Key Criteria for Evaluating Data Catalog Solutionsv2.0

An Evaluation Guide for Technology Decision Makers

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. Data Catalog Primer
  3. Report Methodology
  4. Decision Criteria Analysis
  5. Evaluation Metrics
  6. Key Criteria: Impact Analysis
  7. Analyst’s Take
  8. About Andrew Brust

1. Summary

Data catalogs are foundational for implementing the roles, responsibilities, and rules organizations establish to govern their data and enable its long-term reusability across the enterprise.

They’re the nexus point for virtually all things related to data, from what data is located where to how it relates to any number of business objectives, applications, and enterprise functions. Data catalogs directly impact several aspects of data management concerned with reinforcing how data is used, thereby boosting its value while decreasing its risk. Catalogs contain information essential for modeling data, understanding its lineage, properly stewarding it, managing its lifecycle, classifying it, and more.

There are a couple of noteworthy distinctions between contemporary data catalogs and traditional ones. The first is the amount of automation they support to decrease the manual efforts required for tagging, classifying, describing, and explaining the history of how data is used. The second, which is perhaps even more impactful, relates to the actions they either directly spawn or support with their rich assortment of metadata.

Conventionally, such metadata was primarily historic-facing and a blueprint for, as an example, the best way to integrate two sources. These days, data catalog contents are rectifying differences in terminology across business units and data sources to blend datasets or integrate sources for the first time. This active use of data catalogs, their information, and schemas enables users to adapt to the ever-evolving circumstances of using data while still adhering to established policies for doing so.

The significance of this development is worth exploring. Data catalogs are at the center of a novel and evolving way of tailoring policies to meet the circumstances of the day, in which the outcome is almost always faster (and more meaningful) interactions with data. Sometimes that stems from better analytics. Other times it involves more comprehensive data, such as for customer loyalty programs. Though it may seem paradoxical, data catalogs are embracing an emergent form of managing data that’s both fluid and sanctioned by chief data officers (CDOs), enterprise stakeholders, the business, and IT.

With these advancements rapidly creeping into this domain, it’s imperative that organizations understand the varying features different catalog vendors are supplying to fulfill these objectives. This Key Criteria report lists the fundamental characteristics data catalogs require to warrant inclusion in the accompanying Radar report. We then detail the appropriate key criteria for measuring how vendors stack up against each other.

There’s also an overview of future technologies and applications that catalog platforms will likely provide for organizations in the next 12 to 18 months. Finally, we prescribe a series of evaluation metrics designed to help organizations ascertain exactly how a specific solution will meet their particular needs. These determinants provide helpful points of comparison for organizations looking to upgrade their catalog capabilities as well as those seeking an initial solution.

This GigaOm Key Criteria report details the criteria and evaluation metrics for selecting an effective data catalog platform. The companion GigaOm Radar report identifies vendors and products that excel in those criteria and metrics. Together, these reports provide an overview of the category and its underlying technology, identify leading data catalog offerings, and help decision-makers evaluate these platforms so they can make a more informed investment decision.

How to Read this Report

This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding, consider reviewing the following reports:

Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.

GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.

Solution Profile: An in-depth vendor analysis that builds on the framework developed in the Key Criteria and Radar reports to assess a company’s engagement within a technology sector. This analysis includes forward-looking guidance around both strategy and product.

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