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akin to the United States before the states had a common currency. “That didn’t really work well,” he said. “If we can all work in the same currency, our data economy will improve. That is the underlying principle.”
Beyond data definitions, metadata also allows Notre Dame to manage data security in the data warehouse. Is the data restricted and if so, how? “We can build a view from the metadata that enforces the security of the data warehouse, and which things you can access based on your role,” he said.
In its effort to build a more open and transparent culture around access to data, Notre Dame has created an acceptable use policy for data. It includes guidelines for how you can decide data is restricted and what happens if employees fail to uphold those restrictions. “It is not enough to decide what the data is called; then you have to decide who should have access to it,” Frederick asserted. “There are some other pillars we haven’t tackled yet, such as retention and archiving. But we are chipping away at it in an effort to make data more broadly available on campus.”
At dataND steering committee meetings, the university’s vice presidents sing the praises of the data governance effort. “It is like shining a flashlight into the dark corners of your university,” Frederick said. “Data is an asset like money. Have we been managing it well and making wise investments with our data? Do we have good processes that ensure that the data that goes in gets a good return when we pull it out? In a lot of cases we do not. That is inhibiting our ability to get value from it. But what we are finding is that without governance, we would not even know that is the issue.”
Frederick said he wouldn’t want to work at a university that didn’t take governance and metadata seriously. “Without this, there is only so far you can go with business intelligence.”
David Raths is a freelance writer based in Philadelphia. CAMPUS TECHNOLOGY | January/February 2018
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