Business metadata connects your business users to your data warehouse. Business users need to know what is available in the data warehouse from a perspective different from that of IT professionals like you. Business metadata is like a roadmap or an easy-to-use information directory showing the contents and how to get there. It is like a tour guide for executives and a route map for managers and business analysts.

Figure 9-10. Information delivery: metadata types.

9.4.1. Content Overview

First of all, business metadata must describe the contents in plain language giving information in business terms. For example, the names of the data tables or individual data elements must not be cryptic but be meaningful terms that business users are familiar with. The data item name calc_pr_sle is not acceptable. You need to rename this as calculated-prior-month-sale.

Business metadata is much less structured than technical metadata. A substantial portion of business metadata originates from textual documents, spreadsheets, and even business rules and policies not written down completely. Even though much of business meta-data is from informal sources, it is as important as metadata from formal sources such as data dictionary entries. All of the informal metadata must be captured, put in a standard form, and stored as business metadata in the data warehouse.

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