Why It’s Time to Invest in a Data Catalog

by | Mar 9, 2022 | 2022, Agile Data Governance, data architecture, Data catalogs, Data-driven cultures

It’s 2022, and data is the lifeblood of business.

Gone are the days when executives made decisions based on “business savvy” or “gut instinct.” The most successful modern enterprise businesses — including Netflix, Amazon, Spotify, and Uber — have created highly successful business models powered by data-driven cultures, where data informs virtually every important decision leading businesses make, from aligning product, sales, and marketing strategies to choosing the most engaging color for their website’s homepage. 

In the words of famed engineer, statistician, professor, and management consultant W. Edwards Deming, “Without data you’re just another person with an opinion.”

The volume of available real-time data business leaders can collect, and the value of insights that can be gleaned from it are fast-tracking organizations’ need for data governance, a set of tools that define roles, standards, policies, metrics, and processes to ensure that data is used responsibly, efficiently, and effectively within their organization. And this realization is driving incredible demand for data governance solutions across virtually all categories.

According to market research leader Research and Markets, The “global market for Data Governance — estimated at US$1.8 Billion in the year 2020 — is projected to reach a revised size of US$6 Billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 22% over the analysis period.” 

And of the data governance tools in which organizations are investing, none is more foundational to data-driven business success and establishing a data-driven culture than an enterprise data catalog. A data catalog is the launchpad that helps every member of your team discover and use the best data and analytics resources for their projects, achieve faster results, and make better decisions.

Allied Market Research recently predicted “expeditious growth” for the data catalog market in 2022, saying:

An increase in the growth of self-analytics data, proliferation of data in the modern world, and growing demand for business intelligence tools are the major drivers of the market. In addition, real-time availability of data, which helps to reduce the cost of infrastructure and gain business insights, fuels the data catalog market growth.

The growth of the market clearly shows that the business world is rapidly moving into the world of data-driven decision making. Any business too slow to implement a data-driven culture or too slow to build out their data stack will surely be left behind.


Benefits of a Data Catalog

In short, data catalogs make it easy for people to find, understand, access, and use data and associated metadata across disparate corporate silos.

Among other benefits, catalogs can be a significant catalyst for:

  • Business productivity – They enhance the accuracy and speed of analysis and other data work. They can also provide access to interesting datasets and prior analysis, so your analysts spend less time searching and more time doing.
  • Operational efficiency – They can automate away the manual and slow-moving task of searching for data, waiting on IT, and straining to understand business context.
  • Risk reduction – They act as a single source of truth for data, metadata, and analysis, helping your company balance the flexibility needs of the business with the oversight requirements of governance and compliance.

But not all catalogs are created equally — Next-generation data catalogs, for example, are built on a knowledge graph with a flexible and extensible metadata model, making it easy to discover, govern, and analyze data at scale. And because there are different types of catalogs, it’s important to choose one that meets your needs.


Choosing the Right Data Catalog for Your Business

There are numerous data catalog providers currently on the market, and more seem to be popping up nearly every day. Before you choose your own, consider issues like:

  • Do you have data in the cloud? If your company is using cloud data warehouses like Snowflake or Amazon Redshift, or has a hybrid data architecture, look to SaaS-based catalogs that are quick and easy to deploy and that you don’t have to manage.
  • How many people do you want to empower with data? Your internal data community—stewards, engineers, analysts, scientists, business users—is getting larger every day, and they all have different needs. Look for a data catalog that has something for everyone. Most importantly, it should be easy for anyone to use.
  • How quickly do you need to see ROI? The fastest route to value is through a simple implementation and thoughtful roll-out. This launch guide can help you measure the success of your catalog launch.


Is a next-generation data catalog right for me?

Next-generation data catalogs are cloud-native and knowledge first; the front office for data and analytics. When architectured correctly, they also serve as the backbone for a number of modern data management frameworks including DataOps, data fabric, and data mesh.

Read why data.world is the only catalog that offers data-driven organizations the scale and flexibility needed to maintain agile growth in our eBook, The Next-Generation Catalog for Modern Data Management.