Data catalog definition

What is a data catalog?

Qu'est-ce qu'un data catalog ?

It is a fact that data are a lever for growth and competitivity. They are perceived as strategic information that promotes innovation. Drawing on this, enterprises are reorganizing themselves to adopt an approach called “data-driven.” No longer based on intuition or personal experiences, projects are guided by data.

Becoming data-driven is establishing a culture that is thought out and organized with processes as well as with tools. To achieve this objective, the data world is seeing the emergence of new tools that centralize these strategic assets. We call it a Data Catalog.

Why a data catalog?

Topics on data are still considered to be an extremely technical domain. However, data innovation is only possible if it is shared by as many people as possible. The profession must have the autonomy to access data to measure, start, or optimize a product or service. To innovate requires a certain flexibility and agility, which is, to this day, scarcely present in organizations.

Democratize data access!

This is the very reason for data catalogs: to allow your collaborators to find the data they need via one easy-to-use platform above data systems. Data catalogs don’t require technical expertise to actually discover what is new and seize opportunities.

Business analysts, data scientists, or also marketing teams become autonomous in data exploration. As for CDOs and data stewards, they are finally equipped to build data governance, evangelizing a data-driven culture within their organizations.

What are the purposes of a data catalog?

A data catalog allows you to acquire a business view of data stored in data systems. It centralizes and unifies information collected so that they can be shared with IT teams and business functions and then connected to the enterprise’s tools. This unified view of data allows you to:

Build an agile data governance

A data catalog enables you to map and visualize the data of the enterprise’s IS. Data users finally will know where they can find their data, who uses them, with what goal in mind, and how they are being used.

Document the data

A data catalog enables you to create a technical and business metadata directory. This connected documentation stocks this information for the goal of facilitating the search and the discovery of always up-to-date data.

Unify the collaborators around the enterprise’s data

A data catalog becomes the reference data tool for all employees. Its web interface does not require technical expertise to discover and understand the data. It also allows you to collaborate with your peers.

Making data intelligent

Thanks to the creation of predictive models on cataloged data, productivity is increased and innovation through data is becoming more and more accessible.

The key features of a data catalog?

Metadata Registry

For each element, this metadata registry can include a business and technical description, the owners, and quality indicators or also create a taxonomy (properties, tags, etc.).

metadata registry

Search Engine

All collected metadata in the registry is requestable from the data catalog’s search engine. The searches can be sorted, filtered at all levels.

data catalog categories

Data lineage et processing registry

Thanks to data lineage, it is possible to visualize in whole the origin and the transformations of one specific data over time. This allows you to understand where the data originate from, when and where they separate and fuse with other data.
These transformations and treatments carried out by the data are in this way repositories in what we call a registry of treatments, indispensable in responding to the expectations of the European regulation (GDPR).

data lineage data catalog

Collaborative functions

In a user-centric approach, a data catalog is the reference data tool of an enterprise. It allows data to be visualized as an asset and to work in a transparent manner on it. To share, to assign, to comment, to qualify inside the tool itself to increase the productivity and the knowledge amongst all the collaborators.

The use cases of a data catalog?

Chief Data Officer / Data Steward

Data catalog, a data governance tool.

  • Reference technical knowledge and recovered functionalities on data in a dedicated space.
  • Organize data.
  • Give access to useful and necessary information to data users.
  • Identify the different data users and manage the level of authorization of each person.
  • Qualify the value of data.
  • Start a compliance process with the European regulation (GDPR).

Business analyst / Data scientist

Data catalog, a project accelerator.

  • Easily find your data, regardless of where they are stored.
  • View the history of the data sets: date of creation and the actions carried out on it.
  • Understand the professional context of data.
  • Identify the knowers by data set.
  • Easily collaborate with peers.
  • Create automated documentation through my actions within the data catalog.
  • Recommendation of relevant data in relation to other consulted data sets.

The benefits of a data catalog?

Maximize the value of data

By collecting all the data of an enterprise on a reference data tool, it becomes possible to cross-reference these assets and get value from them more easily. The collaboration of technical and professional teams within the data catalog enables innovations that meet proven market needs.

Produce better and faster

Your teams have confirmed it: more than 70% of the dedicated time to data analysis is invested in “data quarrels” activities. Cataloging simplifies data retrieval, the identification of knowers, and therefore, intelligent decision-making.

Ensure a good control of data

Misinterpreted or erroneous, enterprises expose themselves to the risk of basing their decision on incorrect information. Connected data catalogs permit access to always up-to-date data. Data users can ensure that data and their information are correct and usable.

In 2019, 80% of implemented data lakes* in enterprises are inefficient without good metadata management.
*Gartner survey: Data catalog is the new black

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