About DACS

Service Overview

State government agencies are in the business of collecting, managing, analyzing and disseminating vast amounts of data and information. Given this type of business, there are many challenges and other problems that come with it, including but not limited to the following:

  • Many vertical/siloed applications across the various State agencies
  • No single/centralized metadata repository for State data assets
  • Lots of data assets in many different places and in many different forms
  • No standardized taxonomy for collecting and organizing State data assets
  • Slow responsiveness to urgent data related analytical needs/challenges
  • Limited business/technical documentation and/or metadata available in many cases for State data assets
  • Some data assets being leveraged across multiple applications but this is the exception
  • Some data assets are very well understood and being managed or leveraged well while many others are not
  • Lots of data duplication, data quality, data usage and other inefficiencies as a result of the above

Information governance is a holistic approach to managing, improving, and leveraging information to increase an organization's confidence in its decisions and operational business processes. A well-defined and technology-enabled information governance process enables an organization to analyze information faster and make timely and well-founded decisions. The Data Asset Catalog Service (DACS) is built upon the IBM Infosphere Governance Catalog (IGC) software solution (https://www.ibm.com/us-en/marketplace/information-governance-catalog), and it provides the entry point for the State to understand and govern its information assets. Business analysts and subject matter experts can use DACS to create and manage enterprise vocabulary and information governance practices. Such a system enables them to build a common language between business and information technology.

With DACS, designated users can create glossary assets: terms, categories, information governance policies, and information governance rules. In addition, users can define relationships between the glossary assets that they create and other catalog assets. In addition to glossary assets, the catalog can contain metadata about information assets, which are assets other than glossary assets. Examples of information assets are implemented data resources, such as database tables and columns, ETL jobs, profiling processes, routines, and functions.

The catalog can also contain metadata about external assets. External assets can include items such as business process models, web services, or reports that are in an external asset management system. DACS helps you to explore and manage all these types of assets by providing reports on data flow, lineage and the impact of changes to assets. You can discover and analyze relationships between assets in the catalog to better understand and manage the flow of data through the enterprise. By providing lineage reports and analysis, DACS supports IT professionals who are responsible for compliance and governance initiatives that require lineage information. DACS also supports IT professionals by providing impact analysis that shows the effect of changes to information management environments.

With DACS, State agencies can perform these tasks:

  • Establish a common business language and manage business perspectives about information and align those views with the IT perspective.
  • Explore assets in the catalog:
    • Explore glossary assets, information assets, and external assets, as well as stewards and other catalog content
    • Provide simple and advanced search and robust querying
    • Display a graphical view of asset relationships
    • Track the history of changes to terms
  • Enhance existing metadata with descriptions and associations:
    • Associate related assets, stewards, labels, and custom attributes to assets
    • Create extended data sources to add metadata to the catalog that is not generated automatically or that cannot be easily imported from external applications.
  • Analyze dependencies and relationships of key information assets and business intelligence reports:
    • Trace lineage from jobs and databases to business intelligence reports
    • Understand columns, database tables, and other assets
    • Perform lineage analysis to understand where data comes from or goes to by using shared table information, job design information, or operational metadata from job runs
    • Perform impact analysis to understand dependencies and the effects of changes to a column or job
    • Analyze operational metadata from job runs and the success or failure of events
  • Manage the catalog metadata to obtain in-depth analysis reports:
    • Reconcile duplicate assets
    • Map databases to database aliases
    • Access runtime information to enrich reporting
    • Automate the discovery of relationships within and across data sources to accelerate project deployment
    • Run data lineage to create trusted information that supports data governance and compliance efforts
  • Manage the people and processes that govern your assets
    • Define the people responsible for creating, reviewing, and publishing information governance rules
    • Receive email notification of governance events that occur to your glossary and information assets
    • Approve a new or modified information governance rule, or return the rule to Draft status

The people, process, and technology life cycle for performing metadata management for State data assets using DACS would look like this:

Value Propositions

There are many value propositions for the State associated with using the DACS for metadata management including but not limited to the following:

  • A centralized repository for all State data assets
  • Ability to ingest/import existing metadata from any database or data source
  • Facilitates holistic viewing and reuse of State data assets
  • Standardized/shared vocabulary across the State enterprise
  • Extensive reporting capabilities on cataloged data assets
  • Decentralized/federated management of data assets by data owners
  • A key foundation that is needed to support enterprise data governance and Master Data Management (MDM)
  • Rapid on-boarding/ramp-up using an existing multi-tenant, shared service type platform
  • No cost to State agencies for use of the DACS

Contact Us

Gary Alexander
NC Department of Information Technology
Government Data Analytics Center (GDAC)
Enterprise Data Management
Phone: (919) 754-6501

eMail: Gary.Alexander@nc.gov