A data dictionary, the hub for the IT side of business intelligence & analytics, provides all the technical information and small details about your data. Often referred to as a guide, data dictionaries help translate data level business requirements into technical requirements, in a simple and structured format. Data dictionaries can store data attributes and properties such as data fields, definition, data type, data value, etc., basically any data that needs to be defined and stored.
So, what is so useful about a data dictionary?
Often presented clearly and neatly in spreadsheets, the purpose of creating a data dictionary is to help reduce time spent searching and weaving through data by creating a one-stop-shop for the IT teams in businesses.
Additional benefits of data dictionaries include:
- Management of metadata – Metadata management is critical for businesses to make well-informed decisions regarding their data.
- Quick reference – IT teams can identify within seconds which inputs should be modified or included in order to meet project goals.
- Focal point for information – Serves as the focal point for all metadata management.
- Point of reference – Analysts refer back to it when communicating different terms and procedures.
This holy grail of information, the data dictionary, will remain a point of reference for IT teams for future projects, but will require ongoing maintenance for proper metrics.
However, with the proper attention of inputting and organizing data, data dictionaries are extremely important to maintaining consistency when building data warehouses, reports, and dashboards.