Data is always described as the lifeblood of your organization. In this digital age, the right data can help you make a huge difference when the market game is stronger than ever.
Business is always about making the right decisions at the right moment. Knowing your data can help you with understanding your business processes better. You can get a detailed overview of your current financial operations and strategies.
In the end, data is crucial when you need to get a detailed overview of your customer’s habits. Knowing your customers means knowing your business – and the missing link connecting these two resides somewhere in your database.
Although, it is not a missing link if you use your metadata right. It is the most misunderstood part of your data yet.
In order to make good decisions and improve your decision-making process, it is time to explore what is hidden in plain sight and unlock the world of hidden opportunities.
Table of Contents
What is metadata?
Metadata’s simplest definition is – it represents the properties of your data. Data of your data. Before we get lost in this data inception, let us demonstrate what the metadata is with examples.
It is everywhere and it can refer to the name of the document, document owner, keywords, language, currencies and so much more. You probably know when you turn on the properties for an image on your desktop and see the time it’s saved on your computer, size, and type. You are probably shaking your head now because this seems so unimportant and minuscule. And this is what most businesses do today, taking this opportunity for granted.
We will explain why this approach is wrong on so many levels when we get to the part about the relationship between metadata and big data.
Metadata and unstructured data
Metadata represents information about data, describing it and therefore helping with better discoveries of data and its instances faster. Metadata needs to answer the following questions: What, When, Where, Who, How, Which, and Why. Always remember to go back to these basics because the more details that are provided the better it will be.
This information helps IT systems to structure and classify your data in the most logical order. Metadata makes a difference between structured and unstructured data. Metadata was inserted manually for a very long time and the more information that was provided, the better.
Lucky for us, that is not the case. Information management platforms like M-Files use metadata to categorize your document and store it all in one place. When it comes to unstructured data, things get a bit complicated. According to researchers, 98% percent of your data is considered unstructured.
This applies to emails for example – emails can hide a vault of valuable data. Technologies like RPA and machine learning are evolving every day to help us cast the light on the dark data and its power.
Yet, while we are waiting for that to happen, we need to work better with what we have already.
Metadata and big data
In a world where big data still rules, metadata can give you a necessary competitive advantage. Go big or go home, that is how things are working today. You need to utilize the power of big data efficiently for your own gain, making a competitive edge. That is why the metadata needs to be set as one of your priorities now.
Metadata fuels big data with necessary information. More detailed, more robust metadata, can help your team extract all the important details more easily, therefore you will make rapid decisions. Without metadata, companies are losing their most valuable resource – time. You can spend hours analyzing and interpreting data to get some valuable insights. It is estimated that data specialists spend 90% of their time searching. It sounds both frustrating and time-consuming, everything but productive.
One of the biggest issues companies are struggling with is that metadata and big data are not growing at the same pace. For companies that want to use the immense power of big data is important to establish a stable metadata strategy first. If you don’t, you will soon be drowning in the neverending flood of information and you will not just lose the competitive edge but your control as well.
Metadata is here to help you tame that data chaos and thinking on such micro-level can help you avoid costly mistakes later.
Taming the big data
Remember that your data is your biggest asset. It can give your data meaning and also a logical purpose. It is about identifying your data, helping it with discovering it, and later distribute it to everyone in your enterprise. Without metadata, big data is just a big dream and nothing else. You will also have huge volumes of unused data with massive hidden potential.
Metadata is here to help you streamline data collection and after identification and the process of analyzing your data.
Don’t ever underestimate the power of metadata because it can drive the completion of the full data lifecycle.
The main goal of structuring your data is to make your company and your processes more internally transparent. This helps with establishing one data-centric ecosystem which operates under logical rules and is understandable to everyone within the company even though their occupations are diametrically different.
Of course, it helps you with better positioning on the market, faster decision making, and evolving side by side with big data that will soon transform into a massive load of data.
Metadata can help you with seeing a bigger picture and finding the order where it seems there is no one.
In the end, metadata helps with digital transformation and managing your digital assets, making your company more machine-readable. Always get back to the roots and basics of your data. There might be something lurking that you have been overseeing this entire time.
Some data becomes obsolete, so don’t let that happen with your company as well.