Like any good puzzle, metadata management comes with a lot of complex variables. If not defined in a consistent manner, these variables can be as scattered and misleading as a large dataset is on its own.
That’s why you need to use data dictionary tools, which can help organize your metadata into an archive that can be navigated with ease and from which you can derive good information to power informed decision-making. Let’s look at some specific benefits that can be expected from the construction of a data dictionary.
You know what a dictionary is, but what is a Data Dictionary?
There’s a distinction between a data dictionary and a business glossary. A data dictionary is a tool that organizes and describes different variables indicated by metadata associated with a dataset.
A business glossary, sometimes referred to as a data glossary, is a broader tool. It defines terminology used by multiple departments across an enterprise. A business glossary should be understandable by anyone in the company.
A data dictionary is a tool specialized for IT system analysts and anyone who modifies those systems. Beyond this, a business data dictionary allows you to set more detailed parameters about the data. These include:
- Columns that contain unique identifiers, allowing for easier data navigation
- Permissible inputs for particular data, such as the allowed values in a specific row or column
- Text descriptions of data objects that allow for greater interpretation and application of data than a basic label
Having a data dictionary means any potential user will be able to understand the data in a data warehouse. By defining the metadata that is created by the data stored in the system, you can isolate relevant information and identify which variables impact the results of the data.
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Why Have a Data Dictionary?
#1 Reason: There’s too much metadata to keep in one person’s head.
In large datasets, metadata management can suffer from the same limitations as raw data. Quite simply, there can be too much metadata for any one person to organize and maintain.
Try to memorize an Excel file. Remember the titles and qualifications of every row and cell, and you’ll know what we mean.
Beyond making metadata easier to identify and locate, a data dictionary also allows for the construction of reports and dashboards. These give users more information for stronger business decisions.
A data dictionary is a resource useful for many different teams, including designers, programmers, and application builders. Improvements are delivered to multiple processes across your enterprise organization.
Get Good Stuff by Having a Data Dictionary
The Top 10 Benefits of a Data Dictionary
A data dictionary will deliver a wide array of benefits for the BI & Analytics team, which will improve the operations of the company.
These benefits include:
- Better data consistency
- Compliance with all legal data regulation requirements
- Elimination of data redundancies
- Established data ownership
- Faster and more accurate data analysis
- Higher quality data
- Improved utilization of existing data
- More efficient programming
- Stronger standard enforcement across datasets
- Superior categorization of incoming data
All these improvements work together to allow for a better understanding of the diverse data elements at your fingertips. An improved process promotes the use of information in an efficient manner and allows relevant information to be reused.
Thus, a data dictionary will reduce the hours your team needs to produce actionable insight. Your team of analysts will be able to perform higher quality assessments with a lower deployment of resources.
Streamline Your Enterprise Metadata and More Ways to Get Organized
Some business intelligence teams feel they have accomplished enough by isolating their metadata. While this is an important step, it’s only one part of the journey toward improving data quality for the entire company.
Create an enterprise data dictionary to manage your metadata and help your company make stronger decisions using the best information available to you. While putting together a data dictionary can be a daunting task, automated data dictionary tools provided by Octopai make it manageable.