How-to Primer for Cloud Data Marketplace

Jul 26, 2022 |
Kate Amory

Data Marketplace Product Manager

For any organization to thrive (or even survive!), there must be some level of data sharing. Data is, after all, needed to make informed decisions. And because you can do this in a multitude of ways, usually it is. The multitude of ways that organizations share data includes:

  • direct system requests
  • ticketing system requests
  • phone calls
  • emails
  • google searches

In fact, you can name a million and one different routes, and some organization somewhere is likely using that method to share data. But this is far from ideal. With this approach, you have no oversight, little to no compliance and no opportunity to gain insights about who’s accessing the data and why.

To tackle these issues and more, you can use a data marketplace. Data marketplaces allow you to centralize and coordinate data access requests. And this allows greater understanding of access and an improved ability to spot trends. But to establish a successful data marketplace, you have to follow a few principles.

  1. The data marketplace has to be for everyone. This is critical, because if users find it hard to use or overly technical, they will revert to their original (untracked)ways of sourcing data.
  2. It must represent data from every source and every destination. It is not enough to simply show the data from Snowflake or only deliver to Tableau, as again this will force people to operate outside of it.
  3. It must be open. The data marketplace is the storefront that represents the data. To integrate into existing data operations, you need open APIs that link to other tools, such as catalogs or governance tools.

Informatica’s Cloud Data Marketplace was built with these principles in mind. Here are the three primary ways that different users will interact with it.

Get Data to your Consumers

The primary experience of the Cloud Data Marketplace is that of the consumer. This is the experience it has been built around and so it makes sense to consider this first. Anyone who needs data should be able to come into the marketplace and ‘shop’ until they get what they need. So, what does this shopping experience look like?

  • Browse – Sometimes data users don’t know exactly what they want and want to see what is on offer
  • Search – This consumer knows exactly what they need and will search on their requirements to locate the perfect data
  • Consider – This data user will browse or search until they have found a potential option that they will review in more detail before ordering
  • Tailor – If upon closer inspection the data is not exactly right, a data user might request enhancements or reductions
  • Bespoke Request – If a data user cannot find anything remotely suitable, they may request that you create something new
  • Order – Whether the user finds the perfect data on the first pass or has had to have something tailored or even created, the end step is always the same. They need to place the order to deliver the data to their preferred location!

Above all else, this experience must be easy, quick and even enjoyable in order so data users will return to the marketplace. This is why Cloud Data Marketplace has been built with the consumer in mind, with features like:

  • a contextual guide
  • browsable categories
  • options to search by ease of access
  • embedded workflows for tailoring bespoke requests
  • a streamlined and transparent order process.

Promote your Best Data

Before people can start data shopping, data owners have some work to do. It is critical that they are able to package up data for their potential consumers to shop for. Now you can do this in several ways — what’s right for you depends on how you are using the Cloud Data Marketplace. If you are using the Cloud Data Marketplace with Cloud Data Governance and Catalog, you can use the native integration to publish assets that you have scanned. If you are using another catalog or governance tool you can use APIs to bring the relevant assets into the marketplace. Once you have a rich inventory of data assets, you can start getting them ready for data users to order by creating and promoting data collections.

Promoting a data collection involves:

  • Designing a package for the data that will be delivered – giving it a name, purpose and category
  • Adding one or more data assets to the collection
  • Adding one or more delivery options for the collection
  • Adding relevant terms of use so that consumers know how to be compliant while using the data
  • Uploading existing consumers of the data (if there are any already known)
  • Ensuring you’ve added any necessary data quality checks

All these actions also help promote the data to the potential data users. The name and purpose make it easier to find in a search, while the category allocation allows people to browse for it by domain or subject area. You can also specify delivery options which will show consumers how they will get access to the data. Consumers can search on this parameter and select the delivery method that is most suitable for them. When adding terms of use, the data owner should consider whether the data will be suitable for most purposes. For example, if the data includes PII, but the owner believes that people will want to use it for analytics, the owner has options for publishing this data. One way would involve publishing an anonymized variant of the data. Another option would be to publish a subset that provides data from customers who have given analytics consent. Finally, adding consumers shows the popularity of existing collections and data quality helps show the trustworthiness of the data itself.

Manage your Data Community

Once your data collections are up and your data consumers are ready to order data, the ongoing work of managing your data community begins. This phase includes:

  • delivering the data that has been ordered
  • creating new datasets as they are requested
  • answering questions
  • pushing people in the right direction

It is paramount that communication lines remain open, and the community can give feedback to the data producers. Sometimes will be the data consumers sharing their positive experiences. Other times, it will be users who are identifying delays or gaps in the process, or consumers sharing concerns about poor data. You should welcome all types of feedback, as it’s an indicator of engagement and adoption. It also can be a source of inspiration that will help you move towards ever-better data standards.

Key Questions to Keep You Improving Your Marketplace:

  1. Does the inventory of data assets have any serious gaps? For example, do you get repeated requests for data collections that you can’t build from the existing assets?
  2. Do the data delivery methods seem to be resonating? Or are people often selecting ‘other’ and asking for bespoke delivery options?
  3. Is the data treated correctly to make it readily accessible? Or are lots of orders getting denied as users appear to be looking to misuse data?
  4. Is the data community active? Are you getting the expected amount or orders, requests and interactions?

The aim is to keep growing with your consumers, learning from their needs, gaining insights and streamlining processes as a result.

For more information on how to get started with your own Data marketplace:

Watch Episode 1 of this webinar series
Register for this Meet the Experts webinar
Join a live demo