Why Data Cataloging is an Essential Part of Enterprise Data Management

data catalogs

Enterprise data management is impossible if you can’t manage, access, and process large amounts of data. Cataloging is one of the key methods used to make search faster, gather “native” knowledge about how the data correlates and interacts in one place, provide a unified view of all datasets, and form a basis for data governance. An essential part of today’s complex digital workflows, data catalogs help make many common data asset processes possible.

Speeding up Search and Discovery

Speeding up the search and data discovery is one of the main functions of data catalogs, no matter how big your data store. Using a combination of machine-generated technical metadata and metadata generated by user actions, a combination of data cataloging tools work together to build the data catalog.

Working across every platform in your organization that stores or generates data, these cataloging tools automatically delve into a range of data stores to build up a record of what’s there and how it’s used. Sources include things like ERP, CRM, and e-commerce software, and ultimately you will be able to view and access all of these datasets from the catalog interface.

The result is much like the online catalog of a large-scale retailer. Searching millions of records takes seconds, and each piece of data is accompanied by further details about its content and use. By giving you a one-stop access point to all of your data, large scale processing and analytics becomes much easier.

By basing the search function on tags and metadata, data catalogs can form the backbone of a serverless fast search, letting your employees and applications find the data they need faster than ever before. With a solution that’s designed to be scalable, you won’t need to worry about sluggish search results as your data stores grow.

A Way to Gather and Analyze “Native” Know-How

data catalogs and analysis

A centralized data catalog also provides a locus for data harvested from users and how they interact with your data. Users can add to the metadata of a specific data item using tags, comments, links to other data, and more.

This process enables you to gather any “native knowledge” into one convenient, searchable location. Seeing how your organization interacts with your data on a day to day basis gives you the chance to visualize how your data is used, analyze and optimize workflows, and discover new links and interactions between data items.

By allowing crowdsourced tags, reviews, and ratings, you can see which data sources are the most useful to your workers and which need improvement.

Knowing how your company uses data in the real world is the first step on the road to true digital transformation. The knowledge about your knowledge and data made available via the data catalog helps your company and your employees share knowledge and ways of working with each other, promotes collaboration, and helps your workers and automation software discover better ways of working.

An Enriched Data Access Experience

The fast access and simple structure of the data catalog, along with its robust API, mean it’s possible to access and enjoy its benefits from many different platforms. At the same time, data generated by your other platforms feeds back into the data catalog, improving your knowledge about the data held by your company.

Having a data catalog as part of your data management program also helps you manage and streamline your metadata, making sure you get the most out of every bit of data and knowledge your company deals with.

Improved Data Governance

data catalogs and data governance

It’s vital to keep a close rein on your data governance in this day and age, with many countries and jurisdictions worldwide demanding increasing levels of data oversight. Your data catalog will give you the ability to find out data access rules, access history, and spot potential security issues in an instant, making data governance reporting easier than ever.

Easily track data sources throughout their lifetime and spot “stale” or otherwise out-of-date information at a glance. Find out the provenance of datasets quickly and easily, even when they come from more than one source.

Summary

Dealing with today’s vast data lakes makes searching and categorizing the data an essential part of data management. A good data catalog can form the backbone of your data management set-up and be a repository for information about your data and how it’s used within your organization.

A good data catalog is self-populating, has cross-platform compatibility and scalability. Without it, your organization will fall behind in this era of big data.