Why You Need a Business Glossary

Avatar photo Haley Teeples October 19th, 2021

What is a Business Glossary and Why is it Helpful?

A Business Glossary is an organization’s list of business terminology and definitions that are used in everyday business practices. By creating a glossary of terms, companies are able to ensure that the same definitions are understood and utilized by everyone when analyzing company data. Having this uniform understanding of terms across an organization is key to establishing a common set of business concepts to help drive accurate internal or external reporting in addition to confident, data-driven decision making. They are also a crucial piece of establishing proper data governance architecture and processes as they allow companies to provide the necessary evidence to prove regulatory compliance for a data governance program. 


Establishing a Glossary Structure

Once a company is able to collect all of the terms into one place, they can begin creating a formal glossary to clearly list and define business concepts. Each term listed can either define a business concept or an entity that can be easily identified by a unique name and defined by a meaningful description specific to the organization. It’s also important to note that definitions should be written in a language that is understood by everyone in the organization as this glossary is intended to standardize interpretation of commonly used business concepts and their appropriate contexts. 


Business Glossary in Action

A business glossary providing the correct terminology in the proper context on one hand eliminates the risk of sharing incorrect information on reports and on the other is a helpful measure for employees to take in order to avoid reporting a miscalculation or a possible data analytics inaccuracy. It provides that extra layer of understanding to help employees avoid big mistakes.

Dataedo’s blog, “What is the Business Value of a Business Glossary?”, provides a simple yet effective example of an issue that could arise without a business glossary. The terms “client” and “customer” are often used interchangeably, and though it may seem like no big deal, some organizations have different contexts for each. Both terms refer to “an individual making a purchase, but for some organizations, a ‘client’ is someone who seeks professional services from a business whereas a ‘customer’ buys goods or services from a business.” Additional examples could be a financial institution’s business glossary that might include the terms Fiduciary and Prime Rate or a healthcare organization’s business glossary might include the terms Glucose and Point of Care (POC). Every business glossary is unique, never a perfect match to another as it represents the internally defined definitions of everyday business practices. 


Maximizing the Value of a Business Glossary with Zaloni Arena

Those who are constantly working with raw data, such as Data Stewards, are far more susceptible to making a mistake that could deliver inaccurate results. Business glossaries serve as a huge benefit to stewards, allowing them to verify the definitions of terms or entities and therefore eliminate the risk of providing data consumers with inaccurate data.

With the Zaloni Arena DataOps platform, creating and maintaining them across a company’s entire data ecosystem is more accessible than ever. Data Stewards, for instance, can use terms to tag and enrich metadata for easy identification. Data Engineers can design automated workflows with the defined business glossary terms in the Arena platform to apply to a particular entity or data set. Data Analysts and Data Scientists also use the terms to search the data catalog in the platform and retrieve the data from within it. These are just a few examples of how a business glossary in Arena is helping companies maximize the value of their data and successfully reach their business goals. 


A Quick Glossary Recap

Developing and establishing a business glossary that is an easily accessible asset and an integral component of the organization’s policies and procedures promotes the clarity needed to unlock an array of company-wide benefits. They are key to promoting cross-team collaboration, maintaining data quality, improving data transparency, and ensuring business vocabulary is understood by all. To learn more about how Zaloni’s Arena DataOps platform could revolutionize your company’s business glossary, be sure to scroll the website, sign up for a guided free trial, or schedule a demo with Zaloni’s data experts.


business glossary

about the author

Haley Teeples is a recent graduate from North Carolina State University and has been working at Zaloni for over a year. She initially joined Team Z as a Marketing Intern and then worked as a Technical Documentation Intern on the Engineering team. With a clear passion for content creation and learning in the data management space, today, Haley serves as an associate on Zaloni's Product Marketing team.