data digital transformation

Recently our director Tom Meagher  presented another topical seminar on the legal complexities and commercial considerations of ‘Data in Business’ for Digital Transformation Perth (in collaboration with the Australian Transformation & Turnaround Association (AusTTA))- together with the other guest speakers: Jackie O’Dowd, WA State President of the AusTTA and Van Zyl Kruger of, who also provided insights into the importance of data in digital transformation. A small snippet of what Tom covered is below:

  • Data” refers to information. A piece of data could be a line of text, an image or a list of figures.
  • Metadata”, therefore, is information about data. Metadata provides an explanation or description of the data, which is useful for finding, using and understanding of the information.
    • ‘Business metadata is data that adds business context to other data. It provides information authored by business people and/or used by business people.
    • It is in contrast to technical metadata, which is data used in the storage and structure of the data in a database or system.

–As a simple example, consider a picture of an employee.

  • The picture shows you what that person looks like, but doesn’t give any context, such as when the picture was taken, where it was taken, and what role the employee has within the company. Metadata describes the picture, and also provides the additional, unseen information.

Put another way – Data is content, and Metadata is context.

  • Open data” is data that can be freely used, re-used and redistributed by anyone – subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and sharealike*.
  • Personal data“ may be defined as things such as information about a person e.g. their name, address email, phone number, medical information, date of birth driver’s license, passport, tax file number etc
  • Personal information” is information or an opinion about an identified individual, or an individual who is reasonably identifiable: whether the information or opinion is true or not; and whether the information or opinion is recorded in a material form or not.**

*source: Open Knowledge Foundation (

** Privacy Act 1988 (Cth).