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What is Data Lineage?

September 13, 2021

In order to access and exploit your data assets on a regular basis, your organization will need to know everything about your data! This includes its origins, transformations over time, and overall life cycle. All of this knowledge can be gathered from Data Lineage! 

In this article, we will define Data Lineage, give an analogy, and explain its main benefits for data-driven organizations. 

After human resources, data has become the most valuable asset for business today. 

It is the foundation that links companies, clients, and partners together. Knowing this, data must be preserved and leveraged as it contains all of an organization’s intelligence.

However, with great information, comes great responsibility for those who manage or use this data. On one hand they must identify the data that reveals strategic insights for the company, and on the other, they must appropriate the right security measures to prevent devastating financial and reputational consequences. 

With the arrival of data compliance laws such as the BCBS-239 or the GDPR, the person in charge (usually the DPO) of data compliance must put in place transparent conditions to ensure that no data will be exploited to the detriment of a customer. 

This is where Data Lineage intervenes. Behind the word lineage lies an essential concept: data traceability. This traceability covers the entire life cycle of the data, from its collection to its use, storage and preservation over time.

 

How Data Lineage works

As mentioned above, the purpose of Data Lineage is to ensure the absolute traceability of your data assets. This traceability is not limited to knowing the source of an information. It goes much further than that! 

To understand the nature of lineage information, let’s use a little analogy.

Imagine that you are dining in a gourmet restaurant. The menu includes dishes with poetic names, composed of many more or less exotic ingredients, some of which are foreign to you. When the waiter brings you your plate, you taste, appreciate, and wonder about the origin of what you are eating.

Depending on your point of view, you will not expect the same answer.

As a fine cuisine enthusiast, you will want to know how the different ingredients were transformed and assembled to obtain the finished product. You will want to know the different steps of preparation, the cooking technique, the duration, the condiments used, the seasoning, etc. In short, you are interested in the most technical aspects of the final preparation: the recipe.

As a controller, you will focus more on the complete supply and processing chain: who the suppliers are, places and conditions of breeding or cultivation of raw products, transport, packaging, cutting and preparation, etc. You will also want to make sure that this supply chain complies with the various labels or appellations that the restaurant owner highlights (origin of ingredients, organic, “home-made”, AOC, AOP, etc.).

Others may focus on the historical and cultural dimensions – from what region or tradition is the dish derived or inspired from? When and by whom was it originally created? Others (admittedly rarer) will wonder about the phylogenetic origin of the breed of veal prepared by the chef…

In short, when it comes to gastronomy, the question of origin does not wait for a unique and homogeneous answer. And the same is true for data.

Indeed, with Data Lineage, you will have access to a real-time data monitoring tool.

Once collected, the data is constantly monitored in order to :

  • detect and monitor any errors in your data processing,
  • manage and continuously monitor all process changes while minimizing the risks of data degradation,
  • manage data migrations,
  • have a 360° view on metadata.

Data Lineage ensures that your data comes from a reliable and controlled source, that the transformations it has undergone are known, monitored, and legitimate, and that it is available in the right place, at the right time and for the right user. 

Acting as a control tool, the main mission of Data Lineage is to validate the accuracy and consistency of your data. 

How do you do this? By allowing your employees to conduct research on the entire life cycle of the data, both upstream and downstream, from the source of the data to its final destination, in order to detect and isolate any anomalies and correct them.

 

The main advantages of Data Lineage

The first benefit of Data Lineage has to do with compliance. It helps identify and map all of the data production and exploitation processes and limits your exposure to the risk of non-compliance of personal data. 

Data Lineage also facilitates data governance because it provides your company and its employees with a complete repository describing your data flows and metadata. This knowledge is essential to design a 100% operational data architecture. 

Data Lineage makes it easier to automate the documentation of your data production flows. So, if you are planning to increase the importance of data in your development strategy, Data Lineage will allow you to save a considerable amount of time in the deployment of projects where data is key. 

Finally, the last major benefit of Data Lineage concerns your employees themselves. With data whose origin, quality and reliability are guaranteed by Data Lineage, they can fully rely on your data flows and base their daily actions on this indispensable asset. 

Save time, guarantee the compliance of your data, make the action of your teams more fluid while inscribing your company in a new dimension, based on an uncompromising data strategy… Don’t wait any longer, get started now!

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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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