If you're a Chief Data Officer (CDO), you need to make your organization more data-driven. But if the majority of your company can't find data, understand it, or use it to answer business questions with clarity, accuracy, and speed, it can't fulfill its strategic promise of making you smarter, faster, and more successful. Standing in the way are big enterprise data challenges like getting more people working with data and making sure they get what they need from it. Because of this task, CDOs are the ones most responsible for planning and launching enterprise data catalog initiatives.

"A Chief Data Officer (CDO) needs to ensure that data is meaningful in the context of its use or the data will never fulfill its strategic promise."
Jill Dyché, TDWI

If you struggle with data management, you're not alone. Most CDOs are just like you – they face huge challenges in making enterprises data-driven. What's the solution? Data catalog tools.

However, you can't leave your data catalog software launch to chance. CDOs can't afford to make a bad investment right now, especially on something that's supposed to bring their people, data, and analysis together.

The stakes have never been higher: A massive 85 percent of all data projects fail. You have to get it right the first time.

So, what do you need to measure to know if your data catalog launch is successful? And what can you do to guarantee a successful launch?

(Before we continue, do you find yourself asking, "What is a data catalog?" If so, stop here and go read this blog first.)

Gather and consult your evaluation team

First, work with your pilot team and executive sponsors on identifying and tracking key metrics so you can measure the impact of your data catalog tools. You need the perspectives of these colleagues from the get-go, or you could jeopardize the launch of your data catalog if everyone on your team isn’t aligned to the same goal.

Further, this step is important because data processes are different at every stage of the data lifecycle, and for every role. You want to make sure you're tracking the full impact across data catalog use cases to know if it’s working. In order to do that well, you need to understand how individual teams currently work with data, what they want to improve, and how they expect that improvement to be manifested in their day-to-day work.

Why else is this important?

1. Understand unique viewpoints

As well as quantitative metrics, capture qualitative feedback from each pilot team member about how the catalog helped them achieve their project objectives. Find out the pros and cons of the whole experience. For even deeper insights, build or borrow a template for this exercise.

2. Refine your process before onboarding others

Metrics and anecdotes provide you with feedback about the efficacy of catalog implementation. Work out any kinks with your pilot team before onboarding other staff. Measuring what works gives you solid proof that your initiative works. While measuring the things that don't let you discover opportunities to further improve processes before bringing on the rest of the business.

3. Provide proof

Quantifiable results that show a good ROI will help you market your data catalog throughout your company, building your credibility as a Chief Data Officer. Seeing tangible success should make others eager to contribute to and collaborate in your data catalog initiative. Data catalogs become more valuable as more people use them, so creating excitement and building buy-in is your ticket to a data-driven culture. Nothing builds a CDOs credibility more than a real, live example of a data culture in action.

These three critical elements of your measurement plan will make sure that everyone benefits from your enterprise data catalog pilot. Especially, you!

Ignoring the above could result in issues with adoption, so give yourself a leg-up in this process. Use a data project checklist that tracks success metrics and objectives for every part of your implementation project.

What else can you do to ensure your data catalog's successful launch?

Track your enterprise data catalog’s impact beyond platform usage metrics

Measure the impact of your data catalog on team productivity, organizational culture, and overall business results. Don't worry if this seems fuzzy at first. This will be an ongoing process to fine-tune as you grow.

But what metrics should you use? Don’t get caught in the trap of only looking at your data catalog’s usage metrics. While they are important, remember why your team invested in a data catalog in the first place. It’s your catalyst for bringing people, data, and analysis together to give employees clear, accurate, and fast answers to any business question. Shouldn’t your measurement plan reflect that?

For a place to start, it helps to categorize metrics in these buckets as you build your measurement plan.

PRODUCTIVITY: Are you working faster and getting more done?

DATA-DRIVEN CULTURE: Are more people collaborating with data?

USAGE: Is the right data getting used for the right projects?

BUSINESS: Do you have a clear way to measure impact in dollars and cents?

These categories reflect your most important priorities as a CDO. Wherever you can, benchmark your current state before launching your cloud data catalog. Productivity metrics are particularly great for this, and you can often capture them when discussing success goals and metrics with the evaluation team. Other metrics, such as usage, might only prove useful once you have your data catalog software in place, so keep that in mind as you go.

To see our recommendations on which metrics to track, download our guide for How to Plan and Launch Your Modern Data Catalog.

Your catalyst for connecting people, data, and analysis

When you make a point to measure success, you quantify the business impact of more inclusive, connected data, collaboration, and analysis. You make it easier for everyone to understand the universal value, connecting it back to their day-to-day business objectives. You give it the momentum needed to keep making your business faster, smarter, and more efficient as more teams and projects come on board.

Doing this takes you one step closer to making your organization truly data-driven. And that's your goal, right?

"As data and analytics become pervasive across all aspects of businesses, communities and even our personal lives, the ability to communicate in this language – that is, being data-literate – is the new organizational readiness factor."
Valerie Logan, Research Director at Gartner

For more best practices, download our blueprint for How to Plan and Launch Your Modern Data Catalog

Learn how to plan and launch your modern data catalog with this guide.