Why leveraging metadata is vital to getting more out of big data

Automate business processes

To unlock the full potential of metadata, organisations must look beyond simple search and navigation and identify how it can be leveraged for streamlining business processes and workflows.

Metadata-driven workflows can serve to maintain consistency and quality in documentation while ensuring that employees follow defined processes, and that these processes are executed in a more seamless and efficient manner. By leveraging metadata to execute content-centric workflows, companies can:

  • Assign tasks to employees, and track the status and state of all assignments
  • Be notified when materials have been edited or modified
  • Ensure that important documentation has been reviewed and approved by the appropriate individuals before its published

To get started, business departments should identify the most commonly-used information assets and create document templates for each asset, leveraging agreed upon metadata semantics. Examples may include proposals, contracts, invoices, product information or any business document that requires one or more individuals to review and/or approve it. These templates can automatically populate metadata attributes while ensuring consistency and accuracy in how content is described and processed, which is particularly valuable as big data gets even bigger.

Protect and secure confidential information

Content creation has become a highly collaborative process, adding a new layer of complexity to the management of roles and permissions. As such, the need to secure confidential information within big data repositories and systems has evolved past antiquated, folder-based security models. A metadata-driven approach allows organisations to assign and derive a document's final access control settings from its metadata. With the ability to dynamically establish access permissions to sensitive content, metadata can be used to help ensure that confidential data is protected from individuals who do not have access rights.

Many policies related to access permissions vary from business to business, while others are mandated by compliance requirements. Using a metadata-driven approach, information pertaining to the development and lifecycle of a document is captured at a granular level. As a result, permissions, audit trails and event logs are preserved, helping organisations verify compliance with defined access control policies.

How will you leverage big data?

From government agencies to Global 1000 companies, organisations that have already begun to unlock the value of big data have also inspired new ways of thinking about enterprise information management. We've reached a point today where the question is no longer, "When will you leverage big data?" but rather "How will you do it?"

And metadata is fast emerging as the foundation that can help harness the information that resides across business systems, providing a wide range of quantifiable benefits, regardless of an organisation's size or core objectives.

  • Mika Javanainen is Senior Director of Product Management at M-Files Corporation. Javanainen is in charge of managing and developing M-Files product portfolio, roadmaps, and pricing globally.