Lost in Translation

By Philip Dutton
on Jun 10, 2020

While having a conversation with a highly regarded data management expert about all things data, we started to discuss Solidatus Version Four and its integration of a Data Catalog.

At Solidatus, we have taken a Lineage-first approach to data management which goes very much against the grain of the industry standard Data Catalog-led approach. For my co-founder and I, we cut our teeth in some of the largest and most complex organisations on the planet - global tier one investment banks through the late nineties until circa 2015. That was a period of enormous technological, market and regulatory change. Both of us come from an engineering background but are consumed by our context of change. We try to bring order, structure, understanding and re-use by utilising a number of software products to help, from Excel, Visio, Wiki’s, Sharepoint, SVN, to JIRA, etc. Each of these tools provided a piece of the puzzle, but each of those pieces was intended for different puzzles. This inability to find a suitable tool to effectively manage change led us to build the Solidatus solution, drawing inspiration from multiple sources.

So why Lineage-first? Necessity. We had to focus on the things that were changing most often; the things that would have the greatest impact on a business. Servers, systems, databases, middleware, etc, all change fundamentally at a much lower cadence than the data pipes that are built to connect them, the interfaces, the extracts and the reports. Sure, the database might get extended with some new fields, but in order for that extension to have real impact, it generally needs to be used by a process or a person. By way of example, if you are going to draw a map between two points, you need to be able to identify both the start and end points; so, in practice, as you build lineage, you build a Data Catalog.

So why is the Solidatus Data Catalog in Version Four such a big deal, as the ability to catalog data is already one of Solidatus’ core strengths? Firstly, you have to listen to your clients and their data management needs - like technology – which is rapidly evolving, and it regularly presents new challenges. Secondly, a Data Catalog should be more than just a register of logical or physical systems or assets, it needs to be able to handle multiple taxonomies - business glossaries for the Business, data dictionaries for the Technologists, policies and standards for Compliance, a classification that enables standardisation in support of acceleration while mitigating risk and controlling costs. Speaking the language of your tribe is paramount, but having a translator to speak to other tribes makes your tribe infinitely more impactful.

Solidatus is sometimes perceived as only a Data Lineage tool, however, it is much more than a single metadata management function - designed to be a collaborative intellectual property store that enables a business to capture, store and disseminate knowledge across the entire organisation. Building context bridges between the business and technology enabling purposeful use of data to drive insight and differentiation. Transparency for all is paramount.

To learn more about the Solidatus Data Catlog, read our Webpage and download our Whitepaper and Factsheet.

Topics: Data Lineage, Data Governance, Data Management, Data Catalog, Data Dictionary, Asset Inventory, Business Glossary

Author: Philip Dutton

Philip Dutton is a Co-Founder of Solidatus. With over 20 years’ experience, much of his expertise has come from managing global transformational change projects within the Financial Services sector. Philip is a thought leader in shifting the data management paradigm towards sustainability and is passionate about revolutionising the data economy and helping companies become proactive instead of reactive when it comes to the management of their data.
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