Meta data management and its use in enterprise data management have become one of the critical information technology (IT) focuses for both global 2000 corporations and large government agencies. As these entities look to reduce their IT portfolios and control escalating IT costs, they are turning to the technical functionality that a meta data repository can provide. This approach is very sound; and the organizations that have built well-architected, enterprise-wide meta data repositories have achieved a tremendous amount of success. Unfortunately, as with most popular IT trends, companies are making key mistakes in building and moving forward on their meta data management investments. One of the chief problems is that companies and agencies are not building one meta data repository; they are building several meta data repositories, none of which speak to each other and without an overall meta data management strategy. In this month's column, I will discuss this proliferation of unarchitected and disjointed meta data repositories and the problems that they cause.

The problem of disparate initiatives is not unique to meta data management. Technologies such as data warehousing, enterprise resource planning (ERP), supply chain management and all flavors of transactional systems have suffered with needless duplication and redundancy. The four most common problems with disparate meta data repositories are: missing meta data relationships, repositories built by non-meta data professionals, costly implementation and maintenance, and poor technology selections.

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