What is a business term?

Last week, we looked at why we need a business glossary.

This week we will discuss what we capture in a business glossary.

First, and most obviously, we capture business terms.

Business terms

A business term is a word or phrase that describes a concept that is used in a particular branch of business.

Examples may include annual leave,, customer, purchase order, personal loan.

The business glossary should not be considered an enterprise dictionary of knowledge but rather as an inventory for business terms under governance.

The real value of the business glossary can only occur as we begin to link business terms to their use within the business.

For example, business terms may be used in reports, may be governed by rules or standards, may be created (or destroyed) by a business process, etc.

Best practice suggests that we do not treat business terms as conceptual objects – in other words if a terms does not represent a real object that is in use in the business then we should not govern it in our glossary.

The terms sick leave, customer, purchase order and personal loan represent real business objects that have specific operational and reporting uses. Our glossary will define them in terms of their consistent business use across the enterprise

In order to properly define Business terms, our glossary must also support the business structures and artifacts that use or define them


These include:

Report catalog

A set of report definitions that use particular business terms

Business Processes

A set of business processes that produce or destroy business terms

Business rules and standards

A set of rules and standards that apply rela world restrictions on business terms

Technical metadata

It must also be possible to link business terms to the technical metadata ( applicaiotns / systems, schemas, tables and columns) that represent these business terms in our data landscape

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