Introducing the Business Glossary - A single standardised source of truth for important metrics
Start building your own dictionary for your organization, assign ownership to business metrics and link tables and columns to these metrics.
Sarah is a data analyst at an e-commerce company who was tasked by her manager to analyze the company’s sales growth over the past quarter in order to provide insight to the executive team. She pulls up the sales data and calculates the growth rate, which comes out to 15%. She's pleased with this result, as it suggests that the company is experiencing steady growth.
A Mistaken Analysis
However, what she doesn’t realize is that she misunderstood the metric and retrieved the information from the wrong tables. Instead of focusing on high-value orders from a few key customers, she has included all orders in her analysis, regardless of their value or source. As a result, her analysis suggests that sales growth is being driven by a high volume of low-value orders from new customers.
What if Sarah had presented this analysis to the executives? It could have had a negative impact on the e-commerce company's decision-making process. For example, if the executives had made decisions based on her incomplete understanding of the sales growth KPI, they might have directed resources towards initiatives that were not actually contributing to sustainable growth. This could have resulted in a waste of time, money, and other valuable resources.
Does this situation sound familiar to you?
The Importance of a Business Glossary
If Sarah had access to a Business Glossary (such as what decube has right out of the box), she could have used it to better understand the term sales growth and ensure that she was retrieving the information from the correct tables. For example, the Glossary might have defined sales growth as the increase in revenue generated by high-value orders from repeat customers.
From Decube’s Business Glossary, she could also see the linked tables and columns (via the Link Assets feature) that she can query to derive the data needed for her analysis. If there was an issue on one of the tables (for example, if it failed a freshness check in Decube’s Data Quality module), she would also be aware and practice additional caution before retrieving data from it.
She would have been also able to see who were the owners of the glossary and its related terms, which indicates who within the organization was responsible for maintaining the metric and ensuring its accuracy. This would have given Sarah a clear point of contact to consult if she had any questions or concerns about the metric.
Standardizing Understanding of Key Metrics
The truth is many teams struggle with making the most important metrics in the organization into a common understanding among multiple business lines, with clear ownership assigned to ensure it is constantly updated. It is hence not a surprise that some business glossary actually exists on a spreadsheet in the likes of Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets (and we sympathize with those who have to deal with this). Over time, a glossary unlinked to any other tool natively becomes a nightmare to maintain and manage, and they may not offer the necessary functions such as linking data assets, assigning ownership and tracking who had made changes.
Decube has just launched the Business Glossary, which you can start to build your own dictionary for your organization based on what makes sense in your business context. Sign up today and instantly get access via a 30-day trial where you can explore an unlimited Data Catalog and set up some Data Quality monitoring.
Interested in seeing what we’re working on next? Check out our Public Roadmap.