How does master data compare with metadata?

Gartner defines metadata as the information that describes various facets of an information asset to improve its usability throughout its life cycle. Metadata converts data into an information asset by providing an understanding of data.

Metadata describes the what, when, and why of data to use it effectively. Master data describes the business entities to use them effectively in transactions and operations.

Master Data Metadata
Data about the business entities Data about information assets
Shared standard definitions of business data Shared standard definitions of information assets
Types include people, products, places, financial and organizational data, and reference data Types include business metadata, technical metadata, and operational metadata
Provides context to transactions Provides context to data
Drives operational consistency Unlocks the value of data

Both master data and metadata ensure operational consistency across the enterprise, driving data quality and governance. Collaboration between business users and IT optimizes the value delivered by both master data and metadata.

Master Data Management (MDM) is closely associated with metadata management, and organizational data strategy often considers both together.