Data Lineage: The First Step Towards Understanding Enterprise Data

Mankind has benefitted from the study of lineages for years. Fossils that remain in place of the dinosaurs tells us so much about them, while the etymology of a word explains its origins and how it fits into various languages with nuanced changes. Similarly, our data leaves behind a trail for us to follow. From source to destination, the path that your data flows through holds valuable information. Data lineage can be defined as the life cycle of a testimony.

Throughout its life cycle, a firm’s database asset undergoes many transformations. It is transferred around and processed differently by every department hoping to gain valuable business insights from it. Tracking and documenting this ‘lineage’ helps us better understand the nature of a stats and gives us cognizance of just how the data can be processed differently in the future. Tracking data lineage differs from merely comparing old and new datasets. If you were to compare a database with what it used to be a month ago, you would only be able to somewhat compare the two and notice any differences with the help of screenshots or otherwise. However, you cannot track every single change made to the document using such a simple method, which is where data management makes itself useful.

It provides answers, to the most basic questions, at every node of the path followed by the data. It keeps track of the changes made, takes note of who made the changes and used which tool to do so. By recording every minute detail pertaining to a process, data lineage allows us to better predict and understand any developments to our facts before we repurpose it once again. Data lineage can be monitored by looking at the data stream from both endpoints, although doing this manually can be a tedious process that takes up 95% of a data analyst’s time. Therefore, it is imperative that the process of obtaining data lineage is automated.

Benefits of Data Lineage

Global IDs uses automated processes to make the most of data lineage, forming a visual map of all pathways taken by a particular data asset to save time by not having to manually comb through the flow of data. This can be considered the foremost benefit of exploiting data lineage. For example, if you wanted to know the reason behind an erroneous data value in your latest report, and you do not have access to the data lineage, it would take copious amounts of time to figure it out, and you would have to repeat the process for every error in the dataset. Having a visual map of the dataflow quickens the process of tracking bugs or errors significantly.

Keeping close track of data lineage also helps your organization achieve regulatory compliance more efficiently. By detecting data lineage pathways across the enterprise data and analyzing each data processing stage separately, it becomes easier to identify compliance violations. As the use of data lineage entails investigating the complete lifecycle of data, it is a useful tool when it comes to enterprise data management. At Global IDs we venture towards an information-oriented future wherein everyone can use tools and processes of metadata management to the best of their ability, hence the visual mapping of data lineage for use across the enterprise.

Global IDs helps visualize data lineage, enabling all employees to make the most of it. Apart from providing the enterprise with a clearer idea of the nature of a data asset, it provides employees with a platform to identify inaccuracies without having to spend a days’ worth of time on it. The process of troubleshooting wrong reports can be done within minutes, and no longer involves the technical staff being involved every step of the way. It facilitates the prediction of errors and changes when carrying out new processes. Moreover, a visual data lineage map allows one to truly compare source and destination information-sets.

Role of Data Lineage in achieving Data Governance

Documenting all the metadata lineage pathways in the enterprise data glossary a high level of control over auditing and risk management procedures concerning the data environment. Using Global IDs data lineage management tool takes your organization one step closer to achieving complete data governance, ensuring regulatory compliance while providing an end-to-end map of data pathways for visual inspection at any time; providing your firm with an awareness of data and any changes that may occur as a result of transformations during migration, reducing risk levels and maintaining consistency of enterprise information.

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