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The Big Picture: All about Data Lineage Visualization

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Want to learn more about data lineage visualization?

Data lineage visualization is a critical component of data analytics and reporting. It helps you track where your data comes from, how it’s being used, who has access to it, and when the information was last updated.

Most people don’t think about these questions until there is an issue with their company’s data or they need help fixing a problem with their report. In this case, it’s usually too late because no one can figure out what happened and why!

When problems arise in business they are generally due to human error or lack of communication between employees.

This leads to confusion on who did what and when. Without clear lines of communication, businesses cannot be successful at all levels which will affect the bottom line for everyone involved including customers!

But don’t worry! If you’re not sure what data lineage visualization is and how to use it to your benefit, keep reading and we will explain everything about automated data lineage for you!

Data Lineage Definition

Data lineage is a term used in data management to describe the ancestry of data. Data lineage can be hard to understand if you can’t visualize it in your mind. Keep reading and learn more about data lineage visualization here.

Data lineage visualization is the process of creating a diagram that shows how data flows from one step to another in a process.

This can help you understand where your data came from and how it was modified along the way. Data lineage visualization can also help you troubleshoot errors and incorrect data.

Benefits of Data Lineage Visualization

There are several benefits of data lineage visualization:

  1. It helps you with your data better. By seeing how data is modified as it flows through a process, you can better understand it and its relationship to other data.
  2. It helps you troubleshoot errors. If you see that data is being modified in an unexpected way, you can investigate the source of the problem.
  3. It provides a “big picture” view of your data. This can help you understand how different parts of your data are related and how they work together.
  4. It can help you comply with regulations. Many regulatory agencies require companies to track the lineage of sensitive data. Data lineage visualization can help you do this.

How to Create a Data Lineage Diagram

Ever wondered how to create a data lineage diagram? Well, there are many different tools that you can use to create data lineage diagrams:

  1. Pen and paper
  2. Visio
  3. Microsoft Project
  4. Data lineage visualization software

Data lineage visualization software is a dedicated data lineage diagramming tool that you can use to create diagrams of your data lineage.

These tools allow you to easily create a big picture view of your data and its lineage, which can help you better understand it and comply with regulations. There are even tools that allow you to grab the metadata from your source systems and automatically generate lineage diagrams for you!

What Does Data Lineage Look Like?

Data lineage diagrams can look different depending on what tools you use and the format of your data. Here is an example of a basic data lineage diagram:

In this diagram, each block represents a step in the process. For example, the “load” box at the top represents loading or receiving data from source systems. The arrows between boxes represent how data flows between steps in the process.

In this case, it flows from left to right. If there are multiple ways that data could flow between steps, you might see more than one arrow coming out of a box.

One thing that is important to note about all types of diagrams is that they rarely show every step in the process. There are often many additional processes that happen behind the scenes that aren’t shown on a diagram. This is usually done to keep the diagrams simple and easy to understand.

What Can Go Wrong with Data Lineage?

Like any system, data lineage can fail if mistakes are made during processes or if something goes wrong in the process of using the data. Here are some ways you can lose track of lineage: 

  • Modification of source files
  • Incorrect modification of source files
  • Loss of metadata

If changes like these happen or incorrect data gets into your systems, it can be difficult to track down the source of the problem. Data lineage visualization can help you do this, but it depends on having accurate and complete metadata.

How Metadata Fits Into the Process

When you create data lineage diagrams, metadata is an important part of the process. Metadata provides context for your data, like where it came from and how it was created. Without metadata, it can be difficult to understand what steps were taken to modify the data and exactly how each step affected the final product.

Metadata can include things like:

  • Data sources
  • Date ranges
  • File location

Incorrect data can have very different impacts depending on your hardware and software configuration. For instance, incorrect temperature readings from a temperature transmitter can shut down a production facility or cause machinery to wear out prematurely.

If you had metadata that told you where the data came from, this could help you track down problems like these more quickly.

What Does Data Lineage Have to Do with Compliance?

Many regulations require companies to keep track of their data lineage. For example, financial regulations like Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) and the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) require businesses to track their data lineage for certain types of sensitive information.

These regulations are driven by major security breaches that happened in the early 2000s at large financial institutions.

After some digging, it was found that many of these breaches were caused by poor identification and tracking of sensitive data—including data lineage.

Want to Learn More About Data Lineage Visualization?

Data lineage visualization is a process that helps you track the movement of your data from source to destination. It can help you identify and correct problems with your data, and it’s an important part of compliance for many regulations.

Metadata is critical for creating accurate diagrams of data lineage, and the process of creating a diagram can help you find and correct problems with your data.

To learn more about what is data lineage and a data lineage example, please check out our blog now!

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