Active Metadata Management is becoming increasingly important in the modern enterprise. The Gartner® Market Guide for Active Metadata Management, published on 14 November 2022, focuses on the escalating need for active metadata management, providing insights as to where the market is heading and offering recommendations for business analytics leaders.
The growing demand for augmented data management, which allows for time-consuming data management tasks to be automated and enables businesses to base their decisions on reliable data, is driving the requirement for active metadata management.
The Market Guide defines active metadata management as “a set of capabilities that enables continuous access and processing of metadata that support ongoing analysis over a different spectrum of maturity, use cases and vendor solutions. Active metadata outputs range from design recommendations based upon execution results and reports of runtime steps through, and indicators of, business outcomes achieved. The resulting recommendations from those analytics are issued as design inputs to humans or system-level instructions that are expected to have a response.”
Amongst its Key Findings, the Market Guide observes that “Existing metadata management tools are increasingly incapable of fulfilling comprehensive metadata needs in the enterprise”, and that “Metadata capabilities embedded in most data management solutions must expand to provide metadata analysis for all types of metadata categories from any platform”.
Another Key Finding is that “There is a lack of common metadata standards, which makes metadata sharing and interoperability a major challenge across multiple metadata management solutions in the market”. Having encountered this issue, Intenda addressed it by integrating Fraxses with Egeria open source metadata and governance standard for enterprises. Egeria provides open APIs, event formats, types and integration logic that enable organisations to share data management and governance across the entire enterprise without reformatting or restricting the data to a single format, platform, or product. The integration of Egeria puts things in place for Fraxses to support automated system changes in adjacent data management systems, and offer value to business by facilitating the seamless sharing of metadata across different solutions.
Intenda is recognised for Fraxses on the Market Guide’s list of Representative Vendors whose products leverage passive and active metadata. We believe that the platform’s capabilities place it firmly in the upper half of the Metadata Management Technology Maturity graph that is included in the Market Guide. Amongst others, these capabilities include content analysis and data profiling tools that infer missing metadata and evaluate content and data value change patterns respectively.
That Fraxses facilitates active metadata management is clear, however, it is important to note that Intenda does not market the platform as such. Intenda CTO Jaco van Niekerk, a key figure in the conceptualisation and evolution of Fraxses, explains: “Fraxses is a data platform, not an active metadata management solution. Managing metadata is only around 10% of what it is capable of. Fraxses gives you much more than just a metadata management solution.”
In our opinion, it follows that while there is certainly a degree of congruence between Fraxses and active metadata management solutions as defined in the Market Guide, there is also divergence. For example, amongst the capabilities the Market Guide identifies as essential in the active metadata management market space are alerts and recommendations. “Active metadata management includes the capability of operationalizing these analytic outputs in the form of operational alerts and generated recommendations. It identifies the nature and extent of patterns in data operations, ultimately resulting in AI-assisted reconfiguration of data itself and operations that use that data in active metadata utilization.” Fraxses handles this differently: rather than generating alerts and recommendations, the platform automatically optimises queries in its Compute Engine. In effect, it applies its own recommendations without any involvement on the part of the user, thus reducing complexity and eliminating the possibility of human error.
Further to this, the Market Guide states that “Existing purpose-built metadata management tools and solutions are increasingly challenged as the primary metadata asset in the enterprise by adjacent data management platforms such as databases, data integration, data quality and data governance tools. As a result, the metadata management capabilities required in the enterprise will be distributed across many markets. The stand-alone metadata management platform will be refocused from augmented data catalogs to a metadata “anywhere” orchestration platform.”
We find this statement interesting from a Fraxses perspective, because in Intenda’s view, it illustrates that the platform cannot be categorised as an active metadata management solution. In this scenario, Fraxses is not only the metadata “anywhere” orchestration platform, it also performs the data integration, data quality and data governance (not forgetting data virtualisation) functions. In covering the whole ecosystem, Fraxses provides the ideal framework on which organisations can build what data and analytics leaders agree is the architecture of the future: the metadata-driven data fabric.
As the Market Guide predicts, active metadata market adoption “is expected to accelerate over the next five years, driven by the maturity of data fabric design and the realization of shared metadata value.” As the market matures, Fraxses too is advancing: Intenda is currently engaged in a project that bridges the gap between generic and domain-specific data profiling. This will ultimately lead to augmented Data Objects within Fraxses, enabling augmented metadata management by machine learning, as well as data and metadata profiling to identify existing data use patterns and make delivery recommendations to users. This new functionality, scheduled for release in Q4 of 2023, will take Fraxses to yet another new level and expand further on the platform’s metadata capabilities.
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