When Do I Need a Data Catalog?
These days, any organization that wants to remain relevant and competitive need to prioritize data analytics and data governance. You don’t need to be a data scientist to know that in a world of big data, continuous event streams, and digital transformations, data is one of the most powerful resources available. Accurate and current data can give you excellent insights into your own business processes, customer behavior, market trends, and much more. Data scientists and analysts are constantly using big datasets to help improve automation with machine learning and other advanced concepts. Fortunately for business users, you can find data analytics and visualization solutions that will do the heavy lifting for you.
Of course, all the solutions in the world won’t do you much good if you’re unable to locate the right data at the right time for it to be of any use. This is why a data catalog is so important for modern organizations. Your data catalog is, basically, a collection of all your data assets across your entire organization. The catalog will mostly be made up of metadata, which is basically data about other data and acts as a descriptor for each important dataset from each data source. Metadata management like this is crucial for any data governance effort. Without this kind of management, data engineers and other users would have to sort through enterprise data manually—a process so time-consuming that the data may no longer be accurate or current by the time it’s found. The fact is that modern businesses always need a data catalog. Here are some of the biggest reasons why.
Everyone can use it
Data possesses some of the highest business value of any resource you have, and there are all kinds of data users looking to take advantage of it. This includes data analysts, data scientists, data stewards, stakeholders, software developers, and more. Data can also be stored in different formats using different technology, and datasets may even be stored on different servers or in different cloud solutions. Maintaining a single data catalog makes it easy for all data citizens to find the data they need in the format they need it.
This empowers all business users can find accurate and current data for their needs, and it enables easy collaboration among team members, since everyone will be working with the same metadata. This also frees up your tech support team from having to constantly create different solutions to deliver the right data to different data consumers.
Data sharing is simple
These days, you can’t afford to take the time for a manual transfer of data from one system to another every time you want to share datasets. With all data sources integrated into a single source of truth, business users can simply locate the datasets they need in the data catalog and use them to gain actionable insights into business problems.
For example, consider a situation in which the sales team is having difficulty pursuing leads as effectively as they used to. It seems that customer needs or market trends may be changing, but they don’t have the data to back up their suspicions. They need to analyze current customer data to get answers. With proper data management and a data catalog, they don’t have to bother the customer support team to get information from their customer relationship management (CRM) system. They can simply use the catalog to find the appropriate data. If they discover that customer behavior is changing, they can use this data to update their approach to pursuing leads.
Of course, that’s just one possible example of how a data catalog can benefit multiple departments. Once your catalog is up and running properly, you’ll likely discover many more.