Metadata in a data warehouse system is information that delivers definitions and the meaning of data and creates links therein. It can precisely characterize every element of the IT system: the structure of the source data, business definitions, the flow of information between applications and the identification of relationships between objects.
Solutions for metadata management improve and organize the processes of discovering, analyzing, and understanding relationships between multiple objects in IT systems and information from a global perspective of the entire enterprise.
In practice, they let users:
- understand the direction of data flow, how the data is transformed, and where its final destination is,
- estimate the time and costs of any changes in the system, by knowing all objects that will be influenced by planned modifications, as well as ensure the consistency of the future process,
- have an integrated, consistent view of all metadata.
Metadata applications support the work of business analysts, data analysts, managers, IT staff, developers and other users of ETL Business Intelligence systems.