Understanding the data + meaning divide

Data catalog software solutions are not silver bullets by themselves, even if Gartner now calls them a “must-have.” Why? 

The real problem facing every organization is the divide between data and meaning. Right now, data catalog tools fire people up because of their ability to democratize data across the organization. But data is only meaningful to business decision makers if it is enriched with context. And data context comes from people as well as metadata.

Understanding this is the difference between making the right or wrong decisions with data. Take the nuance of using the imperial versus metric systems. For hanging a shelf, using the wrong unit definition might not be a big problem. To NASA, that gap in understanding lost $125 million in 1999. On a larger scale, this divide between data and meaning is part of the reason the U.S. economy lost $3.1 trillion to bad data in 2016.

How data catalog software helps connect data and meaning

Here are some examples of how our customers use an enterprise data catalog to connect data with meaning. Note how each story involves multiple different stakeholders to include the context from people in addition to metadata: 

One of the world’s biggest software companies created a business glossary and dashboard catalog.

A multi-billion-dollar software as a service company focused on financial and human capital management uses data.world’s cloud data catalog to index and organize its information assets, and align them and the people who use them on a common business glossary. By building a single source of truth, the company makes it easier for all of its employees to find what they need, get help from the right colleagues, and use trusted data in a consistent way. This makes data more accessible, increases its value and usability, and eliminates redundant work.

Global management consulting company makes it easier to find data more quickly.

Another customer has historically been on the leading edge of innovation by collecting and applying data to help its clients answer a wide variety of business questions. Any delay in answering a client’s question could mean lost revenue for the organization, so they looked to streamline the process for searching for, understanding, and using data to produce analysis.

This company used our data catalog to create a curated, user-friendly data portal. This portal connected owned, purchased, and derived analysis so consultants could find the right data faster and use it more often in more projects, eliminating redundant work. And since data.world automatically collects context and ongoing analysis and identifies relationships between datasets, projects, and teams, the firm’s teams become smarter, more connected, and data efficient over time.

The Associated Press uses curated datasets to change the way local news is reported.

On any given day, more than half the world's population sees news from the Associated Press (AP). Much of that exposure happens when local media runs AP articles, or reports them through a local lens. But getting story-relevant data into the right hands in local newsrooms is no small feat. Previously, data would reach the wrong people, get distributed at times that did not match user needs, and get lost in inboxes far from those who could use it. AP and its members needed to make sense of the explosion of data for breaking news and enterprise reporting. The most time-consuming aspect of this work (estimated at 80 percent of total project time) was finding, vetting and cleaning data. The barrier to entry is high, and local newsrooms often lack the time, staff, and tools. 

AP and data.world make data journalism accessible by changing the way data reaches local newsrooms. Our enterprise data catalog helps technical users quickly create and share queries without leaving the platform or spinning up a database. Less technical users can slice data for their local news markets without any coding experience or data science knowledge. Results can be exported in common formats so anyone can dig in. AP member newsrooms get clean data faster. Local newsrooms around the country now have exclusive and actionable data that can help them inform the public on how national events affect their local communities.

To read the story in more detail, check out the case study.

Mirum, a global digital experience agency, makes data projects reusable for thousands of people around the world.

Mirum is a digital experience agency with 2,500 people in 25 countries. Data—and data-literate people—are the heart of how they create unforgettable experiences for clients like Mazda and Qualcomm. With their growing business’s sophisticated approach to data analysis, Mirum needed help packaging the data to make their expertise even more valuable.

data.world helped Mirum share new data practices and process improvements seamlessly across projects and teams. Discussions—between coworkers, between agencies, and with client stakeholders—moved from email to dedicated project comment threads. The full data project lifecycle came together in a single platform, data.world. Mirum teams now do the work and deliver it through data.world. What previously were static, disconnected reports are now living, interactive data models for clients to learn from. Internally, teams could easily customize documentation to share process improvements with other teams without sharing sensitive client information, scaling reproducibility in the process.

Mirum has always believed in data, and data.world has helped us extend its power to every aspect of client work.

– Amanda Seaford, CEO of Mirum US

Read more about their journey here.

Aceable, an innovative tech startup, saves time by streamlining workflows and providing self-service data access.

Our customer Aceable is a tech startup that creates easily-consumable, mobile & digital first content for defensive driving courses. In order to recognize revenue, it needed a way to quickly pull data without monopolizing the resources of its business analysts. They solve this problem by using data.world to allow a single person to ingest, integrate, and query the data to calculate revenue recognition. Streamlining this workflow reduces analysts’ workloads and eliminates a time-intensive analysis bottleneck to get the C-suite the numbers needed as fast as possible. 

data.world allows me and my team the freedom to explore and analyze data quickly and make decisions faster than we could before.

– Erin Defossé, Chief Product Officer at Aceable

Read more of their story here.

Begin writing your own success story.

Besides working with data.world, all these organizations have another thing in common: They made a conscious decision to close the data and meaning gap and followed through. 

Now it’s your turn. Here are the next steps to take in your journey.

Select a use case
Figure out which problem is most important to tackle first, and take inspiration from these data catalog example use cases.

Learn which data catalog solution is right for you
From, “What is a data catalog?” to “Will this integrate with my data warehouse?” get the answers you need to find the right data catalog software for your needs here

Plan your launch
Earn buy-in for your initial catalog project.

Evaluate pricing
Data catalog pricing is often opaque; our pricing is simple and transparent so you can evaluate fast.

Request a demo
Get in touch so we can help you learn more about the data and meaning divide and how we can help you close it.

Launch your data catalog in minutes
They said it couldn’t be done, but they haven’t met Tim Gasper. Watch him launch data.world’s data catalog in ten minutes flat!

Try it out
If you’re feeling adventurous, try data.world for yourself!

We hope these stories inspire you to work with your colleagues and bridge the data and meaning divide at your own organization.