Is Metadata Worth It?

Loraine Lawson

The Butler Group, a respected IT consultancy, has produced an interesting statistic. Enterprises waste 10 percent of their total salary costs because employees can't find the information they need.


Did we really need a survey to tell us this?


But seriously, the 10 percent figure and others like it are often used by consultants and vendors to justify the value of enterprise content management systems. The question is, are they worth it? Many knowledge workers who have been forced to use an ECM system might argue that they waste 10 percent of their time on inputting the metadata that makes such systems work.


One of the arguments in favor of metadata is another statistic concerning the 50 percent of respondents to a Data Warehousing Institute survey who believed their organization's data was "worse than everyone thinks." Data management gurus like Bill Inmon claim that the solution to problems like these depends on metadata. And no less of a high-tech high flier than Intel claims to have saved millions through persistent efforts to get metadata right.


Ameritrade and Pepsi have also been successful with metadata, and they claim it's even possible to implement a system without stepping on too many toes. Maybe, maybe not.


Next post, we'll look at a hot alternative to ECM and the metadata burden it brings.

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