A high-quality data catalog can be pivotal in opening up data intelligence to everyone in your organization – as long as it has certain critical data catalog capabilities. When you look into a data catalog, check for the following:
How easily does the catalog integrate with the other tools in your data environment?
The power of a data catalog is in its ability to create a single source of truth for all the assets in your data landscape. To fulfill that potential, the data catalog software must be able to access and integrate with the complete scope of data tools you use, whether they are on-premises or cloud-based.
To what extent is the data catalog automated?
This is important both for initial catalog creation and for ongoing updates, otherwise your data catalog may become a drain on your human resources and/or perpetually out-of-date.
How user-friendly is the catalog’s UI?
If you hope for the catalog to facilitate and democratize data access across all levels of your organization, all users from all levels (even those less technically inclined) need to find the UI intuitive or, at the least, non-threatening. Check the ease with which users can navigate and understand the UI. Search and filter are the average user’s portal into the catalog, so how search results are displayed and marked up is particularly important.
How extensive are the catalog’s information and collaboration capabilities?
Data catalog entries have the potential to be a one-stop-shop when it comes to data assets, including definitions, descriptions, ratings, responsible individuals, usage statistics and recommendations, collaboration and communication between users regarding the asset, as well as data preview and access capabilities. When evaluating data catalog features, check what information appears – and what has the potential to appear – when you view a typical catalog entry.
What are the data lineage capabilities of the catalog?
Integrated data lineage turns the catalog into a natural jump-off point for any impact analysis or root cause analysis questions. It shortens the time needed to get accurate answers and/or correct errors, and leads to more overall trust in the organization’s data. Check not only for the presence of data lineage, but also for its quality and depth.
Do the security features of the data catalog match your needs?
When it comes to data, especially sensitive or personal data, compliance and governance come (almost) before anything else. Make sure the privacy and governance capabilities of the catalog meet your security requirements.