Metadata and Data Lineage: Keys to Trustworthy Data

Your business runs on data-driven decisions. If you’re going to trust your data to support critical business decisions, you need to know everything important about that data. The combination of metadata management and data lineage can provide powerful insights and reassurance about your critical enterprise data.

Metadata is data about data. Metadata can describe a particular piece of data or data set, how it’s structured, how it’s used, and how it’s managed. Data lineage is the tracking and understanding of the history of data through all of its journeys across applications, services, and systems and of its transformations along the way. 

Both are critical elements of a robust strategy for data trustworthiness. In addition, metadata management can enhance data lineage management efforts by enabling end-to-end visibility and traceability. 

The complete audit trail provided by effective metadata management offers additional benefits to your data lineage management efforts.

  • It makes enterprise data more demonstrably credible, which helps to ensure consistent data quality and compliance with regulations, industry frameworks, and standards.
  • It can highlight connections linking data to specific systems and applications and the potential effects of planned and unplanned resource changes. This can make patching and updating more efficient and help avoid unexpected incompatibilities.
  • It can enhance data security and privacy management efforts by providing details about data sensitivity and criticality.
  • It can improve data cataloging and data-driven collaboration efforts by making data easier to find and use.

Four Things You Should Do Now

Get your metadata management together. Your organization needs a clear data governance framework if it doesn’t already have one. This resource must document the people, policies, processes, and technologies used to manage metadata across your enterprise. Your organization also needs a robust metadata repository and tools and processes for metadata creation, capture, cataloging, security, and compliance with relevant industry and metadata standards. Your organization should assign at least one data steward responsible for adherence to the data governance framework.

Make data lineage a priority. With complete, accurate information about the lifecycle of all critical data from origin through retirement or deletion, the value of metadata is greatly increased. Your data governance framework must include documentation of all specific people, policies, processes, and technologies focused on data lineage management. Those technologies must interoperate with all systems and sources your critical data traverses and those that support your metadata repository. 

Integrate and automate. Implement tools and processes that enable consistent, robust data lineage, metadata, and data governance management across all applications, systems, and data sources, even as these change. Your chosen technologies should also support automated capture and document lineage information for all critical data. More than manual processes is needed to keep pace with growing data volumes and evolving sources and systems.

Create a “data trustworthiness” culture. Educate, train, and frequently remind users of the business value of trustworthy data, the risks of untrustworthy data, and their roles in keeping data trustworthy and secure. Encourage executive leadership to promulgate and emphasize data trustworthiness throughout the organization.

How Incisive Can Help

Incisive Software is focused on helping organizations build a strong foundation for success based on accurate and trustworthy data, especially in the face of new and growing risks spawned by generative AI and other low-code/no-code technologies. Incisive offers Incisive Analytics Essentials, a solution that enables you to gain managerial control over citizen-built applications and low-code/no-code deployments while making them available to authorized users. The Concourse platform, the heart of the Incisive solution, provides consolidated, comprehensive abilities to know what you have and what changes and effectively manage, protect, and trust your business-critical data across your entire enterprise.

To learn more about Incisive Analytics Essentials or to arrange a demo or free trial, visit, email [email protected], or call 408-660-3090.


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