When several users need to work together, they can use an organisation’s data environment through a data catalogue. These are essential additions to the data inventory and their importance cannot be underestimated. A data catalogue collects metadata about an organisation’s data holdings and is usually organised hierarchically. Users can browse through the hierarchy and find what they need to know about a data set to interpret it correctly.
A data catalogue is a critical component of metadata management and data modelling. It is a collection of information about data that helps people understand, use, and manage an organisation’s data assets. It can be used to store and manage metadata, or it can be used as a tool for data discovery. A data catalogue is essential for managing data in today’s complex environments.
The data fabric cannot function without a data catalogue as its foundation. The data catalogue allows for the identification, collection, and analysis of all “business,” “technical,” “operational,” and “social” metadata. It is a dynamic repository of metadata that becomes an essential component of the overall metadata management strategy.
What Are the Essential Elements of a Data Catalogue?
- Connectors and curation tools to create a single centre of trusted data: Connectors are essential to a data cataloguing tool that gathers metadata from several sources. The data catalogue should be able to connect with other systems, such as ERP systems, and allow for the import of metadata from different data sources. These sources could be business intelligence (BI) software, corporate apps like Salesforce or SAP, data integration (DI) software, structured query language (SQL) queries, data modelling (DM) software, and Internet of Things (IoT) sensors providing real-time measurements. Curation tools are needed to ensure that the data is known and trustworthy. The data catalogue tool should have an automated process to detect errors, compare data quality between different queries, check for duplicates, and flag inconsistencies.
- Capabilities for collaborating on curating data: Connecting disparate data sources and validation and certification tools that allow end users to supplement the data with the information required for the data catalogue is required for single-source trust development. This should include quality indicators, error detection and correction mechanisms, and interactive forms for submitting corrections.
- Speed up and become nimbler with the help of automated processes: Because of improvements in automation, data stewards no longer have to spend time manually establishing connections across disparate data sets. This also helps to ensure that the data is up to date, as automated processes can identify when a record is incorrect or has been updated.
- Robust search capabilities make exploring data sets a breeze: For end users, the fundamental purpose of a data catalogue is data discovery; hence, search is pivotal to a satisfying experience. The search should include more parameters you may set for a more refined search. Users should be able to filter results and sort them according to their preferences. The search engine should also provide valuable suggestions when typing a search query.
- For tracing causes using historical data: Connecting a dashboard to the information it presents is easier using data lineage. A data lineage system should be able to show the origin and lineage of a data set, including the transformations applied to the original data. The ability to drill down into a dataset will also facilitate tracing causes.
- A glossary to define data-related business concepts: A company glossary fosters employees’ understanding of terminology and concepts. The business lexicon becomes actionable by tying meanings to the data itself.
- Profiling to stop contaminating your data lake or data warehouse: When linking disparate data sources, data profiling is critical for analysing data quality in terms of completeness, correctness, timeliness, and uniformity. Time is saved while profiling, and mistakes are more easily spotted, allowing you to alert data stewards before they contaminate the repository. Profiling helps data scientists, IT, and business users understand the data quality they are using. It also enables them to build more accurate models on top of the raw data.
What is a modern data catalogue?
A modern data catalogue is a cloud-based, self-service platform that enables users to find, understand, and use data assets. It provides a unified view of an organisation’s data assets and makes it easy to find and use the data you need. A modern data catalogue can help your business in many ways:
- It can assist you in locating the data you require when you need it.
- It can help you understand the data you have.
- It can help you govern your data assets.
- It can help you share your data with others.
- It can help you create new data-driven products and services.
Benefits of a Data Catalogue
There are many benefits to using a data catalogue; some are listed below.
- Improved data efficiency
As the world increasingly relies on data to drive decision-making, it is more important than ever to have a system that efficiently stores and organises information. A data catalogue is a powerful tool to help businesses improve their data management.
A data catalogue provides a central repository for an organisation’s data. This makes it easier for employees to find the necessary information and reduces the risk of duplicate data sets. Businesses can keep everyone on the same page by sharing the same authoritative source.
- Improved data context
Data catalogues can help organisations improve their data context. By providing a central location for all data-related information, catalogues make it easier for staff to find the data they need and understand how it can be used. By improving data context and providing a central location for all data-related information, catalogues can help reduce risk, improve decision-making, and increase the ease with which workers may locate certain documents.
- Reduced risk of error
An organisation’s data catalogue can help reduce the risk of errors when analysts access and use data. By having a central location for data, analysts can more easily find the data they need and be sure that it is accurate. The catalogue can also help ensure that data is consistently formatted, making it easier to work with and avoiding errors. In addition, analysts can use the catalogue to track changes to data over time, which can help identify errors and ensure that they are corrected.
- Improved data analysis
Data analysis is critical for any organisation that wants to make better, more informed decisions. A data catalogue can help improve data analysis by providing a central repository for data assets and metadata. This can make it easier for analysts to find the data they need and understand how it can be used.
What anyone should look for when choosing a data catalogue software
When choosing a data catalogue software, you must look at the following criteria to ensure that you select the optimal option for your company.
- Which feature do you need: When researching catalogues, choose the best option for your company. You must determine your requirements, and define your pain points. Based on these, you should evaluate various data catalogue software options to see which one addresses them optimally.
- Ecosystem: Data catalogues are also differentiated based on which generation they belong to. For example, the first-generation data catalogue is the most basic form that can easily synchronise with your data warehouse. The second generation was created to assist data stewards in maintaining metadata documentation, lineage, and treatments. The third generation is more advanced and designed to provide optimum business value to the user. It allows your team to document collaboratively.
- Cost of ownership: When buying data catalogue software for your organisation, you must look at the overall cost, including the cost of the software, its implementation, and the cost incurred in its maintenance. Check your budget to determine which data catalogue software gives you the most value for money.
- Vendor support: Check the after-sale service of the vendor.
- Data privacy: The security of the data is paramount. If there are data breaches, you will lose your customers’ trust, which can lead to money loss. Ensure the software offers high-quality security encryption and controlled data access.
- Sync with your current infrastructure: The data catalogue you wish to buy should be compatible with your existing data infrastructure and any future upgrades you have envisioned.
A data catalogue is a powerful tool that can help organisations keep track of their data assets and ensure they are correctly managed. By using the data catalogue, organisations can reduce the risk of data loss and improve their ability to use their data productively. Know more about how SCIKIQ works on Data Catalogue at https://scikiq.com/control
Also read about data lineage here. https://www.scikiq.com/blog/why-data-lineage-matters-understanding-the-origins-and-evolution-of-your-data/
SCIKIQ is a first-of-its-kind AI-driven business data fabric platform that delivers a trusted and real-time view of data across an enterprise in days or weeks instead of months and years by integrating and governing data from multiple data stores and business applications to deliver the right data, at the right time and in the right format to its data consumer.