• Maciek Lasota

7 Reasons why you should have Business Glossary

Updated: Nov 8

The starting point of your Data Governance and Metadata management.


A business glossary is nothing more than a list of business terms attached to their definitions. The purpose of a data glossary is to define business terms for an organization, in order to bring harmony around the concepts used in a system. It is a source of truth for all the business terms used in a business.


Both technical and business employees use the glossary when working with a date. Here are the main benefits that it can bring to the company:







1. Improves Communication Between IT and Business

A business glossary provides a list of terms that are important to a specific business. A business glossary will prove especially beneficial when dealing with communication between IT personnel and customer service or between engineers and a sales manager. A glossary will help ensure all team members are on the same page without employees having to repeatedly explain terms to one another and draw out different versions of a definition


2. Promotes Understanding

Terms are sometimes used interchangeably or differently from one business to the next, such as with the example of “customer” and “client.” Varied terms and usages will be identified in a business glossary and will essentially help to improve understanding within a business

Adding core concepts like the sale region time period will lead to a common understanding of requirements and more useful and agile reporting.


3. Establish Ownerships and Stewardships

To be practical glossary need to be continuously updated with new content that is reviewed and approved.

As terms, their definitions, and associated attributes are being added to the Business Glossary, there is a need for the sign-off process. Someone needs to verify the legitimacy of the terms and their meanings, but also approve them. That someone is your Data Steward.


4. Increases Efficiency


The best way to build up in this area is to connect the business glossary with a data dictionary as a piece of your metadata management. Once done you'll have Data Catalog in place that will answer the important question " What data do we have and where to find it" it will make data engineers' life so much easier


Should be implemented as part of the policies and procedures, it prevents the silo effect and creates an effective form of collective workflow.



5. Elevates Trust


If all users relate to the same definitions company will achieve more trust with data resources. The end user can trust their request are understood and when users trust data they data its easier to make decisions with confidence.


6 Reduces complexity and confusion


A glossary makes your life easier. Whenever do you see a report with metrics like the Number of Clients per region? Tried to find out if we are talking about the signed clients or potential leads also. How are regions defined?

That's just one example.



When terms are standardized, the inconsistencies diminish and everyone can access and use data more efficiently.


7. Prepare to quickly evolve our products, services, and data to take advantage of business opportunities.


This strongly affects the business capabilities of the organization, especially when working in a dynamic startup environment. You can address new opportunities much faster and gain a market advantage above your competitors by finding the right niche. Data is an asset so treat it as one.



 

A good data glossary can pave the way for a successful data governance initiative in your organization. Standardizing data terms and definitions help improve the quality of both data assets and the organization’s data knowledge. At some level, it can even help an organization maintain access policies using glossary terms.


A well-maintained data glossary can become a single source of truth and thus increase overall enterprise data trust.


For example, this can be achieved by assigning a level of security to specific business terms, then defining data governance policies based on these security levels. A data glossary can also include data quality rules and flagging data quality issues to data users. For this reason, it is a key deliverable in a data governance initiative.


What You should avoid

  • Don’t attempt to create more than one business glossary for an organization. The point of a business glossary is to have a single point of reference for data terms throughout the company.

  • Don’t use project-specific terms in the business glossary as this limits its usefulness for the organization. These items may be more appropriate for a data dictionary associated with the specific project.

  • Make sure the business glossary does not become a static artifact. It needs to be a living document that reflects changes in the language and terms used for enterprise data resources. A process should enable, the glossary to be updated regularly to maintain its relevance to the company.


In the following post, I'll write about more of MetaData management and 3 layers of metadata subscribe and stay up to date.

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