Data Lineage: Your GPS for Data Process Excellence

Cameron OgdenNovember 23, 2020

Webinar: Connecting Critical Data to Business Processes & Operations

Several years ago, I took a road trip to visit a college friend a few states away. This was before the age of big data and smartphones when owning a GPS was a luxury item. Even before terms like data quality, data lineage and data governance were buzzwords.

For those without a GPS, it wasn’t uncommon to get lost if you somehow got knocked off course from the directions you printed from And without a smartphone, you couldn’t open a smartphone app to get you back on track.

Roadtrips Pre-Smartphone Era

Here is the story of my trip. My friend gave me his address, I printed up directions, hopped in the car and started on my way.

  • First, I got a speeding ticket from a policeman camping in a speed trap in the median off the interstate. I explained that I wasn’t from the area and didn’t see any posted speed limit signs. He grinned, knowing that I was an out-of-towner and probably wouldn’t show up to court to dispute it. An easy decision for him to write the ticket and an easy lesson for me to keep my mouth shut.
  • Later in my trip, I hit an unexpected detour due to heavy road construction. I wandered 10 miles off the highway before finding a gas station and asking for directions back to the interstate.
  • At some point, I noticed the gas gauge in my 15-year-old car hadn’t moved in a few hours. I either was getting 200 miles per gallon or my gauge was broken. Before I could stop, I ran out of gas, putting the final nail in the coffin for my trip. I called my friend and told him we would have to cancel the weekend.

Suffice to say, my journey back then would have been much different if I could have known about all of those hazards in advance. Of course, speed traps, detours and busted dashboards still exist today but they rarely have such negative an impact. Thanks to smartphones and GPS apps like Waze, we’re able to receive directions wherever we go on the highway. We see upcoming detours miles in advance. We’re notified of sneaky policemen hiding in speed traps.  We have access to a bevy of roadside assistance services if we need them.

So what does this have to do with data lineage?

How Data Lineage Links Data to Business Processes and Operations

All businesses operate like an interstate highway system. For example, every company has its core processes (interstates), subprocesses (smaller roads), business rules (speed limits, traffic laws), metrics (dashboard gauges) and data experts (helpful local samaritans who can get you back on course).

Every day, businesses work to navigate their super-highways as efficiently as possible to achieve their core objectives. The goal is to get from A to B quickly and safely, all while trying to avoid detours and downtime, predict upcoming hazards (poor data quality, regulatory and compliance challenges) and put experts into leadership and stewardship roles. This is where data lineage comes into play.

The Role of Data Lineage in Business Processes

Like our actual highways, business processes and data are in a state of rapid growth. According to Forbes, by 2025, there will be over 150 zettabytes of data to analyze. As a result, understanding how data flows from source to source and verifying data migration across sources is essential to business process excellence. Business processes often utilize data combined from numerous systems, including sending and receiving data from external systems and sources. Customers, vendors and product information flows in and out of the organization like rush hour traffic merging on and off exit ramps. As a result, data and business processes need to be closely connected. The same goes for data lineage insights and business process insights.

Like the smartphones and GPS apps we use today, shouldn’t there be a way to bring all of these elements together into a single space so you could see the end-to-end process, its data, applicable rules, quality levels and experts?

3D Lineage

Data360 3D Lineage is like the magic GPS to help you navigate your business process highways.  It gives visibility across data, systems and processes so data leaders can make better decisions about driving business process excellence with data. Additionally, 3D Lineage provides context into the full process, data supporting each process step, stage gates, ownership hand-off points, essential business rules, data quality impacts, and more. These capabilities reap several benefits:

  1. Drive business process improvement and enhance operational efficiency
  2. Improve architectural decisions for system management and access
  3. Enhance data for business use
  4. Improve trust of KPIs and PPIs
  5. Get better insights into the data ownership model

Above all, 3D Lineage gives the necessary context needed into business processes to increase the value of data-driven programs. So as the roads get more complicated and the hazards more treacherous, it doesn’t mean the journey has to be.

Are you looking for more information on Data Lineage? Read our press release:

For additional resources on data lineage, check out this article from Inside Big Data

Get Insights

For a deeper dive into this topic, visit our resource center. Here you will find a broad selection of content that represents the compiled wisdom, experience, and advice of our seasoned data experts and thought leaders.

Webinar: Connecting Critical Data to Business Processes & Operations