We were recently asked by a client what the difference was between metadata and Masterdata. This got us thinking that it would be worthwhile digging into this a bit more. The term ‘metadata’ has two broad meanings. Though the word literally means ‘data about data’, it is often used to refer to data about the organisation of data, such as the columns and tables in a database and the relationships between them. The term is also used more strictly to refer to information about the content of data (also known as metacontent). Examples of this kind of metadata include summaries of contents, keywords for searching, and information on the source and owner of the data.
‘Masterdata’ refers to the non-transactional data that describes a business or other organisation. Typically this data covers:
- Internal entities such as departments, employees and products;
- External entities such as customers and suppliers; and
- Organisational information such as reporting hierarchies and the chart of accounts.
Masterdata is required to support transaction processing, and to organise reporting and analysis.
A common problem with masterdata is that it is spread over the reference data contained in multiple, possibly inconsistent systems (particularly if a company has grown through mergers and acquisitions). Masterdata management (MDM) is the process of consolidating some domain of this information – customer information or account details, say – into a single authoritative source of data. Seismi focus on using MDM to drive business process change and create truly integrated financial processes. Seismi’s chosen tool for MDM is principally by deploying Oracle Hyperion DRM (Data Relationship Management).
We hope this has clarified the differences between metadata and masterdata. If not then please do get in touch and we can dicsuss it in more detail. At least we will be better prepared for when we are asked again!