How Taxonomies & Ontologies Help Maximize Data Assets

An article by Thomas H. Davenport posted in the Wall Street Journal: CIO Journal, “It’s Way Too Late Not to Know Where Your Data Is,” examines several crucial steps companies must take to gain control of their data. As explained by Davenport, many corporations have similar fears about their data models: What is the state of their data?

How can you ensure a better future for your company where data is accurate, accessible, and usable? Davenport illustrates several strategies that companies can undertake to gain control of their data assets
and, as a result, deliver significantly stronger bottom-line results for their companies. Davenport’s main suggestion is cataloging data. Let’s examine the benefits:

  1. Enhanced Data Quality – Create taxonomies to eliminate duplicate data across your organization. As explained by Davenport, “Data are often duplicated many times across the organization. Different data are referred to by the same term, and the same data by different terms.” Also, eliminate stale and inaccurate data to remove “informational chaos.”
  2. Superb Data Ownership – Data ownership with proper data stewardship supports clean data, which enables stronger management reporting and the ability to perform analytics. A correctly implemented data catalog assigns data ownership within organizations.
  3. Robust Data Governance – Cataloging can enable proper data governance, which ensures data controls going forward.
  4. Accurate Analytics – Once data is clean and useable (often through ETL techniques), companies can use data to perform analytics and reporting.

Cataloging data within your organization enables control of an untapped asset that is rich in wealth. Once data is reigned in and has suitable quality, ownership, and governance implemented, the possibilities are unlimited. Leveraging data assets comes down to “organization and management” of those assets. One of the best ways to organize data is to use taxonomies. Taxonomies can provide an improved and flexible understanding of complicated business and operational environments and are an integral part of the cataloging process. Before dreaming about what your data can do for you, think about what you can do for your data. Only then will you have accurate analytics, analysis, and reporting available at your fingertips.