Business “vocabularies”

Lately I have been spending a lot more time at our customers with the Business Glossary and Metadata Workbench. At first this was a side-effort at our major DataStage and QualityStage customer sites, but increasingly it has become a stand-alone activity with companies that are starting out with Business Glossary or implementing Business Glossary all by itself.

The key interest in Business Glossary has been its “business vocabulary” approach to managing “enterprise” terms and definitions — with focus on the word “business.” Prior solutions have revolved around “technical definitions” and almost always are related to columns and fields. Even legacy COBOL programs have comments that are sometimes captured, and every modeling tool and data oriented product on the market has a history of “explanation,” “comment”, “description” or similar property to contain explanatory text. Sharing and pushing this information all over the place has been offered in metadata plumbing for a long time.

Business Glossary is refreshing to many sites because it is “just business.” Terms are managed in a web based application that is complete with a very easy to use built-in browser and search capability, a pop-up function called Business Glossary Anywhere and a REST API that allows for complete customization. The best customers are the ones who already have sophisticated procedures and protocols for managing terms, but are tired of managing the application and delivery of those terms throughout the company.

Technically, of course, definitions in Business Glossary can be “assigned” a large variety of technical “assets”, but it is not a requirement, nor is the Business Term an “after effect.”

Anyway, it’s been fun, and eye opening, technically challenging, and combines the best of DataStage skills with years of helping sites with metadata strategies. And if you come here to read about DataStage techniques and activities, consider that Business Glossary may expand your horizons, your expertise, and if you are a consultant, your business.

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2 Responses to “Business “vocabularies””

  1. Leon Says:

    Like to see an example.

    • dsrealtime Says:

      Hi Leon… I’ll create a post with some screen shots….. in the meantime here is a url to further information: http://www-01.ibm.com/software/data/infosphere/business-glossary/ . Typical examples are the obvious ones, such as “Customer Interactions”….this might be a single column in a database, or it may simply be a calculated field on a report. How does a report user know exactly what this means? Is this a “total” field of some kind? A listing of comments regarding a particular customer? How does a new manager understand the definition, and how does a technical person know how to calculate it, or how it was calculated. If it is associated with a physical column, which is typical, that’s great — but should it also be associated with report(s) or a database, or the url for a particular portal page, or with an ETL process? Who is responsible for it? Does it have related vocabulary? Synonyms? …and what is it’s context (how is it organized or grouped into a hierarchy)? These and other relationships are tracked, and easily distributed, via Business Glossary. –ernie


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