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Making Information Governance Pay Off With Integrated Data Governance - Q&A with Irene Polikoff, CEO and Co-Founder, TopQuadrant

In a recent interview with KMWorld, Irene Polikoff, CEO and co-founder of TopQuadrant, discussed the company’s approach to data governance and the unique advantages that knowledge graphs bring to the data understanding and knowledge sharing. Knowledge graphs capture not only data, but they can also capture the theory, context, and background knowledge behind data, she explained.

Joyce Wells: Irene, to start off, can you tell us a bit about TopQuadrant?

Irene Polikoff: TopQuadrant is a software vendor. We help organizations succeed in information governance. Our flagship product is called TopBraid Enterprise Data Governance, or TopBraid EDG for short, and it delivers easy and meaningful access to all information stakeholders to enterprise metadata and reference data. This includes a broad range of things such as business terms, data and application catalogs, content catalogs, data lineage, requirements, policies, processes, and so on.

TopBraid EDG is an industry-first data governance solution that is based on knowledge graph technologies. Throughout the history of our company, we have had a strong focus on and commitment to standards-based approaches to capturing semantics of data. This is part of our DNA, and it's very important to us. As one example, we have been contributing to the development of knowledge graph standards at W3C, the World Wide Web Consortium, which is led by the inventor of the web, Tim Berners-Lee. And, of course, we use those standards in our product.

JW: What does TopQuadrant offer?

IP: As I mentioned, TopBraid EDG is our flagship product, and it offers the most complete and mature information governance solution based on knowledge graphs. It was released at the end of 2016, and it's now deployed at over 70 enterprise customers. EDG is available in a number of packages. Each package can be used separately, yet they work seamlessly together. There is no need to re-install. If you want to have an additional package, it's enabled by the license key.

Each of these packages focuses on a set of distinct use cases. For example, our vocabulary management package is typically used by customers who want to manage terminologies and enrich search over unstructured content, while the metadata management package is typically used by those who are focused on data cataloging and the emerging data fabric architectures. EDG Is available both for on-prem install and as a SaaS solution. And then we also offer professional services and training to help customers use EDG in the most effective way. This may include services for configuring, extending, or integrating EDG—for example, developing custom workflows, giving advice on organizing information, and so on.

JW: What makes TopQuadrant's approach to information governance stand out in the market?

IP: Our product offers the most comprehensive view of the use of data, its meaning, and its connections?all the way from the business context, such as processes to technical information, for example, data formats, and structural data elements. And it integrates management and governance of both unstructured and structured information.

EDG is fully model-driven—or, we could say, metadata-driven. It is completely open, which means it fully exposes all the information. It captures two other systems for both read and write access, and it can import any metadata from the external systems, including any new, unexpected metadata. EDG captures both static metadata, as well as active metadata, which is a term coined by Gartner as required to support data fabric architectures. This includes new knowledge and context that, for example, data stewards and other users could add but also information that could be inferred and inserted into the store by TopBraid EDG itself. The secret sauce in EDG that makes all this possible is our use of knowledge graph technology.

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