Choosing the right data cataloging tools can help make your job easier, your company’s data collection more consistent, and most importantly, allow you to make better informed decisions with less hassle.
But with many different options on the market, it can be hard to know where to start. Therefore, when implementing data cataloging practices, it’s important to understand what the technology is and how it’s important for businesses of all sizes, as well as how to choose a software solution that fits your business’s needs.
What is Data Cataloging?
A data catalog is a comprehensive database of all enterprise data assets and includes metadata (data about data) such as ownership, custodianship, lifecycle state, lineage information, business value, and cost center. Data catalogs are frequently used to enforce corporate governance over IT assets and restrict unauthorized access to sensitive information.
A good data catalog serves as a central repository for all information related to your enterprise’s metadata. This includes records or files of any kind, structured or unstructured, that you might want to search against or mine with your business intelligence tools.
Also read: Best BI Tools 2022: Business Intelligence Software
Why Do You Need Data Catalog Tools?
Businesses and individuals spend vast amounts of time and money amassing valuable data in their digital collections. But when you’re working with thousands or even millions of files, including photos, financial documents, reports, and more, keeping track of everything can be a daunting task.
Fortunately, data catalog tools can help you organize files and make it easy to find any file whenever you need it.
And if anything happens to your devices, such as damage or loss, most of these programs will let you automatically restore all of your files from backup copies. So, no matter what type of information you have saved, a good data catalog tool will make sure it’s organized and accessible.
Also read: Best Backup Software 2022
What are the Benefits of Data Catalog Tools?
A data catalog tool enables you to bring your organization’s data into one place to centralize and streamline business processes. As you consider data catalog tools, it’s important to think about how they can benefit your business.
Organizing your data can make it easy to find new customers and stay compliant with regulations. With a good system for managing information, you’ll have everything where you need it when you need it, whether that means having customer information handy or knowing where all of your sensitive documents are located.
Having a secure system for storing your company’s data is essential to avoid breaches. A good data catalog will help keep sensitive information safe by keeping track of who has access to what files and ensuring only authorized employees can get their hands on specific pieces of information.
Having easy access to all of your company’s data is essential if you want employees across departments to work together effectively. When different teams know exactly where to find what they need, communication between departments becomes more straightforward and more effective.
When everyone knows exactly where to find any information they might need, everyone can spend less time searching for files and more time working on projects that move your business forward.
The best data catalog software won’t just save you time—it’ll also save you money. Taking some of the strain off IT professionals frees them up to handle other tasks, which means paying fewer outside consultants and cutting down on hardware costs. If a big part of your budget goes toward technology, cutting down on those expenses can add up over time.
Considerations When Choosing Data Catalog Software
When choosing a data catalog software, be sure to consider how well-suited your current technology stack integrates with the tool as well as how much support is available for your team to learn how to use it.
In addition, the right data catalog tool should reduce your time to market, increase sales, and improve business intelligence as well as impact how quickly you can get your organization’s data in order. When making a decision, ask yourself:
- How do I want to work with my data?
- How much am I willing to spend?
- What kind of functionality do I need now versus down the road?
- What are my primary goals for buying a data catalog software package?
These questions can help determine which data catalog is best for your needs.
Top 7 Data Catalog Tools
While there are a lot of tools out there that help you manage your data and metadata, it can be challenging to find one that works well with multiple data management tools or systems. Often it can take a long time to figure out what you need, so here are our picks for the top seven data catalog tools.
Collibra is an enterprise-oriented data governance tool for data management. It helps companies gain control over their data by creating standards, enforcing policies, and streamlining processes across their entire organization.
In addition, it allows users to manage their company’s information assets in one place and provides them with a single view of every piece of information they have to make better decisions faster.
- Collibra data governance and privacy capabilities ensure enterprise data is clean, correct, and consistent by standardizing definitions, establishing ownership, protecting sensitive data, and documenting and managing policies.
- Machine learning powers Collibra’s AI-driven insights engine, which helps customers understand how their data is being used, who’s using it, and where they are using it.
- Collibra offers out-of-the-box integration with all major databases.
- Collibra creates an audit trail for every piece of data in your organization, which allows users to see where each piece of information came from and when it was last modified or accessed. It also provides a visual representation of how data is connected across different systems, applications, and databases.
- The platform includes security measures such as encryption at rest, encryption during transmission, and administrator role-based access control (RBAC).
- The platform allows self-service data access.
- Employees are able to collaborate seamlessly.
- Collibra enables a unified view of all your data.
- Some business users find the Collibra user interface (UI) non-intuitive.
Pricing: Collibra doesn’t provide pricing details on the website. However, they offer a 14-day free trial, and prospective buyers can request a live demo.
data.world is a cloud-native enterprise data catalog SaaS (software as a service) platform that provides customers with a broad context for understanding their data.
data.world offers an enterprise data catalog as part of their metadata management system, enabling customers to develop reusable, scalable data and analysis. It also includes a knowledge graph to improve data discovery, agile data governance, and actionable insights.
- A knowledge graph powers the product.
- data.world data discovery automates search and classification, making it easier for stewards to locate and act on sensitive data inside the data catalog.
- data.world uses metadata collectors tools to aggregate and manage the metadata for all of the organization’s data.
- data.world offers an intuitive UI.
- The vendor provides upfront pricing information, so prospective buyers can determine if the tool price is within their budget.
- Compared to other vendors, data.world does not have as many third-party integrations.
Pricing: data.world offers different price plans for different customer tiers, including Enterprise, User, and Community plans.
- Enterprise-level plans include Essentials ($50,000), Standard ($100,000), Premier ($150,000), and Premier Plus (custom pricing).
- The User tiers support a maximum of 10 users in each tier, with a monthly fee of $5 per user at high volume and $33 per month per additional user.
- The Community tier includes a free option and a professional plan, which costs $12 per month.
Alation’s data catalog solution gives you comprehensive control over metadata, enabling quick searches and access to information from anywhere in your organization. Additionally, it provides organizational metadata and technical structure components to easily organize data across cloud services and on-premises systems.
Alation also allows you to create a centralized place for all your data without sacrificing flexibility or functionality.
- Alation offers data visualization.
- Real-time reporting and analytics are available.
- The platform supports behavioral intelligence that uses machine learning to index a broad range of data sources, including relational databases, cloud data lakes, and file systems.
- Guided navigation is provided when data consumers query via Alation’s intelligent SQL editor or search using natural language.
- Alation offers good machine learning capabilities.
- Gartner, Forrester, IDC, and other research firms have rated Alation as an industry leader.
- Some users find Alation licensing terms confusing.
- Users have reported concerns with Alation’s data lineage, such as the difficulty in tracking data from its origin to its consumption point.
Pricing: Alation’s pricing detail is available on request. Prospective buyers can also join Alation’s weekly live demo to learn more about the tool.
Apache Atlas is an open-source data governance and metadata management platform that makes it easier to collect, process, and maintain information. It keeps track of data processes and stores data, files, and metadata repository updates.
Apache Atlas allows enterprises to catalog their data assets, classify and manage them, and collaborate on them with data scientists, analysts, and the data governance team.
- Apache Atlas allows users to create and classify files, tables, or schemas.
- Apache Atlas UI allows data consumers to search and filter.
- Apache Atlas offers better data governance, allowing users to create new metadata types and instances and share metadata across teams via centralized analytics.
- Security and data masking are provided.
- Apache Atlas offers centralized data governance.
- Intuitive user interface allows users to view data lineage.
- Data access authorization/masking is enabled based on classifications associated with entities in Apache Atlas.
Pricing: Apache Atlas is licensed under open-source terms.
erwin data catalog is a metadata management software that helps enterprises understand their data at rest and in motion. It organizes data and metadata, so data management, analysis, and decision-making may be done quickly. The product enables users to automate data collection, integration, activation, and governance.
- The platform offers drag-and-drop data mapping.
- Version management and change control are available.
- Users can access data profiling and quality scoring.
- erwin provides an enterprise data catalog and metadata harvesting.
- The platform allows users to support IT audits and regulatory compliance.
- Erwin provides a centralized data governance framework.
- Erwin analyzes, catalogs, and synchronizes metadata with data management and governance artifacts in real-time.
- Some users found Erwin to be more expensive compared to its competitors.
- The complex user interface was a noted drawback.
Pricing: Pricing for this product is available on request, although a free trial is available.
Informatica’s Enterprise Data Catalog is an integrated, centralized repository of metadata that provides a single point of access to all enterprise information assets. It helps enterprises control their information assets and reduce IT costs by automating metadata management.
The data catalog stores comprehensive details about enterprise-wide information assets such as databases, applications, web services, XML schemas, and so on.
- The use of artificial intelligence-powered domain discovery, data similarity, and business term connections is available for automated data curation.
- End-to-end data lineage is supported by tracking data movement.
- The platform provides data asset analytics.
- Informatica automatically scans across multicloud platforms, BI (business intelligence) tools, ETL (extract, transform, and load), and third-party metadata libraries.
- Informatica is easy to use.
- The platform has a friendly user interface.
- Enterprise users find the data asset scanning feature impressive.
- Some customers cite setup and configuration concerns.
- Others cite implementation and IT architecture concerns.
Pricing: Pricing details for this product are available upon request.
Infogix Data360 (now Infogix Precisely Data360) is a data governance, catalog, and metadata management tool founded in 1982 that was acquired by Precisely in 2021. It automates governance and stewardship operations to provide granular visibility into data origin, usage, meaning, ownership, and quality.
- Infogix Data360 uses AI to detect and tag data automatically.
- Automated metadata harvest is available.
- Infogix Data360 offers automated enterprise and technical data search.
- A business glossary is available.
- The software is easy to use.
- Business users find Infogix Data360’s intelligent automation helpful capability.
- Some customers cite integration with third-party service concerns.
Pricing: Pricing details and a demo for this product are available on request.
Choosing the Right Data Catalog Tool for Your Business
As you decide which data catalog software is right for your business, remember that not every tool is suitable for every company. While one solution may be perfect for one company, another may be better suited to another firm’s needs.
A good data catalog tool should have extensive automation and workflows to help you automate processes. It should also integrate easily with your existing systems, like cloud providers or on-premises applications, as well as offer a simple and easy-to-use user interface.