Metadata is data about data. Because data covers an endless source of information (via documents, images, video, spreadsheets, etc.), it’s a priority for IT. Least of all because metadata managements ensures that the database remains integral. Metadata lets people like you and me find relevant data in a shorter amount of time.

Let’s look at 6 reasons why metadata should be a major focus in how you run your business online:

1. Errors

If metadata is not managed properly, it can send the whole organization askew. This is because it will provide information that’s improperly applied to the asset. Nor will it provide information that’s relevant to the asset. Metadata is not an automatic process – it must be developed, and maintained, by a user. infrastructure issues become harder to troubleshoot.

2. Needs Maintenance

Let’s take websites as an example. In the past, links on those pages that lead to inbound resources were organized as lists on static pages. Metadata is more efficient, because it can be used through software tool—or ‘old school’ methods like card catalogs– saving everybody time. Consider it a data ecosystem: without continually updating metadata, the ecosystem falters.

Organization suffers. Managed metadata provides cumulative returns over time.

3. Trust

Unmanaged metadata provides conflicting information to teams. Organisations, to reiterate, suffer. Unmanaged metadata “crumbles the system”, because there’s no way of knowing how the data entered the system, when it was introduced or if it followed any business rules. People will end up not trusting the “database” about assets.

4. Cost

Operating costs are reduced because of these “meta tag strategies”. Data-driven enterprises need to know what data they have, making data inventory more time-consuming than it has to be. Management tools make dev projects run a lot smoother, preventing time taken to define and analyse data.

Needless to say, doing so would cost an arm and a leg in fees and expenses. Not to mention that the data that is defined is usually duplicated across several systems – driving up storage costs even farther.

5. Interoperability

Metadata lets both man and machine understand each other – Windows users can communicate effectively with Linux users, and vice versa. (That is putting it broadly.) The fact is, there are many operating platforms and data structures in an organization; networks and storage being two forms of data structures that rely on seamless redundancy for effective use. That’s a lot of metadata to create and update.

Managing that metadata, which keeps all of those infrastructures operating with each other, only helps the company. Resources are facilitated smoothly.

6. Relevancy

Let’s take Cortana, available on Windows 10. You ask her what you’re looking for – and she finds it. She’s a ‘real world’ example of how metadata operates. In order to find the information that you’re looking for, she needs to understand how the data in your computer is structured, what the definitions of the used terms are, and how should the data in that information be read.

One instance where Cortana isn’t similar to metadata management is relevancy. Cortana can find all the information on the keywords you feed her – but it’s your job to sift through the pages of information to find the “gem” that’s related to you.

Metadata requires user input to define which “gems” apply to the keyword that the user is searching for. It’s easy to see why businesses in every industry need Metadata Management Tool – especially in the information age.

Conclusion

The next time you wonder whether metadata management is worth the investment, remember the search engine. Yes, a search engine is a form of data management. They’re excellent at finding strings of text at lightning speeds. But those strings of text may not be relevant—or even applicable—to the user searching for that string of text.

Keeping metadata relevant and up-to-date helps users find relevant data they’re searching. This is priceless for enterprises who rely on each other.