Data mapping, the key to regulatory compliance

February 23, 2021
February 23, 2021
23 February 2021

Regardless of the business sector, data management is a key strategic asset for companies. This information is key to innovate on tomorrow’s products and services. In addition, with the rise of new technologies such as Big Data, IoT or artificial intelligence, organizations are collecting exponential volumes of data, from different sources and in a variety of formats.

In addition, with increasingly strict data regulations such as the GDPR, data processing now requires the implementation of appropriate security measures to protect against information leaks and abusive processing. 

The challenge lies in re-appropriating its data assets. In other words, companies are looking for solutions to maintain data mapping that reflects their operational reality. 


What is data mapping?

Let’s go back to the basics: data mapping allows users to evaluate and graphically visualize data entry points as well as their processes. There are several types of information to be mapped, such as:

  • The information on data
  • The data processes themselves

Information on data

The idea of data mapping is to work on data semantics (the analysis of word meanings and relations between them). 

This work is not done on data itself, but rather on metadata. Metadata gives meaning and context to data, which in term enables a better understanding of it. It can represent the data’s “business” name, its technical name, its location, when it was stored, by whom, etc… 

By setting up semantic rules and a common data language through a business glossary, companies can identify and locate their data, and thus facilitate access to data for all employees.

On data processes

Concerning data processing, it is important to identify :

  • data flows: with their sources and destinations,
  • data transformations: all the transformations applied to the data during its processing.

A powerful tool : Data Lineage

Data lineage is defined as the data’s life cycle and shows all of the transformations that took place between its initial state and its final state. 

Data lineage is strongly linked to data mapping and processing; it is essential to see which data are concerned by these processes and be able to analyze the impacts very quickly. For example, if a process anomaly has caused a corruption, it is possible to know which data is potentially affected.

In another case, the mapping from a data point of view must be able to tell which data sets the data comes from.  Thus, one can quickly analyze the impacts of a change in the source data set by quickly finding the related data. 


The benefits of implementing data mapping

With a mapping solution, companies can therefore respond to data regulations, in particular the GDPR, by answering these questions:

  • Who? Who is responsible for the data or a processing operation? Data protection? Who are the possible subcontractors?
  • What?  What is the nature of the data collected? Is it sensitive data?
  • Why? Can we justify the purpose of collecting and processing the information?
  • Where? Where is the data stored? In what database? 
  • Until when? What is the retention period for each category of data?
  • How? How is it stored? What is the framework and what security measures are in place for the secure collection and storage of personal data?

By answering these questions, IT Managers, Data Lab Managers, Business Analysts and Data Scientists are able to make their work on data relevant and efficient.

These highlighted questions allow companies to comply with regulations but also to :

  • Improve data quality: Providing as much information as possible to allow users to know if the data is suitable for use.
  • Make employees more efficient and autonomous in understanding data through graphical and ergonomic data mapping. 
  • Analyze data in depth, so that better decisions can be made based on the data and ultimately become a data-driven organization.


It is by having properly mapped information that an enterprise will be able to leverage its data. Quality data analysis is only possible with data that is properly documented, tracked, and accessible to all. 

Are you looking for a data mapping tool?


You can learn more about our data catalog solution by visiting the links below:

Zeenea Data Catalog

Zeenea Studio – the solution for data managers

Zeenea Explorer – making your data teams’ daily life easier

 or directly schedule an appointment for a demo of our solution


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At Zeenea, we work hard to create a data fluent world by providing our customers with the tools and services that allow enterprises to be data driven.

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Chez Zeenea, notre objectif est de créer un monde “data fluent” en proposant à nos clients une plateforme et des services permettant aux entreprises de devenir data-driven.

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Das Ziel von Zeenea ist es, unsere Kunden "data-fluent" zu machen, indem wir ihnen eine Plattform und Dienstleistungen bieten, die ihnen datengetriebenes Arbeiten ermöglichen.

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