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Four Use Cases Proving the Benefits of Metadata-Driven Automation

Organization’s cannot hope to make the most out of a data-driven strategy, without at least some degree of metadata-driven automation.

The volume and variety of data has snowballed, and so has its velocity. As such, traditional – and mostly manual – processes associated with data management and data governance have broken down. They are time-consuming and prone to human error, making compliance, innovation and transformation initiatives more complicated, which is less than ideal in the information age.

So it’s safe to say that organizations can’t reap the rewards of their data without automation.

Data scientists and other data professionals can spend up to 80 percent of their time bogged down trying to understand source data or addressing errors and inconsistencies.

That’s time needed and better used for data analysis.

By implementing metadata-driven automation, organizations across industry can unleash the talents of their highly skilled, well paid data pros to focus on finding the goods: actionable insights that will fuel the business.

Metadata-Driven Automation

Metadata-Driven Automation in the BFSI Industry

The banking, financial services and insurance industry typically deals with higher data velocity and tighter regulations than most. This bureaucracy is rife with data management bottlenecks.

These bottlenecks are only made worse when organizations attempt to get by with systems and tools that are not purpose-built.

For example, manually managing data mappings for the enterprise data warehouse via MS Excel spreadsheets had become cumbersome and unsustainable for one BSFI company.

After embracing metadata-driven automation and custom code automation templates, it saved hundreds of thousands of dollars in code generation and development costs and achieved more work in less time with fewer resources. ROI on the automation solutions was realized within the first year.

Metadata-Driven Automation in the Pharmaceutical Industry

Despite its shortcomings, the Excel spreadsheet method for managing data mappings is common within many industries.

But with the amount of data organizations need to process in today’s business climate, this manual approach makes change management and determining end-to-end lineage a significant and time-consuming challenge.

One global pharmaceutical giant headquartered in the United States experienced such issues until it adopted metadata-driven automation. Then the pharma company was able to scan in all source and target system metadata and maintain it within a single repository. Users now view end-to-end data lineage from the source layer to the reporting layer within seconds.

On the whole, the implementation resulted in extraordinary time savings and a total cost reduction of 60 percent.

Metadata-Driven Automation in the Insurance Industry

Insurance is another industry that has to cope with high data velocity and stringent data regulations. Plus many organizations in this sector find that they’ve outgrown their systems.

For example, an insurance company using a CDMA product to centralize data mappings is probably missing certain critical features, such as versioning, impact analysis and lineage, which adds to costs, times to market and errors.

By adopting metadata-driven automation, organizations can standardize the pre-ETL data mapping process and better manage data integration through the change and release process. As a result, both internal data mapping and cross functional teams now have easy and fast web-based access to data mappings and valuable information like impact analysis and lineage.

Here is the story of a business that adopted such an approach and achieved operational excellence and a delivery time reduction by 80 percent, as well as achieving ROI within 12 months.

Metadata-Driven Automation for a Non-Profit

Another common issue cited by organizations using manual data mapping is ballooning complexity and subsequent confusion.

Any organization expanding its data-driven focus without sufficiently maturing data management initiative(s) will experience this at some point.

One of the world’s largest humanitarian organizations, with millions of members and volunteers operating all over the world, was confronted with this exact issue.

It recognized the need for a solution to standardize the pre-ETL data mapping process to make data integration more efficient and cost-effective.

With metadata-driven automation, the organization would be able to scan and store metadata and data dictionaries in a central repository, as well as manage the business definitions and data dictionary for legacy systems contributing data to the enterprise data warehouse.

By adopting such an approach, the organization realized time savings across all IT development and cross-functional testing teams. Additionally, they were able to more easily manage mappings, code sets, reference data and data validation rules.

Again, ROI was achieved within a year.

A Universal Solution for Metadata-Driven Automation

Metadata-driven automation is a capability any organization can benefit from – regardless of industry, as demonstrated by the various real-world use cases chronicled here.

The erwin Automation Framework is a key component of the erwin EDGE platform for comprehensive data management and data governance.

With it, data professionals realize these industry-agnostic benefits:

  • Centralized and standardized code management with all automation templates stored in a governed repository
  • Better quality code and minimized rework
  • Business-driven data movement and transformation specifications
  • Superior data movement job designs based on best practices
  • Greater agility and faster time-to-value in data preparation, deployment and governance
  • Cross-platform support of scripting languages and data movement technologies

Learn more about metadata-driven automation as it relates to data preparation and enterprise data mapping.

Join one our weekly erwin Mapping Manager demos.

Automate Data Mapping

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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