Data, in the world in which we live, is extremely important. But are you familiar with the term “metadata”? In a nutshell, this is data about your data. The file format, for example, the definition of a data field and the associated databases. If you’re really serious about getting value from your data, it is crucial to also analyse its metadata. Given the right tools, you could start doing so immediately – and you don’t have to be an IT professional either.


Data about data 

Here’s a simple illustration: right-click on a file and you’ll find all kinds of details under “Properties”. This includes things like file extensions, the word count, timestamps and even the date on which the file was created. These details are what we call metadata: data about your documents. You could see it as the genetic makeup of your data, not unlike DNA.


Back to the future

Early metadata tools date back to before 2000. These were mainly data inventories, that stored data so that it could be made available to IT users. Driven by the development of big data, data stewardship and data-management tools, since 2010 there has been a shift towards making metadata available for the entire company, as opposed to just the IT department.

During the past two years, more and more data warehouses and apps have been unlocked to make them accessible to all users in an organisation. At the same time, the fact that business information is now migrated to the cloud has increased the demand for effective metadata tools. And that – together with having a user-friendly interface – explains the significant attention now being paid to all kinds of new data tools.

The latest version of metadata tooling is Data Catalog 3.0. There are now several tools on the market, and various cloud providers are developing applications that offer Data Catalog 3.0 functions.


User-friendly metadata tools

In the past, it was difficult to show the value of metadata, but nowadays you don’t need to be a seasoned IT professional to really get to grips with it. The current generation of tools are very user-friendly, which means that practically everyone in an organisation can use them. By improving the configuration of data lineage, for example, you can manage metadata even more efficiently.

There are more advantages too. Not only do these tools enable you to structure your databases, they also offer the opportunity to think strategically about your data. With them you can show structured as well as unstructured data. You could think along the lines here of social media or videos linked to customer and product data.


Grow your business

By linking data and making use of metadata you can, as an organisation, extract maximum value from your data. Metadata tooling should definitely not be seen as just another innovative trend. Rather, it’s an innovation that could really make sense for your organisation. If you’re looking to grow your business, this innovation boat is one you simply cannot afford to miss.


What opportunities do you see?

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