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erwin Expert Blog

Data Preparation and Data Mapping: The Glue Between Data Management and Data Governance to Accelerate Insights and Reduce Risks

Organizations have spent a lot of time and money trying to harmonize data across diverse platforms, including cleansing, uploading metadata, converting code, defining business glossaries, tracking data transformations and so on. But the attempts to standardize data across the entire enterprise haven’t produced the desired results.

A company can’t effectively implement data governance – documenting and applying business rules and processes, analyzing the impact of changes and conducting audits – if it fails at data management.

The problem usually starts by relying on manual integration methods for data preparation and mapping. It’s only when companies take their first stab at manually cataloging and documenting operational systems, processes and the associated data, both at rest and in motion, that they realize how time-consuming the entire data prepping and mapping effort is, and why that work is sure to be compounded by human error and data quality issues.

To effectively promote business transformation, as well as fulfil regulatory and compliance mandates, there can’t be any mishaps.

It’s obvious that the manual road is very challenging to discover and synthesize data that resides in different formats in thousands of unharvested, undocumented databases, applications, ETL processes and procedural code.

Consider the problematic issue of manually mapping source system fields (typically source files or database tables) to target system fields (such as different tables in target data warehouses or data marts).

These source mappings generally are documented across a slew of unwieldy spreadsheets in their “pre-ETL” stage as the input for ETL development and testing. However, the ETL design process often suffers as it evolves because spreadsheet mapping data isn’t updated or may be incorrectly updated thanks to human error. So questions linger about whether transformed data can be trusted.

Data Quality Obstacles

The sad truth is that high-paid knowledge workers like data scientists spend up to 80 percent of their time finding and understanding source data and resolving errors or inconsistencies, rather than analyzing it for real value.

Statistics are similar when looking at major data integration projects, such as data warehousing and master data management with data stewards challenged to identify and document data lineage and sensitive data elements.

So how can businesses produce value from their data when errors are introduced through manual integration processes? How can enterprise stakeholders gain accurate and actionable insights when data can’t be easily and correctly translated into business-friendly terms?

How can organizations master seamless data discovery, movement, transformation and IT and business collaboration to reverse the ratio of preparation to value delivered.

What’s needed to overcome these obstacles is establishing an automated, real-time, high-quality and metadata- driven pipeline useful for everyone, from data scientists to enterprise architects to business analysts to C-level execs.

Doing so will require a hearty data management strategy and technology for automating the timely delivery of quality data that measures up to business demands.

From there, they need a sturdy data governance strategy and technology to automatically link and sync well-managed data with core capabilities for auditing, statutory reporting and compliance requirements as well as to drive business insights.

Creating a High-Quality Data Pipeline

Working hand-in-hand, data management and data governance provide a real-time, accurate picture of the data landscape, including “data at rest” in databases, data lakes and data warehouses and “data in motion” as it is integrated with and used by key applications. And there’s control of that landscape to facilitate insight and collaboration and limit risk.

With a metadata-driven, automated, real-time, high-quality data pipeline, all stakeholders can access data that they now are able to understand and trust and which they are authorized to use. At last they can base strategic decisions on what is a full inventory of reliable information.

The integration of data management and governance also supports industry needs to fulfill regulatory and compliance mandates, ensuring that audits are not compromised by the inability to discover key data or by failing to tag sensitive data as part of integration processes.

Data-driven insights, agile innovation, business transformation and regulatory compliance are the fruits of data preparation/mapping and enterprise modeling (business process, enterprise architecture and data modeling) that revolves around a data governance hub.

erwin Mapping Manager (MM) combines data management and data governance processes in an automated flow through the integration lifecycle from data mapping for harmonization and aggregation to generating the physical embodiment of data lineage – that is the creation, movement and transformation of transactional and operational data.

Its hallmark is a consistent approach to data delivery (business glossaries connect physical metadata to specific business terms and definitions) and metadata management (via data mappings).

Automate Data Mapping

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erwin Expert Blog

Data Modeling and Data Mapping: Results from Any Data Anywhere

A unified approach to data modeling and data mapping could be the breakthrough that many data-driven organizations need.

In most of the conversations I have with clients, they express the need for a viable solution to model their data, as well as the ability to capture and document the metadata within their environments.

Data modeling is an integral part of any data management initiative. Organizations use data models to tame “data at rest” for business use, governance and technical management of databases of all types.

However, once an organization understands what data it has and how it’s structured via data models, it needs answers to other critical questions: Where did it come from? Did it change along the journey? Where does it go from here?

Data Mapping: Taming “Data in Motion”

Knowing how data moves throughout technical and business data architectures is key for true visibility, context and control of all data assets.

Managing data in motion has been a difficult, time-consuming task that involves mapping source elements to the data model, defining the required transformations, and/or providing the same for downstream targets.

Historically, it either has been outsourced to ETL/ELT developers who often create a siloed, technical infrastructure opaque to the business, or business-friendly mappings have been kept in an assortment of unwieldy spreadsheets difficult to consolidate and reuse much less capable of accommodating new requirements.

What if you could combine data at rest and data in motion to create an efficient, accurate and real-time data pipeline that also includes lineage? Then you can spend your time finding the data you need and using it to produce meaningful business outcomes.

Good news … you can.

erwin Mapping Manager: Connected Data Platform

Automated Data Mapping

Your data modelers can continue to use erwin Data Modeler (DM) as the foundation of your database management system, documenting, enforcing and improving those standards. But instead of relying on data models to disseminate metadata information, you can scan and integrate any data source and present it to all interested parties – automatically.

erwin Mapping Manager (MM) shifts the management of metadata away from data models to a dedicated, automated platform. It can collect metadata from any source, including JSON documents, erwin data models, databases and ERP systems, out of the box.

This functionality underscores our Any2 data approach by collecting any data from anywhere. And erwin MM can schedule data collection and create versions for comparison to clearly identify any changes.

Metadata definitions can be enhanced using extended data properties, and detailed data lineages can be created based on collected metadata. End users can quickly search for information and see specific data in the context of business processes.

To summarize the key features current data modeling customers seem to be most excited about:

  • Easy import of legacy mappings, plus share and reuse mappings and transformations
  • Metadata catalog to automatically harvest any data from anywhere
  • Comprehensive upstream and downstream data lineage
  • Versioning with comparison features
  • Impact analysis

And all of these features support and can be integrated with erwin Data Governance. The end result is knowing what data you have and where it is so you can fuel a fast, high-quality and complete pipeline of any data from anywhere to accomplish your organizational objectives.

Want to learn more about a unified approach to data modeling and data mapping? Join us for our weekly demo to see erwin MM in action for yourself.

erwin Mapping Manager

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erwin Expert Blog Data Governance Data Intelligence

Demystifying Data Lineage: Tracking Your Data’s DNA

Getting the most out of your data requires getting a handle on data lineage. That’s knowing what data you have, where it is, and where it came from – plus understanding its quality and value to the organization.

But you can’t understand your data in a business context much less track data lineage, its physical existence and maximize its security, quality and value if it’s scattered across different silos in numerous applications.

Data lineage provides a way of tracking data from its origin to destination across its lifespan and all the processes it’s involved in. It also plays a vital role in data governance. Beyond the simple ability to know where the data came from and whether or not it can be trusted, there’s an element of statutory reporting and compliance that often requires a knowledge of how that same data (known or unknown, governed or not) has changed over time.

A platform that provides insights like data lineage, impact analysis, full-history capture, and other data management features serves as a central hub from which everything can be learned and discovered about the data – whether a data lake, a data vault or a traditional data warehouse.

In a traditional data management organization, Excel spreadsheets are used to manage the incoming data design, what’s known as the “pre-ETL” mapping documentation, but this does not provide any sort of visibility or auditability. In fact, each unit of work represented in these ‘mapping documents’ becomes an independent variable in the overall system development lifecycle, and therefore nearly impossible to learn from much less standardize.

The key to accuracy and integrity in any exercise is to eliminate the opportunity for human error – which does not mean eliminating humans from the process but incorporating the right tools to reduce the likelihood of error as the human beings apply their thought processes to the work.

Data Lineage

Data Lineage: A Crucial First Step for Data Governance

Knowing what data you have and where it lives and where it came from is complicated. The lack of visibility and control around “data at rest” combined with “data in motion,” as well as difficulties with legacy architectures, means organizations spend more time finding the data they need rather than using it to produce meaningful business outcomes.

Organizations need to create and sustain an enterprise-wide view of and easy access to underlying metadata, but that’s a tall order with numerous data types and data sources that were never designed to work together and data infrastructures that have been cobbled together over time with disparate technologies, poor documentation and little thought for downstream integration. So the applications and initiatives that depend on a solid data infrastructure may be compromised, resulting in faulty analyses.

These issues can be addressed with a strong data management strategy underpinned by technology that enables the data quality the business requires, which encompasses data cataloging (integration of data sets from various sources), mapping, versioning, business rules and glossaries maintenance and metadata management (associations and lineage).

An automated, metadata-driven framework for cataloging data assets and their flows across the business provides an efficient, agile and dynamic way to generate data lineage from operational source systems (databases, data models, file-based systems, unstructured files and more) across the information management architecture; construct business glossaries; assess what data aligns with specific business rules and policies; and inform how that data is transformed, integrated and federated throughout business processes – complete with full documentation.

Centralized design, immediate lineage and impact analysis, and change-activity logging means you will always have answers readily available, or just a few clicks away. Subsets of data can be identified and generated via predefined templates, generic designs generated from standard mapping documents, and pushed via ETL process for faster processing via automation templates.

With automation, data quality is systemically assured and the data pipeline is seamlessly governed and operationalized to the benefit of all stakeholders. Without such automation, business transformation will be stymied. Companies, especially large ones with thousands of systems, files and processes, will be particularly challenged by a manual approach. And outsourcing these data management efforts to professional services firms only increases costs and schedule delays.

With erwin Mapping Manager, organizations can automate enterprise data mapping and code generation for faster time-to-value and greater accuracy when it comes to data movement projects, as well as synchronize “data in motion” with data management and governance efforts.

Map data elements to their sources within a single repository to determine data lineage, deploy data warehouses and other Big Data solutions, and harmonize data integration across platforms. The web-based solution reduces the need for specialized, technical resources with knowledge of ETL and database procedural code, while making it easy for business analysts, data architects, ETL developers, testers and project managers to collaborate for faster decision-making.

Data Lineage