Excerpt from article written by Jennifer Zaino for Dataversity, Case Study: Enterprise Metadata Repository Facilitates Change at the University of Washington
The value-add of Neo4j, says Portwood(Matt Portwood, product manager for Knowledge Navigator, UW) “is its optimization for graphing and visualizing the relationships. You navigate from the business concepts down to technical data where they can explore answers to questions.”
Knowledge Navigator is the outgrowth of work the University has been doing for several years in developing Metadata Management capabilities. The comprehensive management of Metadata, it believes, is vital to enabling an organization to oversee changes while delivering trusted, secure data in a complex Data Integration environment. Solid Metadata Management tools, the University confirms, play a central role in holistic system management, including system migration.
“This is an add-on to our Metadata Repository,” says Visser. “We had all this Metadata for the EDW in our Metadata application and then we realized we can use that same data to show the migration within the app.”
As Portwood states, the motto on their team is that unless producers and consumers of information agree on meanings, the information itself is meaningless. “But what Neo4j plus the Knowledge Navigator user interface gives us is the ability to navigate across business terms that live in the glossary and technical Metadata,” he says. So, as an example, it’s possible to find agreed-upon definitions of terms, such as STEM, and actually navigate to the data in the EDW that will accurately answer a question like: ‘How many students that graduated with STEM degrees last year were women?’
Neo4j brings to the table its prowess at graphing and visualizing data relationships to further inform Knowledge Navigator results. For instance, Visser notes, it is textually and visually presented that the Person data table that was included in a former report now extends across three different tables in Workday, and might also be found in a different report. Adding relationships and how they go together is “the strength and power of how we give context,” he says.
“And when we talk about Metadata, context is key.” The value-add of Neo4j, says Portwood “is its optimization for graphing and visualizing the relationships. You navigate from the business concepts down to technical data where they can explore answers to questions.”