Data Catalog: What Is It and Why Is It Important?

Data Catalog: What Is It and Why Is It Important?

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    Data Catalog: What Is It and Why Is It Important?

    A data catalog is essential for businesses to manage their data properly. Companies that process enormous amounts of data daily need a data catalog to be able to leverage their data assets to their maximum effectiveness. Whatever the volume of data collected, the data catalog allows business users to find the data they need in order to illuminate actionable insights and achieve a competitive advantage for the business.

    In this article, we will explore the role of the data catalog in saving data-driven companies time and resources through the following subtopics:

    What is a data catalog?

    A data catalog is a list of data assets that a company holds. The list is organized by the assets’ metadata. A data catalog includes search and data management tools to allow users to identify and locate specific data assets whenever they are needed. Additionally, it establishes links between data sets to help users better perform their analytics goals.

    Why do you need a data catalog?

    To understand the purpose of data collected in your organization, you need a data catalog to help organize it in detail. The primary reasons to use a data catalog are:

    1. To reduce data overhead: A data catalog helps reduce the time and financial expenses incurred by the technical planning of data usage.
    2. To manage data: A data catalog helps appropriately track your data resources so that anyone can see various attributes of the resources, such as their storage location, creation date, last modified date, last access date, and more.
    3. To enable self-service: A data catalog allows non-technical users locate and use the information they need without the expertise of a data scientist.

    Benefits of a data catalog

    When users have access to a data catalog, they have a better handle on the business’s data, empowering them to pursue and achieve their primary business goals. A data catalog benefits your organization in the following ways:

    Improves business productivity

    Photo by Andreas Klassen from Unsplash
    Photo by Andreas Klassen from Unsplash

    Data catalogs improve a company’s productivity across departments. They help support staff quickly and easily find the data they need to solve technical queries. They help product managers immediately access relevant data for strategic planning. They help marketers identify the data sets they can use for all kinds of advertising analysis. The catalog streamlines the process of locating and identifying significant data assets by centralizing their metadata.

    Increases customer satisfaction

    Photo by Sebastian Herrmann from Unsplash
    Photo by Sebastian Herrmann from Unsplash

    With a customer-facing data catalog, customers can locate the information they need on their own without technical assistance. On the internal side, a data catalog helps the sales team keep track of data sets concerning customers. Knowing where and what customer information it has access to allows the sales team to easily compile and analyze relevant customer data in the pursuit of maximizing customer satisfaction and customer acquisition.

    Enhances time management

    Photo by Freestocks from Unsplash
    Photo by Freestocks from Unsplash

    A data catalog saves the company time when it comes to locating and identifying data it needs to produce data products that serve the business. Catalogs make data work easier and encourage collaboration between different parties within the business by giving everyone equal access understand company data.

    7 key features of the best data catalog tools

    A data catalog provides a way to better understand the data in your organization. The essential capabilities of a data catalog include:

    Data discovery

    A data catalog should be able to acquire metadata from all available and relevant data sources. It is especially useful if the catalog solution can automatically discover and incorporate newly created data sets.

    Data searching

    After getting all the metadata in one place, the data catalog include a powerful search feature that enables you to find the right information you need for further analysis.

    Data glossary

    After conducting a search, the catalog tool should also give you a list of business terms and their definitions associated with the identified data assets.

    Data quality

    The data catalog should adhere to any data quality standards adopted by the company in the form of data governance policies, resulting in consistently formatted metadata and consistently catalogued information.

    Data lineage

    The data catalog should track and visualize the lineage of both data assets and their associated metadata.

    Collaboration

    The data catalog should feature tools for sharing search queries, search results, and data-source metadata so that users can quickly share their findings about company data assets.

    Data governance

    The metadata logged in a data catalog should follow the tenets of all company data governance policies.

    How Bold BI supports data catalogs?

    Bold BI is a powerful analytical tool that can be applied to your company’s data similarly to a data catalog, allowing you to connect and index your various data sources. It can search and filter data to help you compile a data catalog efficiently.

    Let’s look at some key features of Bold BI that can help you catalog data.

    Data visualization

    Bold BI provides more than 35 widgets for visualizing data so that you can deliver the right information to stakeholders. With it, you can visualize your metadata in ways that give you a holistic picture of your data catalog, and thus your data assets. Bold BI visualization features include custom visualizations, dashboard templates, a data explorer, custom widgets, and more.

    Data connectivity

    Connecting to your data is essential to cataloging it, no matter where it is. Bold BI supports connections to data warehouses such as Amazon Redshift, Google Big Query, and Azure SQL Data; relational databases like SQL Server, Oracle, and Postgres; NoSQL databases like MongoDB, Influx, and Elasticsearch; REST API services; and more.

    Data preparation

    Bold BI enables you to transform data from your data sources. You can preview your data, filter it, and create calculated fields from it easily.

    Collaboration

    Bold BI support comments and replies alongside metrics and analysis, allowing different parties within the business to work together on data, its metadata, and its applications.

    Conclusion

    Data catalogs are a critical component to a business becoming data driven. With proper implementation, everyone in the company will be able to locate the data assets they need, when they need them.

    Bold BI can be a great complement to your data catalog. Try it for free to see how its powerful and easy-to-use analytics can bolster your data strategy. If you have any questions, contact us through the Bold BI website, or if you have an account, log in to submit your support question.

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