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  • Writer's pictureMaciek Lasota

Business Glossary kickoff in fintech company

Updated: Mar 15, 2023

In October 2022, we kicked off the Business Definition review process involving the number of representatives of company departments.

Our aim was to agree on shared definitions and calculations that will be used in all our future data products.

Today I would like to explain how we want to achieve that.

Business Glossary 2.0 was created to provide you with a standardized definition of all terms concepts and metrics used at company. A common language is a key component of data governance and the implementation of a the business glossary along with the definition review process it’s starting point in our efforts.

During the last months, stakeholders provided us with valuable input on how you are using data in daily work. From development teams working on dashboards and databases, Salespeople supporting our Clients, and Finance teams that rely on data with financial reporting. People shared their challenges and potential opportunities for the company. We came up with an initial list of key benefits from the Business Glossary but bear in mind that this is just the tip of the iceberg of possibilities:

Business definition Benefit and Examples

1. Correct and match figures in reports.

- Figures in the Clearing report are not matching BI Reporting​ -

2. Shared understanding of key business terms

- Different calculations of churn rates in different areas – Renewal reporting and BI reporting

3. Reuse of existing data vs building it multiple times

- Two Analytics teams were asked to create two tables with the same data.

4. Prepare reports quickly to take advantage of business opportunities

Trend Analysis was built in a week because we had to have right data to support it.

5. It is easy to find quality data

Every account manager needs to calculate payment fees on their own side.

In today’s data-driven world, having a timely updated business glossary is essential. It ensures consistent communication with Clients and between everyone in the organization. It also ensures that everyone sees and uses the data in the same way.

Without a glossary, you can’t be sure that everyone in the company is saying the same thing, and this is extremely important when communicating between departments but also with Clients. With them, we need to be extremely consistent with the numbers we show.

Business definitions review Process

We designed this to make sure every function is aware of and align with how certain data elements are defined and used.

In essence, the goal is to get input from any function that can be impacted and put them on the same page.

During our discussions we also identified stakeholders that should play a key role in creating and maintaining the business glossary:

Data Owners – Participants of business definitions review meetings scheduled in monthly iterations, During it we approve definitions and gather input about the next priorities and assign experts to workgroups.

Owners are recognized for each specific function/ Domain

Data Stewards are part of Workgroups and provide their expertise to create common definitions. They represent each affected function and act as SMEs in their area on behalf of Data Owners. The goal is to finalize a definition and calculation methods that can be used by all involved parties in the company.

Data Architect is performing architecture assessment and impact analysis. Proposals are run through various system owners and technical teams. Besides that, Architect is acting as an advisor, providing guidance, and overseeing the project's compliance with the agreed terminology

Data users - anyone working with data and can raise the need of standardizing new terms.

Data Governance Lead acts as process owner and is responsible to put all the pieces together into motion.

How can we get maximum Value from Business Glossary?

The Business Glossary contains data-related terms described in plain language that assigns meaning or semantic context to data but will also contain business rules regarding data entities. For example:

  • Customer country code should be compliant with ISO standard

  • B2B customers need to provide VAT numbers when located in European Union

Use it as single source of truth for all company definitions:

  • Business language

  • Metrics

  • Technical terms

  • Specific wording and abbreviations

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