I was born on a farm in the Netherlands. My father kept 21 cows and he knew the behavior of all his cows by heart. Geertje 17 was a cow with a high milk yield. If this cow did not come first to the milking parlor, my father knew right away he had to keep an eye on that cow.

My youngest sister and her husband now have a dairy farm with 135 cows. There are too many cows to monitor each cow individually. So my family has a dairy management system in the office at the family house. Each cow is registered with age, feeding behavior and milk results. If implicit knowledge in your head is not enough, you have to make the information explicit. It is also necessary to maintain and manage the explicit knowledge.

Within a large governement organization there is a great need to combine data from different  administrative domains. The chosen approach is to grow, within a generation, from an organization with a local administration and reporting environment to a central reporting and analysis environment. A central reporting and analysis environment demands excellent metadata management. Excellent metadata management has two big challenges:

The first challenge is to define explicit and objective quality and business rules. The quality rules are often still implicit in de heads of the staff at the domain administrations.  We are working intensively to “catch” this implicit knowledge into explicit business rules and definitions. Stored and availble in the Metadata Management Library   And if we want to share meaningfull definitions and rules, we find that our language sometimes fails to tell persons what we mean. The challenge of excellent metadata management is therefore in communication, and not in technology. Technology is only a means to manage metadata

The second challenge with excellent metadata management is data governance and the management of metadata.  The goal is an accepted common truth between the administrative domains. Or rather, the acceptance of one version of the truth across the domains of the organization. An accepted common truth is the foundation for measuring performance. Measuring performance is the beginning of continuous improvement.

Zeger Nieuweboer



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