Why are business glossaries so important in data?


Published on
20/04/2020 01:53 PM

When we talk about solutions in enterprise technology, we often refer to technical aspects only. Thus, it feels a bit against the grain to mitigate an enterprise obstacle with anything otherwise. In which case, it may surprise you to know that words are a worthy weapon in the data realm. Of course, that's not to suggest that you should verbally reason with your data when you're at a bit of a loss. Rather, organisations should look at ensuring that their teams have a shared understanding of data terminology, particularly to bolster data governance. The best way to do so is by creating a business glossary. Business glossaries alleviate any ambiguity surrounding data terms, heightening consistency and dependability of material. You may not realise it, but employees may not share a universal meaning of terminology. Unless you investigate it, you would probably only discover it after material gets misconstrued. For example, within a biotechnology environment, the term 'API' may have two different meanings. For some, it could mean 'application program interface', while for others, it could mean 'active pharmaceutical ingredient'. Within the biotech arena, it wouldn't be unreasonable to see either occur. Hence, having a clear definition and way of usage per organisation is crucial to keep everyone on the right track. Data can be a bit baffling as it is, so there's really no need to add to the confusion. Thus, organisations should prepare a business glossary outlining each data-relevant term.

Making the glossary your go-to

There are many benefits to having a data glossary. As mentioned before, it's a great way to hoist the reliability of data activity through magnifying terms for understanding. Not only this, but it also encourages a more uniform language, creating a more united culture in turn. The cultural impact of business glossaries spread beyond this too. In particular, it promotes data quality awareness and overall understanding of data in the first place. As a result, the environment becomes more data-driven overall. Furthermore, business glossaries can help heighten end-to-end traceability. By having tightly defined terms, organisations can gain better visibility into their data. This can be particularly useful in regard to compliance. Business glossaries needn't be anything fancy, but they do necessitate management. Organisations must police terminology usage as best as they can, while revisiting the glossary periodically to update definitions where necessary. Business glossaries are a relatively small implementation, especially in comparison to other data solutions. However, that doesn't make it any less valuable; just because it's not that sophisticated doesn't mean it should be overlooked.

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