As the digital world continues to take center stage, the amount of data created is nothing but mind-blowing. A survey by DOMO reveals that over 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are generated every day. What’s even more mind-boggling is that this volume is set to increase even more in the next two years.
This rise in data creation is credited to many factors. The main driving force behind these stats is the warm embrace that businesses have been giving to technology. While it’s a good thing, it also presents a challenge to the same entities as they end up being unable to manage organizational data.
The good news is you can eliminate this challenge by embracing data catalogs. A data catalog assists by making data sources easy to discover. This informational post will help you learn more about data catalogs and why having one can significantly benefit you.
What Is a Data Catalog?
In simple terms, a data catalog is a tool used to store and show data sets present within an organization and where they’re located. In other words, it’s a metadata management tool tailored to enable businesses to manage and retrieve large amounts of data at the touch of a button.
To help you understand what exactly a data catalog is, consider this instance. When you visit Amazon with the intention of purchasing a pet’s litter box, you’ll come across hundreds if not thousands of pet products in the pet supply section. Fortunately, you can easily find the litter box thanks to Amazon’s refined search capabilities.
Now, a data catalog functions the same way. The only difference is that instead of products, it helps you find data related to your business.
It’ll help you identify the source of a particular data set, its purpose, summary, and even comments. This tool is incredibly life-changing in an organization that generates a lot of data. It has been around for quite a long time, but unlike a few years ago, it’s now more advanced than ever.
Why You Need a Data Catalog
The following are reasons you need a data catalog:
It Streamlines Business Operations
While there’s no denying that IT has revolutionized the world of business, it has also created a barrier as users who lack IT knowledge but need access to essential business data can’t access it. Data catalogs eliminate this barrier by storing data in a way that’s both machine and human readable.
This means that every staff member, including the non-technical ones, can access and understand critical organizational data. This, in turn, streamlines the operation of your business as every user has access to data that they require to better execute their duty.
Other than that, unlike ordinary data storage tools, data catalog information doesn’t need to be discovered, tagged, or interpreted. This means less time spent on trying to understand and interpret data sets.
Therefore, a catalog increases time value, which automatically translates to improved business performance. How?
Well, employees will have more time on their hands to focus on their roles instead of trying to understand metadata from an IT standpoint. In other words, a catalog enhances machine-human collaboration, which in turn streamlines your business’s operations.
Reduces Operational Costs
By streamlining business operations, a catalog also reduces operational costs. When data becomes understandable to every individual within an organization, it means a reduced payroll. This is because you no longer need a large IT team to help breakdown IT jargon to your non-technical team.
Better Source Verification
No matter how small it might be, your business generates a lot of data on every working day. This data is usually stored for future reference. As time goes by, you tend to forget about it, until the need arises.
Unfortunately, when you finally need to refer to such data, you might not remember its source, or it might even be outdated. This practically puts your business at risk as you’re using info from an unreliable source.
When you use a data catalog for your data inventory, you eliminate this uncertainty. This is because other than having well-curated information; a good catalog also comes with business lineage features. Through these features, you’re able to keep track of all sources of your business data without trying so hard.
By now, there’s no doubt that this informational post has helped you comprehend the convenience of a data catalog. But let’s break it down anyway. A data catalog makes it possible for you to store all your organization’s data in one place. This gives you a unified view of all your firm’s important information.
Simply put, a catalog becomes a searchable glossary of your entity’s info. On top of that, based on the features of the catalog you go for, it also automates the process of data collection and interpretation. This makes things incredibly convenient as you no longer have to do it manually or hire an IT team to do so.
How to Select the Right Data Catalog
Right now, the data catalog market is booming with all sorts of solutions. Some are highly functional, while others have limited features. You need to be careful while shopping for a catalog. Here are some pointers to help you out:
While all the factors below are of the essence, the price of the catalog in question is even more critical. Why? Well, you might find one that suits your business perfectly, but if it can’t fit your budget, then it’s of no good use to you.
Therefore, first, consider how much you’re willing to spend and then shop around based on your spending limits.
While a catalog will help enhance the security of your data, it should do so without risking a breach. Therefore, consider whether the catalog you’ve chosen is compatible with your existing security infrastructure.
As the digital world takes on different shapes, so does laws and regulations concerning data evolve. Some of the top regulations related to data include GDPR and HIPAA. To avoid trouble with the authorities, ensure the solution you go for is fully compliant with your industry’s data laws.
Other Factors to Consider:
- Data Curation
- Vendor’s plans
- Integration and interoperability
With these factors in considers, you’ll definitely settle for the best option.
Unlock a World of Convenience through a Data Catalog
A data Catalog will significantly influence the way your business functions. While it’s not a solution for every data problem within your organization, it certainly makes things a tad easier. The above are just a few examples of how it does so.
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