Meta Data and Requirements Management & Analysis

What are the assets of a company? Everyone knows the tangible assets like production equipment. Intangible assets are more difficult. Know-how is considered as such an intangible asset. Meta data is high-level description of a business, or business process. You can use it to manage your business more easily. That implies planning and control, as well as adaptation to changing markets or customers.

Benefits of Meta Data

The most important benefit of meta data is the higher abstraction level. This gives you the opportunity to deal with the essentials of a process or data. You do not have to bother with all small and unimportant details that shield you from really important decisions. Also, meta level data had a much longer 'life' than ordinary information.

Drawbacks of Meta Data

The major drawback of meta data is that it really is an investment to define it. You have to reconsider your business, think it through, and discuss it at length. Such a meta definition process takes time and energy, and the benefits are not always clear. Harvesting can take some time.

When to Consider Defining Meta Data

You will need meta data when you want to increase the transparency of your business process. This means that if you want to:

  • Improve the business process.
  • Manage in sourcing, out sourcing, untangling.
  • Mine data.
  • Consolidate data from different sources.
  • Monitor minimum and maximum limits of KPI's.

For consolidation purposes are meta definitions essential. Otherwise you will not be able to manipulate business data like summing or averaging. And if you consolidate anyhow you will not be able to trust the outcome. The results may be unpredictable.

Can Meta Data Modeling Be a Goal?

Meta modeling of processes or data is a piece of infrastructure. You need it before you can continue with your main activity. As such it is never a goal on itself. You should consider it as a proper investment. That means you can define a meta model business case. If the Return On Investment (ROI) is acceptable, then you can proceed with creating or more often, adapting the business process meta process and data model.

The governing of standard data business wide should be treated the same way. The same principles and rules apply. And when the business case has a profitable ROI then this is a proper way to go ahead.

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