I want to touch a topic called "metadata" today. You probably heard "metadata" term many times. However, if your roots are with CAD and PDM, most of the time you touched "metada" it was related to managing of metadata as "data about CAD models". I want to take wider definition of metadata. Wikipedia provides the following definition to Metadata Management:
Meta-data management (also known as metadata management, without the hyphen) involves storing information about other information. With different types of media being used, references to the location of the data can allow management of diverse repositories.
Metadata management can be defined as the end-to-end process and governance framework for creating, controlling, enhancing, attributing, defining and managing a metadata schema, model or other structured aggregation system, either independently or within a repository and the associated supporting processes (often to enable the management of content).
With specific knowledge domains, the boundaries of the metadata for each must be managed, since a general ontology is not useful to experts in one field whose language is knowledge-domain specific.
One of the conferences, I’m following already few years – Enterprise Data World provides quite good coverage to metadata topic. The next EDW 2013 is in San Diego coming April. I’ve been previewing sessions and found the following one interesting – Demystifying Metadata: A Practical Approach to Solving Critical Business Problems through Effective Metadata Management. Navigate to the following link to read more and see the preview. Here is the important passage about the role of metadata, in my view:
Although metadata management is one of the core components of the Enterprise Data Management discipline, many organizations have difficulty justifying an Enterprise Metadata Management program. In many instances, metadata is viewed narrowly as a technical issue.”
I think, PLM is missing the point of metadata management. The idea of building common business vocabulary and data traceability are two things that I found missed very often in large organizations working on PLM implementations. Companies are implementing specific PLM packages. At the same time, additional focus on metadata management can help organizations to get beyond specific PLM databases and see the business of product information lifecycle.
What is my conclusion? To get beyond single PLM databases. Metadata management can help to build product information lifecycle on the level of organization and not to stuck inside of a specific PLM package. With growing amount of relationships and dependencies in product development, I’d be defining metadata management as one of the most important goals for PLM in coming years. Just my thoughts… How your organization is dealing with metadata? Speak up. I’d like to discuss it.