Data Catalogs CDO TechVent Trip Report – December 15, 2021

By Wayne Eckerson and Sanjeev Mohan

We are happy to say that after months of planning, the inaugural CDO TechVent on data catalogs was a big success. It paves the way for our next event on April 26, which will focus on a related topic, “data governance platforms.” 

More than 125 attendees gained a better understanding of how to evaluate, select, and implement data catalogs thanks to insights shared by industry experts, representatives from leading data catalog vendors, and data leaders from a variety of organizations. An additional 300 registered attendees will hopefully watch the event recording in the coming weeks and view and rate the Virtual Bakeoff videos. We also shared a report on data catalog trends and a scoring spreadsheet with a comprehensive set of criteria for evaluating multiple data catalog products. 

In our wrap-up session, we shared our key takeaways from the event. Here is a summary. Please send along your key takeaways!

Market Trends

  • Most attendees are still in the process of evaluating data catalogs for purchase.

  • Data catalogs are moving from a cost-center to a strategic initiative.

  • Data governance and data management will soon converge into “data work”—there will be no more distinction between the two. Metadata will be the glue.

Data Governance Practices

  • Organizations need a data governance foundation before implementing a data catalog, otherwise it won’t take root.

  • Every asset exposed in a data catalog needs to be curated.

Deployment Strategies

  • Organizations need a well-defined use case to guide the initial implementation of a data catalog or it won’t deliver value. 

  • Data catalogs grow incrementally, use case by use case.

  •  Data catalogs can be utilized for several use cases. But, don’t boil the ocean, Be very focussed on your initial goals and iterate as you gain adoption.

Role of Technology

  • Data catalog vendors bring different capabilities to the market; for example, some focus on discovery, others on collaboration, and some partner with each other to bring the best of both worlds.  

  • Technology is the easy part, people and process is the hard part.

  • Machine learning is key to the success of a data catalog, but its primary use cases are to auto-classify data and auto-generate recommendations. Other use cases are possible but only once an organization has sufficient data upon which to train the models.

Organizational best practices

  • Business should lead the charge with close alignment with technical teams. The biggest challenge is adoption of catalogs.

  • Create a center of excellence and introduce innovative approaches such as gamification to improve adoption.

Wayne Eckerson

Wayne Eckerson is an internationally recognized thought leader in the business intelligence and analytics field. He is a sought-after consultant and noted speaker who thinks critically, writes clearly and presents...

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