There are different types of data lineage, and one common form is "technical lineage" (also known as horizontal data lineage) which concentrates, at a technical level, on the flow of data from raw sources through all layers of the IT landscape, from data conception to its final representation in reports. This is an important part of data governance and as it is often automated, it is not our primary goal or philosophy.
"Business lineage" (also known as vertical data lineage) connects the business and technical worlds – business processes with traceability helping you understand and visualize how business terms in the business glossary are related to each other and to the data catalog, where objects of interest for business can be found in the different technical layers. Understanding how the data is calculated and processed, how the data flows throughout the company between business and technical departments, enables you to analyze reports and processes that are affected by missing data or data changes.
Proper data governance is business driven and helps an organization to understand better which data assets are hidden and can be leveraged. You are connecting the conceptual data model with your technical systems and data sources.
A business glossary, and even more so a Business Data Model, provides the value of harmonizing, or we can say a 360° view, of your company language across business units and IT, but once you connect it with your data, it brings everything together so that everyone is working from the same page. This is our ideology.
With this setup a single definition of something e.g., "active customer", can only have one aligned definition. There should be no way to have alternative definitions of the same term. You also know exactly where it is stored. And technicians have the required and relevant information e.g., when they are modelling the tables.
In data driven process optimization you can enhance your understanding of how processes are related to your data assets and business glossary. For instance, with "onboarding" or "invoicing" you can see which parts of the business glossary they are connected to, or which data you are using for the process, and from where. People within the business can map the processes or definitions based on their responsibilities.
As you can see in the above diagram, represented by the orange lines, business data lineage can create a data mapping framework covering multiple business processes with multiple data sources and all are connected through your business data model. This enables businesses to scale the view/enhance analysis with a robust user experience for both business and technical users. Businesses have governance over their processes empowering knowledge of the impact between processes, the glossary, and data assets. This lowers the risk in implementing process changes and businesses can be more confident in performing system migrations. All of this improves efficiency of data governance processes and can save substantial amounts of time and resources.
Business data lineage is precise and distinct mapping of the different layers right down to individual business objects. This can accelerate, and in some cases help automate, the creation of technical lineage and it will give a data analyst all the information they need to perform their tasks.
Our Accurity platform solutions have extremely powerful business data lineage capabilities. If you would like to find out more about how Accurity can help you and your business, you can book a personalized 1-on-1 demo with our professional data experts.