Should Your CIO Care About Meta Data Management? Part Two

Published in January 2007
Articles in this series – Part 1, Part 2

Part one of this two part series posed the question “should your CIO care about meta data management?” In answering this question I cited a survey which asked CIOs to rank those key technologies
that would create innovation in their company (see Table 1).

Key Technologies for Innovation


Redesigning or Rationalizing IT Architecture          73%
Data Access/Warehousing          55%
Web Services          49%
E-Commerce Systems          36%
ERP          36%
CRM          34%
Systems Integration Tools          34%
Collaboration Technologies          34%
Knowledge Management          33%
Wireless/Mobile Systems          30%
Information Security Technologies          25%
Supply Chain Automation          16%
Radio Frequency Identifier          6%
Grid Computing          1%
Other          1%

[1]Table1: What Are The Key
Technologies For Innovation

Last month I walked through the reasons why CIOs view redesigning/rationalizing IT architecture and data access/data warehousing as key innovative technologies and the vital role that meta data
management plays in both of these. We will now complete are view of this list by examining knowledge management.


Knowledge Management

Benjamin Franklin once said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” Corporations are still trying to fully grasp what Ben Franklin knew all those years ago: knowledge is their most
valuable asset. Knowledge management is the gathering, retaining and disseminating of intellectual capital (i.e., data, information, and knowledge) to enable/achieve business objectives. Meta data
is the data on the knowledge that is within your organization. Therefore knowledge management systems are applications that manage meta data. This is why a managed meta data environment (MME) is
the technical solution for knowledge management.

What About The Others?

While I did not directly address that remaining CIO technologies it is important to understand that all of these have varying degrees of meta data management requirements. For example, applications
like E-Commerce Systems, ERP, CRM, Wireless/Mobile Systems and Supply Chain Automation all have meta data about there processes and data elements. Also, newer innovations like RFID (radio frequency
identifier), Grid Computing and Web Services all are greatly assisted by enterprise meta data management.

As we can see all of the technologies that CIOs cite as important for innovation have varying meta data management requirements, with the top two technologies (redesigning/rationalizing IT
architecture and data access/data warehousing) being absolutely dependent on good meta data management to be successful and sustainable.

The same CIOs that listed these innovative technologies were also asked “what is the goal of their innovative efforts?” Table 2 shows that 81% of CIOs view the goal of “reducing costs/improving
productivity” as a key goal of their innovation. What is the top goal of vast majority of highly successful MME efforts? You guessed it. Reduce costs and improve business user’s productivity.

Goal Of Innovative Efforts


Reduce Costs/Improve Productivity         81%
Improve Customer Satisfaction/Loyalty         71%
Create or Enable Competitive Advantage         66%
Generate Growth         54%
Generate New Revenue Streams         43%
Optimize/Streamline the Supply Chain         37%
Enable Global Operations/Expansion         16%
Other         1%

[2]Table 2: What Is The Goal Of
Innovative Efforts?

Necessary Evil?

Is meta data management a “necessary evil?” Hardly. There are many people that have devoted their career around implementing managed meta data environments and building meta data management
organizations. Having talked to thousands of these people over the years I can attest that they are very passionate about their work, live meta data management 24×7 and tend to be very upbeat and

Should Your CIO Care?

To those of us that have been in the meta data industry for a long time we have seen a surprising change in the level of people looking at meta data management. For example, in the early 1990s
whenever I would speak to a CIO, CFO or CEO I was very careful not to use the word meta data as I realized it would be poor use of their limited time to try to explain the topic. Rather I would
talk about a database and the strategic functions and features that it would provide to their company. Over the last six to seven years these c-level people are now bringing up the topic to me.
While there is still as ways to go before this understanding is as widespread as it should be, when around half of the executives I’ve worked with bring it up, you know that progress has
definitely been made.

Our original question was “should your CIO care about meta data management?” As we see meta data management is a key enabler for the majority of the top innovative issues that are facing CIOs.
Clearly the answer is a resounding yes.

[1] CIO Magazine, April 1,
2005 (respondents checked all that applied)

[2] CIO Magazine, April 1,
2005 (respondents checked all that applied)

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David Marco

David Marco

Mr. Marco is an internationally recognized expert in the fields of enterprise architecture, data warehousing and business intelligence, and is the world’s foremost authority on metadata.  Mr. Marco is the author of several widely acclaimed books including “Universal Meta Data Models” and “Building and Managing the Meta Data Repository: A Full Life-Cycle Guide”.  Mr. Marco has taught at the University of Chicago, DePaul University, and in 2004 he was selected to the prestigious Crain’s Chicago Business "Top 40 Under 40". He is the founder and President of EWSolutions, a GSA schedule and Chicago-headquartered strategic partner and systems integrator dedicated to providing companies and large government agencies with best-in-class business intelligence solutions using data warehousing, enterprise architecture and managed metadata environment technologies (

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