data catalog how can a data catalog help my business
26 Oct '21

What is a Data Catalog and why does your business need one?

What is a Data Catalog?

Whether you decide to declutter your entire home Marie Kondo style or simply set aside some time to colour code the spines on your bookshelves, your aim is going to be the same – to organize and index your assets to make them more accessible and useful. This is exactly what a Data Catalog should do for your business.

At DTSQUARED we recognize this challenge. Your company stores data in multiple places, possibly on different servers and on more than one cloud platform. Not everyone can afford the time, and in fact many people may not have the knowledge, to search through these platforms to find the data they need in order to make good business decisions. What you want is a single platform where everyone can go to find this data, and they should not require any advanced technical skills to retrieve it.  A Data Catalog should put your physical assets, and their corresponding relationships, on an easily accessible and shareable platform. Your Data Catalog should hold the actual version of truth.

What are the benefits of a Data Catalog?

You don’t need us to point out that there has been a tremendous explosion in data volume in recent years, and the sheer quantity of data of course increases your risk of non-compliance. With the move to cloud platforms, it is even more important to have a Data Catalog where data users can go to identify and understand the data sets available to them.  A Data Catalog not only helps with finding great volumes of data at great speed, but also with quickly and easily identifying data that should no longer be kept. Finding and dealing with duplicate and redundant data can further help to reduce your liability and the associated risk of fines.

Impact Analysis is also helped by your Data Catalog. When you change something in one application, what is the impact of this further downstream? Do other applications need to be changed and if so, where? A Data Catalog should allow authorized employees to access and understand company data, requiring minimal technical skills to do so.  

Your Data Catalog is a key part of your Data Governance, and fundamental to the concept of Data Governance is its ability to empower your business. Data Catalog plays an important part in this process because it gives your business the actual version of the truth without expecting you to search for it across multiple systems.

Plus, in order to facilitate informed data-driven decisions, a Data Catalog will help to ensure that your data quality standards remain consistent. If you find that your source data has a quality score of 50%, but by the time it reaches the operational layer the score has dropped to 40% and then continues to degrade, you will know the issue is a result of how you are processing your data. Once you know what is causing your data quality score to fall, you can address and rectify the problem.  

What should my Data Catalog solution look like?

There are predictions that the volume of data created and stored by companies each year will be ten times greater by 2025. The only possible way to cope with a volume of data this vast and meet the requirements of the regulatory bodies will be to use a Data Catalog. 

Your Data Catalog must be able to connect to multiple systems and allow all authorized users to effortlessly search for and find the data they need. As well as scanning the systems, it should also show the data lineage to provide an understanding of how the data is flowing between these systems.

At DTSQUARED we know that your Data Catalog needs to be a fully self-service, intuitive interface, always at hand to provide your organization with the means to locate and understand trusted data. Your Data Catalog should allow you to become as familiar with your data as you are with your professional network of colleagues, making it an essential business tool. 

Do all companies use a Data Catalog?

Until recently many organisations were not convinced of the need for a Data Catalog, however with the quantity of data we deal with daily increasing so phenomenally, most organizations nowadays do appreciate their value.  

When the data landscape was small, it was common to find companies where decisions were technology driven. That landscape has grown and, as we all know, the amount and variety of data continues to increase. Of course, your business will always benefit from a strong IT infrastructure, but innovation and change in your company’s technology should be driven by your business decisions, not the reverse.  A Data Catalog platform is the place where these can interact. Business decision makers within your company can outline the changes they need using their business vocabulary, and because the Data Catalog is linked to the actual asset at the backend, those who are tasked to implement the associated technological changes will know how to make this possible and will also be able to factor in an impact analysis of their decisions. 

Your Data Catalog is like a giant dictionary that is always within easy reach to those who need to search through its contents.
Keen to know more about how to implement a Data Catalog in your business?

Get in touch with us today to discuss the solutions we can offer to help you get the most out of your data. 

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