Maggie McGlenn

What I Did Last Summer as an FSFP Intern (Collibra Project)


Last summer, I had the fantastic opportunity to work as an intern at First San Francisco Partners (FSFP). As a student studying biology and data science, I sought an opportunity where I could see how data science and data is used in the real world and how good data practices are invaluable to businesses.

Looking back on my time, I certainly gained this experience working with the FSFP’s data governance experts in a company focused on making data actionable for businesses. I worked specifically with Collibra (a data governance and metadata management technology) and many of FSFP’s Collibra experts and consultants.

FSFP’s Collibra Toolkit (SharePoint) Refresh

I worked specifically with the internal Collibra consultants. My first task was to help reimagine the Collibra toolkit, a resource library the team already used. The idea for a new, improved toolkit was to take all our documents related to FSFP’s Collibra practice and compile everything into a single, easy-to-locate source containing the most up-to-date information for their consultants to reference as they work with clients implementing the Collibra platform.

I sifted through archived Collibra documents, deciding which ones held useful information and removing redundant or extraneous documents. While reading through everything, I learned so much about data governance and management and pieced together how we use Collibra in different use cases. I saw how essential capturing metadata and lineage encouraged strong data practices and how Collibra facilitates this.

New Collibra Community

After creating a toolkit prototype, I put my new knowledge to the test. I was tasked to create a Collibra Community where information used by FSFP could be stored. I set out to create an environment where anyone could go to become more familiar with FSFP and Collibra.

To create this community, I tapped into my training as a data science student by thinking about how different information relates to one another and how different observations relate to one another on a data table. Thinking about the information I sorted through, I saw three primary areas of interest: FSFP data capability definitions and information, Collibra information and third-party technology vendors. This understanding led me to create three domains under the general community.

Glossaries Times Two

The first domain was a single location to find all best-practice definitions of FSFP-specific business terms. I found these terms everywhere, from emails to training manuals and even from messages in Slack. I hoped that creating a repository of terms could help with onboarding new consultants to the “FSFP way,” creating a shared understanding of terms and providing an easy way to review those terms.

I also created a Collibra-specific glossary, a place to find Collibra-generated definitions for terms. The aim of this glossary was to make it easier to learn or review Collibra terms while working with clients using this software and support a common understanding among FSFP’s consultants. The definitions came from the transcripts of the training videos provided by Collibra University. I found myself referencing these terms a lot as I navigated Collibra to create the glossary.

Extra Credit: Organizing Technology Vendors

While working on this project, I discovered another need — a place to store information about commonly used technology that FSFP clients use in tandem with Collibra or on their own, such as ETL, CRMs/ERPs, data visualization software and cloud data stores. In the community, I created a domain housing a comprehensive list of these vendors and the products/functionality they offer. This domain provides a place for FSFP consultants to review products for future understanding, tips and recommendations, making sure the information gained while working with others is captured for future use.

I also noted where Collibra integrations to ingest technical metadata and lineage were available for these other vendors. Thinking through how the various areas fit together the way data does on a spreadsheet, I used Colllibra’s metamodel to capture details and make information more readily accessible.

Introducing New Tool to the Team

At the end of my time here, I presented my findings to the team. I recommended some next steps for continuing the work I did that could put the finishing touches on the new Collibra Community and ideas for updating the information as more Collibra technology partners are added.

I came to FSFP last summer knowing only a little about data management and nothing about Collibra or other data governance software. By the end of the summer, I felt completely comfortable storing and accessing information within the Collibra catalog.

Anyone who understands the basics of data organization, even on a spreadsheet level, can use a tool like Collibra. When information is organized in a way that’s consistent with the company structure so those who need it can find it intuitively, it’s a wonderful thing.

My experience with FSFP left me with a great appreciation for how effective data management reduces organizational inefficiencies in meaningful ways. The feedback I received on my summer intern project was rewarding, and I can see how my work will bring value to FSFP.

Article contributed by Maggie McGlenn, a student at Lawrence University in Appleton, WI.