What is Enterprise Metadata Management

Are you planning to implement enterprise metadata management in your organization? Wondering what it really is and how it can help you?

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It’s scary, isn’t it? 

Not having an EMM strategy in place can easily result in:

  • Lost intellectual property: if you cannot place your digital assets, they don’t exist. 
  • Lost financial opportunity: if you are not using your digital assets, they are just a liability, not an asset that can make money for you.
  • Legal consequences: Inconsistencies in data can lead to serious accusations of fraud or data tampering in a courtroom situation.

So, it’s clear – Metadata management is not an option. But having an EMM strategy in place can deliver more than just avoiding the risks I outlined above, and that’s what we’re going to talk about in this post. 

What is Metadata?

The word ‘meta’ is a greek prefix and proposition that means ‘beyond or after’. In the English language, it is also used in terms of being more comprehensive. 

So, most simply put, metadata is the ‘more comprehensive data’ because it is the ‘data about data’. 

Confused? Let’s break it down further, then. 

Metadata is what helps you identify and retrieve the data that you already have. It gives structure, context, and meaning to your data. So, you can assign metadata to any digital asset from documents, images, videos, audio, graphics, etc.

Source: https://www.braintraffic.com/insights/an-introduction-to-metadata-and-taxonomies

The 3 main types of metadata are:

  • Structural – Defines the elements you want to include in the metadata.
  • Administrative – Key information about the data, usually what the system picks up automatically, like the author, date created, file type, etc.,
  • Descriptive – The real identification of the data that includes what the data represents – its value. 

The more precise and descriptive you want your metadata to be, the more you need to go manual about it. Automatic metadata is best for basic information only.

What is Enterprise Metadata Management (EMM)?

Ever opened your inbox to find 1276 unread messages with a haphazard selection of read, unread, marked, and unmarked messages? Deeply disturbing and stressful right?

An unorganized inbox can not only cost you your peace of mind but can also hinder your productivity, prevent you from getting to things that need your attention urgently, and let potential business opportunities fall through the cracks. 

If only there was a way for you to organize, categorize, and get them in line so you can address each of them as and when required. 

Now, think of your digital assets as the emails in your inbox – unorganized, uncategorized, scattered all over the place!  

As a result, both data findability and data usability is challenged, and you are not able to use the right digital assets when you need them. 

By adding essential metadata to your content, you transform them into meaningful digital assets. You can do this quickly and effectively through digital asset management software. A DAM software not only helps you add metadata but also makes it more efficient to find it and put it into use.  

We will cover this topic separately in detail in this article.

The point is, Enterprise Data management ensures that metadata is available in an effective way, making data more valuable for the organization.

Why Organizations Must Manage Their Metadata?

#1. Better data quality

Simply hoarding your digital assets is of no use. With metadata management, data quality is systemically maintained and the data pipeline governed, thereby providing benefits to all stakeholders. 

With good EMM, you can identify data issues and inconsistencies in real-time, and overall data quality improves by increasing the time for insights and repair.

EMM makes it possible to map, move, and test data for regular maintenance within existing structures, and during a merger, acquisition, or modernization effort.

#2. Faster project delivery

By having a metadata management system in place, an organization is able to have its employees add metadata into their repositories quickly and accurately. It also allows them to access data within their systems with clarity. 

It improves creative workflows, thus enabling enhanced business processes resulting in fast project delivery.

#3. Better insights

You hire data scientists in your organization to analyze data to draw real and actionable value. But unfortunately, in most organizations, data scientists spend the majority of their time gathering and understanding data and resolving errors.

Effective metadata management can reduce this time significantly by implementing strong data operations and analytics in place. This enables data scientists to draw insights faster and better with systematic access to metadata.

#4. Digital transformation

When you know your data, you have immense power in your hands. Because by knowing what data exists and understanding its value, you can: 

  • Take your digital experiences to the next level, understanding how your business interacts with customers and supports customer experience. 
  • Multiply the efficiency of your digital operations by preparing data faster and analyzing projects better. 
  • Drive digital innovation by using the data to deliver new products and experiences.  
  • Build a self-sustained digital ecosystem within the organization, establishing platforms and partnerships to scale and grow.

Metadata Management Use Cases

An enterprise metadata management strategy is key to the success of your organization. How? 

Let’s look at the 3 most common use cases for metadata management in an organization. 

Compliance

Most organizations store confidential and sensitive customer data ranging from:

  • Customer’s social security number
  • Bank account number
  • Credit or debit card number, 
  • Or even a personal identification number or password. 

All this data can enable a person to log onto or access such customer’s account, and misuse the data. 

So, there are immense rules and regulations for organizations to store such sensitive data carefully and in specific ways. Also, the organizations must be able to produce this data, along with its details for audit.

With growing data and so many regulations, you need to manage it in a dynamic way, and hence metadata management comes into play.

This is the most obvious and common use case for EMM. 

Operations

It is obvious that different departments in an enterprise use data in very different ways. 

For example, the legal team needs to access images to ensure there are no copyright infringement issues with them. While the Marketing team will use the same images for completely different purposes, say for a marketing campaign. 

When you store metadata in context through metadata management, different teams can discover, harvest, and manage all assets, in this case, images, to optimize the quality of their operations.

Data governance

As we discussed above, in order for organizations to enable cross-enterprise data access, data must be overseen in the correct way using industry-standard best practices.

So an organization may appoint data stewards to develop a set of frameworks that ensure data consistency and quality. The data stewards draw guidelines around how data should be stored and protected. 

Properly governed metadata ensures that trusted information is used for critical business processes, decision making, and accounting.

How does a Metadata Management Tool help with EMM?

Managing metadata can not just be overwhelming but near to impossible without the right tools in place. 

As we discussed earlier, metadata transform your content into meaningful digital assets. A Digital Asset Management software or DAM like CELUM can achieve this transformation efficiently. 

With a metadata management tool, you can:

  • Customize the metadata taxonomy as suitable to your organization
  • Update metadata in multiple languages
  • Assign tags automatically with the help of AI and make meta-information available in any connected system.
  • Define who should be able to see and access what – even down to specific metadata fields.
  • Edit the metadata with one click without having to go to the detail view first.
  • Batch edit operation for more than one asset

So, for example, CELUM’s client SCOTT Sports, a bicycle and sports brand. Every year, they do two product launches per industry segment. 

The batch editing helps them to sort and categorize all assets for a new marketing campaign, from graphic visuals over product images to possible reusable content among their 83.000 assets.

Also, good tag management secures better collaboration in the content creation process and allows for faster distribution of the final assets on multiple channels.

And although the functionalities may differ for different tools, the core functioning remains the same. But a good metadata management tool allows you to give each part of your organization the metadata they need to understand and run their part of the organizational functions efficiently, thereby increasing productivity at all levels. 

Conclusion

I hope that after reading this article, you have a better and more practical idea of what metadata is and why you need to manage it. 

What’s left now is to sign up for a DAM solution, and take your metadata management to a whole new level.

Looking for a Digital Asset Management Solution?

Check out CELUM, the most advanced AI-powered platform for storing and managing digital assets.

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