Gartner Highlights the Importance of Active Metadata Management

In the many years I’ve been doing marketing, I’ve always respected market analysts like Gartner that play an important role in influencing market spaces. The Gartner research process prides itself by gathering input from a variety of market, vendor, and client sources. As a result, technology selection and purchase decisions rely frequently on Gartner’s opinions and reports.

I recently read the latest edition of Gartner’s Market Guide for Active Data Management that was published in November. It’s both dense and speculative. There’s a lot to consider for an enterprise searching for better ways to manage and utilize their data assets. I’ll try to summarize the essentials that describe how the metadata management marketplace is evolving.

Metadata Management Is Evolving

It’s no longer enough for metadata management solutions to simply identify, gather, and provide access to metadata across the business. Enterprises need opportunistic platforms that enable capabilities such as platform-to-platform orchestration, data observability, runtime metrics (usage, affinity, user behaviors, etc.), and change automation for adjacent data management systems. Machine learning and AI will underpin these advanced features.

This isn’t a comprehensive list of Gartner’s view of required capabilities, but you get the general idea. Enterprises that make intelligent use of such capabilities will have a competitive advantage. They will save time and money while extracting new business value from data. Administrators and users will make extensive use of notifications and optimization recommendations to dramatically increase the efficiency of the corporate data fabric.

The lack of formal metadata standards is a big problem, especially where unstructured data is concerned. Active metadata management platforms will make use of taxonomies and semantic formalism (e.g., industry-specific ontologies) to address this problem. At the same time, these forms of universal understanding will enhance system interoperability and clarity for data consumers.

What was particularly interesting to me was how similar the 2022 and 2021 reports were. The most recent report simply refined the existing themes and confirmed continuing and extraordinary interest in these solutions from enterprises. The number of vendors offering metadata management solutions is large, but Gartner asserts that none of them are where they need to be … yet.

The Future of Active Data Management Is Here

With that said, the Gartner report is focused on the necessary evolution of this market space rather than the current environment. I can say, with a high degree of confidence, that the future is here. Orion’s capabilities map nicely to many that Gartner says are not widely available (if at all). My bold assertion naturally requires an explanation.

First, it’s important to understand what underpins Orion’s active metadata capabilities. Very simply, the Orion platform reaches, extracts, and ingests complex metadata to an extent unmatched by competitors in this space. Superior active metadata management doesn’t exist without this. Period. Data and metadata complexity is increasing exponentially. Orion’s goal has always been to stay ahead of that tsunami while maintaining data asset visibility and creating new comprehensions.

Second, Orion has always been obsessed with improving data quality. The features that support this goal have been embedded throughout the platform. For example, you can compare our data lineage capability to those on competitor platforms. You’ll find it superior, in part due to the metadata reach described above. In fact, we encourage business intelligence reporting to include the platform’s quality metrics for transparency that elevates the trust of business users.

Third, the Orion platform has always produced the most unique and comprehensive enterprise knowledge graph available in this market space. It’s known as the Enterprise Information Intelligence Graph (EIIG). By itself, a raw knowledge graph would be impenetrable by an average user. Orion provides a semantic layer created from a derived ontology that enables business users to quickly understand the full scope and potential of their data assets.

Other Orion platform features that map to Gartner’s future vision include:

  • Optimization opportunities. Prescriptive recommendations are delivered to humans, or automatically and dynamically implemented via machine-level instructions sent to adjacent data management systems. Automatic resource allocation and reallocation is a particular focus.
  • Universal connectivity. Orion’s platform is technology-, application-, and platform-agnostic. It connects to everything. Sophisticated APIs enable bidirectional exchanges.
  • Complete observability. This includes capturing runtime metadata (e.g., usage, affinities, user behaviors, workflows).
  • User pattern identification. Group users with similar viewing patterns to recommend similar content and to detect anomalies.
  • Collaborative design. Validate changes and additions to the data fabric. Compare design goals against actual experiences.
  • Platform-to-platform orchestration. Exchange metadata with adjacent platforms for a more proactive and efficient data fabric management.

If you are considering a data management platform for your enterprise, I challenge you to compare what Orion offers to the capabilities of our competitors. You will be pleasantly surprised.


About the author: Nancy Chou is the Chief Marketing Officer at Orion Governance, Inc.

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