Data Catalog Basics

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Technology is ever changing, and that means tools are constantly being improved. From decisions and improvements to campaigns if you’re a successful company changes are you are a data driven company. Data provides the details to make the hard decisions you might not be able to make otherwise. That being said, there is so much data out there it makes it hard to keep up with the important information you need.

If you have a large company with substantial inventory, who are you relying on to organize all that data? Do you use a system or do you use a person. If you answered a person, is that really the best way to utilize company time and money? The person employee could instead be utilizing a data catalog tool and providing you with important data that is at their fingertips instead of having them manually mine for data. Think about it, if you have the data right in front of you then you can make faster decisions.

What is a data catalog tool?

A data catalog is a metadata management tool that companies use to inventory and organize data within their systems. Typical benefits include improvements to data discovery, governance, and access.
Gartner describes the data catalog:  “data catalog tools maintain an inventory of data assets through the discovery, description, and organization of datasets. 

Why is data catalog important?

Data is the foremost competitive battleground of our time. The threat to every business is existential. Therefore, today’s winners prioritize giving employees accurate, clear, and fast answers to every business question.

What is a data catalog?

Data catalogs improve data clarity, accuracy, and speed. Data catalogs definitely will make you a more data driven company.
1. Clarity. Everything needed to understand data is kept and maintained from the beginning. As people use the data catalog, things will become clearer.
2. Accuracy. A wider array of people can validate, improve, and correct data and analysis.
3. Speed. People can find what they need faster by organizing data and analysis in discoverable, business-friendly ways with all the content easily accessible.

Key factors of a successful data catalog

Just like anything else, not all data catalogs are created equal. When you’re selecting a data catalog you want to to find ones that offer you the capabilities that you need. Below are some popular key capabilities you should look for when considering data catalog tools:
1. Connectors. Having a wide variety of connectors allows the data catalog to map physical datasets. With capabilities like this you can harvest metadata from business intelligence tools like Salesforce and SAP.
2. Automation. Talk about a time saver. With enhanced automation you don’t have to mine for your data manually.
3. Search. Search is not one size fits all, therefore you want something that you can specify different parameters so you can easily find/discover the data you are interested in.
4. Lineage. You want lineage to perform root cause analysis which will help link dashboards for easy access to data.
5. Profiling. When you connect different data sources, data profiling because essential. Data profiling allows you to assess your data quality for completeness, accuracy and consistency.

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