The term metadata carries a mystique with it that adds to the difficulty of deploying a metadata management environment. The view of the metadata management environment needs to change. We need to think of it as a major application system that exists for the purpose of managing the enterprise asset of data. The human resource system manages data about employees; the general ledger system manages information about money; the inventory management system manages information about inventory. Similarly, the information management system (a.k.a. metadata management system) manages information about information.

Many companies are experiencing problems because they lack concise definitions of the fields in their reports. Their analysts waste a lot of time because of this one issue, and that time could be better used to generate revenue. This is one of many symptoms of the lack of an effective system (application and business processes) for capturing, maintaining and disseminating information about information. Changing the way we think of metadata is a critical first step toward improving the situation. We should stop calling it metadata management. Once we change our thinking, we can address development of the information management system as we would any other major application system.

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