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Metadata Discovery & the Countdown to GDPR

In under two weeks, the General Data Protection Regulation will take effect and companies processing data about European residents are going to have to prove that they’ve take steps to protect their data. But, do they understand how critical metadata discovery is to the process?

Octopai’s machine learning-based technology centralizes metadata from across multiple systems, analyzes it, and makes it searchable so BI groups can locate data and understand everything they need to know about it in a very quick, easy and accurate way. Instead of using manual methods or silo-based tools, all metadata is centralized in one place so it is really quick and easy to find what you’re looking for. There is no preparation or customization. All you have to do is enter the name of the report you want to find and Octopai will search for it in all ETL processes, tables & views, and reports.

To meet GDPR requirements enterprises must:

*Understand the business’s information assets and information risks

*Identify and understand the current supply chain

*Perform a data protection impact assessment (DPIA)

*Employ a data protection officer (DPO) in certain cases

*Deploy appropriate and adequate security measures

*Implement data security incident notifications

*Secure affirmative consent to process personal data

*Have procedures in place for data subjects to access, correct, erase and shield their personal information

To put it simply, organizations everywhere need to be able find and understand their data. To put it not so simply, they’ll need to manually map through their organization’s multiple BI systems like PowerBI, Cognos, Informatica, DataStage etc. to discover and intimately interact with their data. They’ll need to know it backwards and forwards, inside and out, where it originated, who had access to it, which changes it underwent and when, where it resides and how it it affects other data items.

Don’t underestimate the value of metadata & metadata discovery

When you need to know everything there is to know about your data, metadata should be one of your first stops. Metadata is your inventory management system. It is metadata that tells you what you have and enables you to manage your data, much like a catalog or item master. So, if you suspect faulty data for example, and need to figure out how a certain number got into a report, it’s critical to consider the important role of metadata and metadata discovery.

Let’s think about the following scenario ahead of GDPR:

A business user discovers an empty field in a certain report he needs for GDPR purposes, so he asks the BI Analyst to find out what happened. In order to understand the structure of the report and the data elements in the report, the BI group has to reverse engineer all the ETL processes all the way back until they landed in that specific report.

How long did it take the team to sort this? It’s no surprise that it took not one analyst, but 2 analysts, the whole of 5 days to manual map out the entire data journey to discover what led to this empty field. That’s a really long time and a waste of resources – for what?

Don’t forget about impact analysis

The analysts found that a formula in a related report had been modified, which had impacted this report the way it had. Why didn’t the team who modified the report check to make sure all reports connected to that report were all working properly when they made a change? The simple answer is that it was nearly impossible to do that. Really.  

Until Octopai, there was no easy or accurate way to know and locate which reports were associated with that specific report, so there was no way to understand the relationship process or analyze the impact of that specific change. Now with Octopai’s technology, BI analysts have the ability to reverse engineer all the data in a report and understand impact analysis instantly.

Octopai enables trust and traceability of the data and the ability to drill down and understand source to target within seconds. Projects that used to take BI analysts weeks or months are taking them days and even seconds, and they can focus their efforts on actually drawing insights from the data instead of searching for it all day long.

The business is always changing, and so reporting must reflect those changes. Every time someone has to go in and make a change to a certain report, it is critical to check all related reports, which can often be damaged when there are changes made to ETL processes.

Find the data in 5 seconds, become GDPR compliant

Organizations need to be able to trust their data and to know that their understanding of the data is 100 percent accurate so that when a data subject demands for example that their credit card information be erased, they can guarantee this. This is why GDPR is such a big deal. Organizations just don’t have the ability to find and understand their data to the degree that GDPR demands, and this is why so many are looking at implementing a data management strategy that incorporates a metadata discovery and data lineage tool to help them get in shape for compliance.


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