The same holds true in BI. In the July/Aug 2010 issue of Information Management Magazine they had an articaled called Data Definition, How business and IT can speak the same language, Really. Notice how they added the word "Really" on the end of the title. This is because their is a LONG standing gap in the way IT understands data and the way that information consumers (business users) look at data. I don't know about you but nothing sounds more boring to me than defining data! I remember having vocabulary in most of my schooling where the teacher would assign a long list of words and your homework was to write out the definitions, not what I want to do on a Friday night. Looking back, that task was much easier than the daunting task for companies to define their data. The article referenced to above outlines what makes a clear or unclear data definition and one thing is certain, it takes BOTH IT and BUSINESS USERS to define data and is often a recursive task.
The article recommends the following strategy for defining your data:
- Provide examples of unclear versus clear definitions
- Understand what the business user wants to do with the data
- Bring all stakeholders together to review the definition