By: Zéger Nieuweboer, Data Steward, Dutch Tax and Customs Administration (DTCA), Apeldoorn (NL)
Abstract: The overall objective of metadata management is to deliver reliable and unambiguous information. The acceptance of metadata by the business is essential for achieving this objective. The experience of the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration (DTCA) shows that a very simple metadata model increases the business acceptance of metadata.
The Metadata pitfall
In 2012 the Dutch Government launched a metadata programme. The goal of the programme was to standardize definitions, in order to compare the performance of the eleven departments of the Dutch government. The metadata programme and the metadata repository was based upon the Australian Metadata Standard (Alasem, 2009)
At the annual Metadata Day in the Hague, the results of het metadata programme were shown to the business owners of the departments. During the several presentations of the Australian standard and the metadata repository the resistance of the audience grew. The business customers couldn’t recognize themselves in the technical presentations. Even some people in the audience felt that the ownership of definitions was “stolen” by the metadata programme team.
Obviously there was a big gap between the expectations of the business customers and the deliverables of the metadata programme team. Time for a different approach.
The Business metadata approach
In the last five years the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration paved the road for a better business acceptance of metadata. Starting point was to set up a simple metadata model:
3- Business Rules
Business rules describe the operations, definitions and constraints that apply to an organization. The business rules affects the definition of the delivered BI/Control Products.
2 –BI/Control Product
Based upon the performance and/or control objectives the metadata of the BI products and control products is described. The operational rules describe in which way and with which selection the figures are presented.
1- Data Building Bricks
The data building bricks, like LEGO bricks, are the link between the BI-Product and the data source. The data quality rules describe the availability and correctness of source data.
This three layer model is distributed as the Business Metadata standard.
The Metadata tool
The Dutch Tax and Customs Administration has chosen for SAS Business Data Network (SAS BDN) as the standard metadata management tool. The general concept of the metadata tool SAS BDN aligns with the Business Metadata standard. The administration of data quality rules and data monitoring is heavily supported by SAS BDN. The administration of business rules and their relation to delivered BI Products needs further development.
Metadata, Business, Tool
I want to thank Diederik Dulfer, Architect at DTCA, for his comment at an earlier version of this article.
Alasem, Abdurrahman, An overview of e-Government Metadata standards, Strathclyde University (UK), 2009