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Why You Need a Data Catalog

Authors Photo Precisely Editor | November 8, 2021

Data governance is important so business users can leverage data assets. An important tool to help them organize and use data is a data catalog.

When seeking a competitive advantage, organizations must turn big data into actionable insights. However, as data being collected, shared, and deployed at today’s rapid pace, IT is often the only organizational department equipped to manage preparation of massive data amounts. As a result, business users are left confused by IT’s technical tools and jargon.

Data is a valuable asset only if business users can transform it into meaningful customer insights and improved outcomes. Organizations can no longer afford to leave business users solely dependent on IT given the current volume and velocity of data. There is also a recurring disconnect between IT and business. IT doesn’t understand data from a business standpoint, and business users can’t translate IT data tools into useful business analysis. Ensuring success with enterprise data requires the formal alignment of diverging lines of business, technology and processes through data governance to create a comprehensive data catalog. A data catalog organizes the technical details around data assets, or metadata, into defined, meaningful, and searchable business assets to enable consistent understanding among all data consumers.

The benefits of a data catalog

 A data catalog is essential to business users because it synthesizes details about data assets across multiple data dictionaries by organizing them into an easy to digest format. The data catalog provides clarity into data definitions, synonyms, and essential business attributes so all users understand and can leverage their data as an asset. When business users have important data questions, they can turn to the data catalog, which identifies data owners, stewards, and subject matter experts, enabling easy collaboration between different departments.

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Looking for a Data Catalog?

Learn more about the basics of what a data catalog is, how it works and what business challenges it can help solve.

A data catalog can also provide business lineage to give business users a clear view of the flow and dependencies of their data, from origination through the data supply chain. It can also identify critical business process relationships, provide transparency into data quality scores, and communicate data access methods and usage restrictions. With enterprise-wide data definitions and transparency, business users know they are using the right data, at the right time for the correct purpose.

Data cataloging tools don’t come together overnight. They must be built and maintained through data governance over a period of months or even years.

data catalog

Leveraging data governance to create and maintain a data catalog

Creating a data catalog is complicated because data is complicated. With so much data at stake and different departmental perspectives on data, agreement on standard data definitions is an exhausting task. That is, of course, unless data governance automation can streamline communication and collaboration.

A data catalog should be one component of an enterprise data governance framework within an organization that offers a comprehensive suite of capabilities. With integrated capabilities for data governance, data quality and analytics, the solution should connect the dots of data lineage, data definitions, and data quality with business terms from various departments.

With a solution suite, business users have the ability to measure the outcome of data quality rules, and gauge the impact of data quality efforts according to the expectations of the business. It should offer business users transparency into data ownership and accountability, as well as promote collaboration and communications between the data owners, stewards, and consumers.

In addition, the solution suite should have automatic discovery capabilities, enabling the capture and monitoring of changes to data. Once changes are discovered, they can be investigated to deliver meaningful insights. With the proper solution suite, enterprises can successfully create a comprehensive data catalog to ensure business users have a complete understanding of their data landscape.  Precisely can help you build a successful data catalog to accelerate leveraging your data as an asset.

Learn more about the basics of what a data catalog is, how it works and what business challenges it can help solve, read our eBook Looking for a Data Catalog?