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Metadata Management 101

How can metadata help you realise the true quality and value of your data? Metadata Management puts your data into context. The key is understanding where it comes from, why it exists and how relevant it is…

What is Metadata?

Metadata, put simply, is data about data. Whenever data is captured, moved within your organisation, integrated with other data, profiled, used, analysed, or accessed by users - metadata is generated.

Metadata management provides you with the frameworks, processes, and tools to understand the context of that data.

Once you have a process in place to manage your metadata, you will know where your data comes from, why it exists and how relevant it is - making it truly valuable. Using best of breed technologies, we are able to gather and store the answers to these questions.

Metadata management allows you to have confidence in decisions made using data, giving you fast access to important insights that are easy to understand, giving you the correct context to guide strategic and operational decision-making.

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What does Metadata Management encompass?

Metadata management is a broad term for a lot of functionalities.

Its core functionality is to enable you to search and identify key attributes of data assets. It will consolidate metadata from various data sources and repositories to form a single source of contextual information, which will allow you to easily discover and define your organisation’s metadata all in one place.

Metadata management organises and structures data in a way that is accessible and uniform so that the whole business can understand it. For a metadata management framework to be successful, there should be tooling in place to allow for the capturing of business terms, standards, and other data artefacts. In addition, you will have processes and methods for managing, using, and sharing this metadata with those that need it. All of this combined will help facilitate good data quality and governance.


Metadata management also allows for a clear vision of the flow and lineage data, to see how it is utilised across the organisation, and how it impacts the business. This view of metadata empowers stakeholders to take ownership and manage responsibilities for data that is relevant in the context of their roles.

So, what does ‘successful’ metadata management include?

Metadata management answers lots of important questions about data, but the key parts of what makes up ‘successful metadata management’ should include the below:

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Why it’s important?

Metadata is all about enabling and empowering different groups of stakeholders to search, query and understand everything they need to know about their data. It’s about adding transparency to complex data ecosystems and enabling people to use simple processes and tools to understand the “data about data”.

Without reliable metadata management, an organisation doesn’t know what data it has, what it represents, where it originates, how it moves through systems, who has access to it… etcetera.

As data culture continues to boom, metadata management has become increasingly important. Companies are both generating and consuming data in huge quantities. Consequently, understanding the context of data has become vital for data governance and general management.

It’s now more important than ever and companies that want to “treat data as an asset”, can’t do so without a metadata management solution.

Think of it this way… it’s the equivalent to money being seen as an asset. Imagine not knowing which bank accounts your money sits in, who the company shareholders are, who your customers/suppliers are, or even worse – not knowing how much money you have or how much you can spend!

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To truly understand the value of your data, you need to have a knowledge of its background and how it integrates with other data. Through metadata management, you will have one centralised piece of technology that stores all this knowledge. It will be organised in a simple and accessible way so you can fully harness your data’s value.

At Comma, we combine metadata management with machine learning and human knowledge to create a fully integrated service with our partner Alex Solutions. We can help no matter what stage of your data management journey you are on. Get in touch or download our Metadata Management guide to find out more.

Download our Metadata Management guide

Download our guide, 3 Top Tips to Better Metadata Management, written by Arun Chandar, Head of Data Services at Comma. In this guide he explains how you can realise value from knowing the data about your data.

Download now