Successful companies always analyze data in order to create strategies that will help them achieve their business goals. However, do you actually understand your data? And what is data lineage? Why do you need data lineage solutions? These are some of the questions that will be answered in this article.
What Is Data Lineage?
Data lineage is the lifecycle of data. Much like you could trace your genealogy through your family tree, it shows you where data come from, how they move over time, and where they are at the moment. It can be a rich source of valuable information for businesses. By analyzing not just your data, but also your data lineage, you can better understand errors and come up with appropriate solutions. You can also see why data change as they move through different processes and flow throughout the whole enterprise environment.
Importance of Data Lineage
Data lineage is important for three main reasons:
- Data lineage shows how different business processes are interconnected. For instance, forecasts and strategies are made by analyzing data on consumer behavior, sales, and market trends.
- Data lineage shows specific data sources that can have significant implications in certain business processes. IT teams, for example, use data lineage in developing new software. They access data sources to understand requirements. Without data lineage, they will have to start from scratch, which makes the process longer and more expensive.
- Data lineage tracks changes in your data, whether there are new types of data available or you have adopted a new way to collect data.
Data Lineage Solutions
Given the importance of data lineage, it is imperative for businesses to have data lineage solutions in place. As a start, here is a basic guide to understanding and managing data lineage:
- Identify when the data is created. This gives you an insight into the progress of the data and how they have been updated or changed since their creation.
- Understand the kind of information that the data contain. What does it tell you? What parameters does it have? What does it measure? You need to answer these questions in order to fully comprehend the data.
- Ask yourself why a particular set of data is necessary. Why does it exist? What kind of insight does it give you regarding the state of the business? Is it still necessary? If the answer to the last question is no, you need to reassess stored data and to decide whether you still need to keep it or not.
- Interpret how the data is used in the organization. Most data are used to create reports that are then used to create strategies that steer the business toward a certain direction.
- Always have a clear idea of who is using the data. Business processes are handled by people, and though you have a clear set of rules and standards in place, your business is not immune to human error. When there are issues, you can always go back to who used the data and identify where the error might have come from.
Data will always be part of your business. Therefore, you need to start putting data lineage solutions in place to protect you from unnecessary problems arising from lack of data management.