can be favorable to more offensive strategies, as well as to heterogeneous one, combining top-down and bottom-up. However, it deprives the majority of employees access to data and thus, a certain number of possible innovations and valorizations.

DATA DEMOCRACY

Data Democracy’s main objective is to make a company’s data widely accessible to the greatest number of people, if not to all. In practice, every employee is able to pull data values at any level. This freedom of access offers maximum opportunities to create value for the company; it provides each employee with the ability, at their level, to use all accessible and compatible resources within their needs in order to produce locally, and through a trickle effect, it will benefit the entire company.

This freedom only works if the regulations and the basic tools are implemented, and each employee is responsible for how they use their data. Therefore, the distribution of necessary and sufficient information is required to allow employees to make proper use of it while adhering to regulations.

DOWNLOAD OUR WHITE PAPER “HOW DOES DATA DEMOCRACY STRENGTHEN AGILE DATA GOVERNANCE?”

 

The democratic data culture presents an interesting challenge to balance: on one hand, you must ensure that the right to use data can truly be exercised, and on the other hand you must counterbalance this right with a certain number of duties. Find out how to construct a democratic data culture in our white paper, “How does Data Democracy strengthen Agile Data Governance?”.

Data Stewardship and Governance: The Data Steward’s Multiple Facets

Data Stewardship and Governance: The Data Steward’s Multiple Facets

Where Stewardship refers to the taking care of and the supervision of a specific property or organization, Data Stewardship refers to data supervision. Initially, the idea was that a domain expert would be in charge with qualifying and documenting data from their professional standpoint. In fact, Data Stewards are those who work closest to where the data is collected; they are often those who best understand the different aspects of data and the standards to which they must adhere to.

 

DATA STEWARDSHIP AND GOVERNANCE: THE RESPONSIBILITIES

 

In practice, Data Stewardship covers a wide range of responsibilities, depending on the maturity level of the organization. We can organize these responsibilities in four broad categories:

OPERATIONAL SUPERVISION AND QUALITY

This refers to monitoring and supervising the complete life cycle of a dataset. More specifically, Data Stewards must define, and therefore implement, the necessary processes for the acquisition, storage, and distribution of datasets.

They must also ensure that the data produced fulfills the quality criteria that were defined (values, gaps, completeness, freshness, etc.) and that the procedures are put into place to evaluate and correct potential quality problems.

DOCUMENTATION

A Data Steward is in charge of defining and documenting data and creating a glossary of industry-specific terms. They must ensure that each element of a dataset possesses a clear definition and a specific use.

The documentation constitutes a collection of technical and functional metadata according to a meta model in common principle.

CONFORMITY AND RISK MANAGEMENT

Data protection and the management of regulatory risks or ethics is one of the most challenging aspects of the Data Steward’s role. The regulatory environment around data is more restrictive and shifting. It’s up to them to ensure that the proliferation of data is framed by a collection of protocols ensuring conformity with the applicable standards – especially regarding privacy protection.

SECURITY AND ACCESS CONTROL

Finally, Data Stewards must define the rules governing data access, including the different levels of confidentiality and procedures, allowing the authorization of a person or group to access data.

DOWNLOAD OUR WHITE PAPER “HOW DOES DATA DEMOCRACY STRENGTHEN AGILE DATA GOVERNANCE”

 

Orchestrated by a Data Management division, implemented by different types of Data Stewards, data governance must be deployed in an organization. To ensure this deployment, several operational models are conceivable in theory – decentralized, federated, centralized, etc. We think what distinguishes organizations is not the structure of their governance but the underlying culture of this organization. This culture has a name: Data Democracy.

What is a Chief Data Officer

What is a Chief Data Officer

According to a Gartner study presented at the Data & Analytics conference in London 2019, 90% of large companies will have a CDO by 2020!

With the arrival of Big Data, many companies find themselves with colossal amounts of data without knowing how to exploit them. In response to this challenge, a new function is emerging within these large companies: the Chief Data Officer.

THE CHIEF DATA OFFICER’S ROLE

 

Considered as data “gurus”, Chief Data Officers (CDO) play a key role in an enterprise’s data strategy. They are in charge of improving the organization’s overall efficiency and the capacity to create value around their data. In order for CDOs to fulfill their missions, they must reflect on providing high-quality, managed, and secure data assets. In other words, they must find the right balance between an offensive and defensive data governance strategy that matches the enterprise’s needs.

According to the Gartner study, presented at their annual Data & Analytics event in London in March 2019, the CDO, among other things, has several important responsibilities within a company:

DEFINE A DATA & ANALYTICS STRATEGY

What are the short, medium, and long-term data objectives? How can I implement a data culture within my enterprise? How can I democratize data access? How can I measure my data assets quality? How can I attain internal and/or legal regulatory compliance? How can I empower my data users?

There are so many questions that CDOs must ask themselves in order to implement a data & analytics strategy in their organization.

Once the issues have been identified, it is time for operational initiatives. A CDO acts as a supervisor so that the efforts made in providing data information are trustworthy and valuable.

Their role takes shape over time. They must become the new “Data Democracy” leaders within their companies and maintain the investment provided for its infrastructure and organization.

BUILD DATA GOVERNANCE

Implementing data governance must successfully combine compliance with increasingly demanding regulatory requirements and the exploitation of as much data as possible in all areas of an enterprise. To achieve this goal, a CDO must first ask themselves a few questions:

  • What data do I have in my organization?
  • Are these data sufficiently documented to be understood and managed by my collaborators?
  • Where do they come from?
  • Are they secure?
  • What rules or restrictions apply to my data?
  • Who is responsible for them?
  • Who uses my data? And how?
  • How can my collaborators access them?

It’s by building agile data governance in the most offensive way possible that
CDOs will be able to facilitate data access and ensure their quality in order to add value to them.

EVANGELIZE A “DATA DEMOCRACY” CULTURE

Data Democracy refers to the idea that if each employee, with full awareness, can easily access as much data as possible, an enterprise as a whole will reap the benefits. This right to access data comes with duties and responsibilities, including contributing to maintaining the highest level of data quality and documentation. Therefore, governance is no longer the sole preserve of a few, but becomes everyone’s business.

To achieve this mission, Zeenea connects and federates teams around data through a common language. Our data catalog allows anyone – with the allotted allowances – to discover and trust in an enterprise’s data assets.

ARE YOU A CHIEF DATA OFFICER IN NEED OF A DATA GOVERNANCE TOOL?

In order for Chief Data Officers achieve their objectives, they need to be equipped with the right tools. With Zeenea’s data catalog, CDOs can identify their data assets, make them accessible and usable by their collaborators in order to be valorized. Easy to use and intuitive, our data catalog is the CDO’s indispensable tool for implementing agile data governance. Contact us for more information.

How does Data Democracy strengthen Agile Data Governance?

How does Data Democracy strengthen Agile Data Governance?

In 2018, we published our first white paper “Why start an agile data governance?”. Our goal was to present a pragmatic approach on the attributes of such data governance, one that is capable of rising to the challenges of this new age of information: We advocate for it to be bottom-up, non-invasive, automated and iterative. In a word, agile.

In this second edition, we decided to tackle the organization of this new agile data governance and its scaling process using the same mindset.

We believe that what distinguishes Web Giants in their approach to their data isn’t the structure of their governance but the culture that irrigates and animates their organization. This culture has a name: Data Democracy.

Our white paper will address the following themes:

 

ASSESSING DATA GOVERNANCE

Our white paper assess the different governance bodies that we come across in traditional organizations today. The latter often takes on a defensive approach, usually inherited from Master Data Management or from larger initiatives for implementing information systems governance. Very centralized, sometimes bureaucratic, they focus on data control and conformity, often resulting in limiting data access among all company employees.

THE CONCEPT OF DATA DEMOCRACY

In order to understand what Data Democracy is, it is important to know that it is not a governance model. Data Democracy refers to a corporate culture, an open model where liberty goes hand in hand with responsibility.

Data Democracy’s main objective is to make a company’s data widely accessible to the greatest number of people, if not to all. In practice, every employee is able to pull data values at any level.

A democratic approach presents an interesting challenge to balance: on the one hand, you must ensure that the right to use data can truly be exercised, and on the other hand you must counterbalance this right with a certain number of duties.

 

BUILDING A DATA DEMOCRACY

The adoption of a data culture can only work if everyone benefits, hence the importance of communication previously mentioned when discussing rights and responsibilities. The balance between the two must be positive in the end, and governance must not introduce more restrictions than gains. Finally, the results must be made easier.

To enable everyone to find the necessary information. That is the main objective of a data catalog, which must, even more so than its basic function (referencing data and associated metadata), offer simplicity of use in order to navigate through an ocean of information.

 

THE NEW ROLES OF AGILE DATA GOVERNANCE

Under the pressure of digital transformation, new roles appear within large companies.

THE CHIEF DATA OFFICER : THE AGILE DATA GOVERNANCE SPONSOR

Among them, there is the Chief Data Officer, or CDO. They are in charge of improving efficiency and the capacity to create value for the information ecosystem of their organization.

With the exponential development of data, the role of the CDO took on a new scope. From now on, CDOs must reconsider the organization in a cross-functional and globalizing way, and governance and corporate data management technology in enterprises.

They must become the new leaders in “Data Democracy” within companies and must respond to the call of numerous “data citizens” who have understood that the way in which data is processed must change radically. The new CDOs must break the bonds of data silos.

ARE WE ALL DATA STEWARDS?

The concept of Data Stewardship stems from a much more traditional model. The organizations that already have Data Stewards tend to be quite large and established.

Everyone who uses sensitive data engages their responsibility regarding the way they use it. The regulations for the protection of sensitive data – regulatory or internal – must be applied in the same manner for all those who enter contact with it.

This dedication to involving everyone helps distribute responsibility for data, giving a broader sense of ownership, which encourages users to explore data themselves, and lastly decompartmentalizes data.

DOWNLOAD OUR WHITE PAPER : “HOW DOES DATA DEMOCRACY STRENGTHEN AGILE DATA GOVERNANCE?

To know more about the organization of agile data governance, the definition of Data Democracy, and its new roles, download our second edition “How does Data Democracy strengthen agile data governance?”