Who Benefits from Data Cataloging? More than just CDOs

Last Published: Jun 24, 2024 |
Mark Kettles
Mark Kettles

Senior Product Marketing Manager

Data & AI Governance and Privacy

The digital transformation journey is now moving into its third wave, marked by organizations using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). In this wave, automated decision-making processes are prevalent, leading to personalized customer experiences and valuable insights that have a real impact on business. By combining AI and ML with advanced analytics, IoT and automation, businesses are becoming more intelligent, responsive and customer-centric. These technologies enable companies to anticipate customer behavior, improve user experiences and automate repetitive tasks, freeing up employees to focus on high-value tasks. As data continues to play a vital role, innovative organizations are using AI and analytics capabilities to drive data-driven commercial decisions and reimagine their business models.

The surge in the development of big data technology has exploded the amount of data produced and used across all modern organizations. Consequently, AI, along with its challenges and the necessity for high-quality data are rising priorities on data leaders’ agendas for the year ahead. From a recent CDO survey by Informatica, examining AI Readiness across 600 CDOs globally, the top data strategy priorities for 2024 include delivering reliable and consistent data fit for generative AI (39%), improving data-driven culture and data literacy (39%) and improving governance over data and data processes (38%).

Data is the foundation of each technological component of this third wave of digital transformation and, in most enterprises, it also represents the most significant source of untapped value. Effective data governance is central to unlocking this potential opportunity.  

Figure 1: Graph illustrating the relationship between the three waves of digital transformation and value creation

By making data searchable, understandable and trustable, a data catalog sits at the heart of data governance. It enriches metadata with business context, allowing for easier data discovery, understanding and trust. It maintains details about data lineage, data relationships and data quality, which are vital for maintaining data integrity, ensuring data accuracy and regulatory compliance. It thus acts as a force multiplier for data governance efforts.

Data Catalogs Can Do More than Help Technical Users Find, Identify and Classify Datasets

By propelling business strategies forward through a single source of truth, a data catalog offers enterprises an enhanced way to leverage their data for analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) initiatives. Businesses benefit from reduced time spent searching for data, enabling more focus on analysis and deriving insights. 

Often, data in organizations is scattered across various departments and systems, leading to incomplete, inconsistent, duplicative and fragmented data sets. With the comprehensive visibility and understanding provided by a data catalog, which offers a unified and holistic view of data assets along with necessary context, users are spared the complexity of navigating multiple systems. This consolidation improves data discovery, quality and usage throughout the organization.

 In short, leveraging a data catalog can impact business in several important ways:

  • Enhanced Decision-Making: Faster and more efficient access to high-quality data keeps business leaders better informed, supporting stronger business decision-making.
  • Increased Efficiency: Minimizing time spent searching for data improves productivity in high-impact tasks.
  • Compliance and Risk Management: A better understanding of the data landscape aids in regulatory compliance (such as GDPR and EU AI Act legislation) and risk management.
  • Customer Experience: Understanding customer data better facilitates the curation of enhanced personalized services, which, in turn, enables increased customer satisfaction.

Figure 2: Informatica Data Catalog dashboard user interface

Boosting Business with Centralized Data Access and Collaboration

A core tenet of driving business impact is through greater data access, allowing business users to have access to and interpret data that has been located, identified, prepared and presented by a technical user (like the CDO team) in a data catalog. This is illustrated in the Informatica example here, where a data analyst collaborates with a marketing analyst to retrieve customer order data for a cross-sell campaign. The data analyst can confidently locate the right data, its lineage and quality, allied to relevant policies and regulations, like the terms of usage of personally identifiable information (PII) in this instance, to share with her colleague in the marketing team. Thus, the data catalog can provide an efficient, trustworthy view of data that can be used across the organization. Of course, the data catalog can work in tandem and be presented to a business user via a data marketplace as a front-end experience for business users to access data directly. This usage can be part of building an effective data management strategy using a comprehensive cloud-based data management platform such as Informatica Intelligent Data Management Cloud (IDMC) with a scalable data catalog at its core. This approach can add real business value, driving strategic growth and innovation by unifying data integration, quality, governance and privacy onto a single platform.

Access to a common data catalog allows different teams to share data assets, insights and annotations, leading to better alignment and communication across the business. It also allows for a fuller understanding and engagement with data and AI, fostering a data-driven culture where everyone can contribute their insights and ideas. Ultimately, this can lead to faster, more informed decisions, more effective collaboration and better business outcomes.

By delivering a single, standardized view of data from across all your source systems cohesively, the data catalog provides a consistent, global view of data. This collaborative approach makes data even more valuable across your enterprise.

A Data Catalog Empowers Business Leaders Across the Organization

A data catalog is a critical tool for handling the ever-growing volume and complexity of data spanning various sources throughout a typical business. It enables organizations to find and understand data efficiently regardless of its origin in the company.

Data cataloging was traditionally seen as sitting only within the purview of chief data officers (CDOs) and their teams. Its primary objective was to support the governance and management of vast and complex data landscapes within organizations.  However, as digital technology adoption has surged, so has the expectation to transform data into usable formats through AI tools in non-technical language, facilitated by catalog applications across modern enterprises.

Business leaders are now more data-driven than ever. They increasingly rely on instant, accurate and accessible data to make informed decisions, comprehend market trends, improve operational efficiencies and drive innovation in an ever-changing world. A data catalog can serve as a trustworthy and up-to-date directory for various departments to search for appropriate data assets efficiently and conveniently.  

The value of this capability can be seen across a variety of professional roles that can benefit from employing a data catalog at the foundation of their business:

  1. Business Analysts: Data cataloging supports the discovery of relevant data in a timely and easy-to-understand manner. It provides transparency and reduces risk with comprehensive visibility into data use, ensuring uniformity and consistency in data across all business domains, making reporting trustworthy and consistent. For example, take data’s central role in environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting, risk reporting and financial analysis. (Read more here about a healthcare customer success story in trusted business reporting)
  2. Data Scientists: Having a data catalog allows data scientists to spend less time searching for data and more time on high-value tasks like modeling and analysis. They can share datasets, annotations, insights from large volumes of data and use cases with colleagues, confident that data quality is measured accurately. It enables them to leverage the work done by others, preventing redundancies and promoting responsible use of data through identifying and classifying sensitive datasets. These adjustments can help foster better teamwork, knowing that they are using compliant data and following appropriate data governance protocols. (Read more here about a banking customer success story in data science)
  3. Marketing Professionals: Data catalogs empower marketing teams by providing access to high-quality, reliable data that can be used in campaign analysis, customer segmentation and market research. In turn, this access allows them to develop more personalized marketing strategies and campaigns that fully comply with relevant regulations (such as GDPR) and their terms of usage. (Read more here about a customer case study using marketing campaigns)
  4. Risk Management Professionals: Aggregating risk-related data from multiple sources can streamline risk analysis and identify sensitive data requiring advanced security measures. With data lineage and data quality features, risk professionals can rely on the data to make informed pricing decisions that balance profitability and risk. By providing metadata, data lineage and quality scores, a data catalog enables risk professionals to trust the data used for sentiment analysis and predict potential risks more accurately. (Learn more here about a financial customer case study in risk management)
  5. Operations Managers: Identifying inefficiencies and bottlenecks leads to more effective process optimization; for example, classifying and consolidating data across the supply chain, from procurement and production to distribution and customer service. This can support better tracking of key performance metrics and indicators. Moreover, it can aid in adherence to regulatory requirements, especially critical for industries with strict regulatory oversight. (Read more here about an IT software customer success story in business operations)

A $1.4 Million Time-Saving Transformation

A large auto manufacturer is one customer example of an operational project that delivered clear-cut business impact. The Project Management Office (PMO) tasked project managers with sourcing specific data required for projects. Traditionally, this involved opening their Rolodex to coordinate meetings with data engineers and architects, sending messages on Teams, and making in-person inquiries in the office to gather necessary data. However, the implementation of the Informatica Data Catalog as part of IDMC greatly enhanced the process by providing easy access to certified and approved datasets and stakeholders. This improvement resulted in a time efficiency savings of $1.4M annually.

An Operational Boost with AI-Powered Data Management

Moreover, IDMC now incorporates CLAIRE® GPT, a new AI-powered data management assistant. It’s designed to simplify, accelerate and optimize data management operations. CLAIRE GPT leverages a large language model (LLM) to provide a natural language interface for data discovery and exploration within the data catalog. Users can enter simple natural language prompts to discover, interact with and manage their data assets. This is a critical capability for business users, as it bridges the gap between users and metadata. CLAIRE GPT will enable these users to interact with data assets using natural language free of technical jargon and truly democratize the data management process. The system will handle difficult data management tasks like data discovery, cleansing and identifying relevant assets, thus unburdening the business user. In this way, CLAIRE GPT provides a self-service data platform for enterprises.

Adopting AI-Powered Data Management Requires Cross-Business Support and the Right Data Catalog Solution

The benefits of using a data catalog as part of a comprehensive data management strategy are evident across many business roles. AI is accelerating organizational readiness to manage and govern data at scale. However, as CDOs have attested in Informatica’s 2024 CDO survey, all who are adopting or planning to adopt generative AI (more than 99%) have encountered challenges, including quality of data (42%, led by 49% of those in the U.S.) and data privacy & protection (40%) — familiar big picture issues data leaders face elsewhere.

As a result, enhancing data literacy for all users — both technical and business — is crucial for boosting business productivity and overcoming challenges. A data catalog plays a key role by improving data discovery with an organized structure, metadata and business glossary for greater understanding of data, and data lineage (which traces data origins and transformations). It also enhances data trust through quality scoring and compliance adherence.

Informatica’s Guiding Principles

 Informatica delivers the benefits of security, oversight and democratic access by responsibly leveraging technology through our guiding AI principles. We ensure data security and accountability with a pledge to create AI technologies that prioritize data privacy and security, which are balanced against the functionality of our product features. Our AI development oversight includes third-party audits, robust feedback mechanisms and a dedicated oversight team. We maintain documentary evidence of training our AI, ensuring transparency in our processes and trust in our operations. We are also committed to democratizing AI responsibly, making it accessible to a broad range of users while emphasizing ethical and privacy considerations. We strike a balance between openness and robust control mechanisms designed to prevent technological misuse and protect data privacy. By democratizing AI, Informatica provides tools that are user-friendly for all, regardless of technical expertise, thereby adding significant value for business users employing our solutions.

A Data Catalog for the Enterprise

An enterprise-class data catalog lies at the core of business operations, acting as a unifying force for all data — whether housed in a cloud-based data lake, a SaaS application or an on-premises data warehouse. This centralization and standardization render a comprehensive, end-to-end visualization of data. Leveraging AI-powered capabilities, the Informatica Cloud Data Catalog, now incorporating CLAIRE GPT, enables rapid self-service data discovery and traces its lineage and relationships. Moreover, with the growing prevalence of analytics and AI, the demand for data catalogs increases, especially for key business users who directly benefit from analytics insights for accurate conclusions that deliver business results.

Data catalogs can also nurture a collaborative environment by gathering insights from various stakeholders, enhancing data value and providing a comprehensive view of data. By functioning as the enterprise-wide go-to repository for data, a data catalog vastly improves data accessibility and data-driven decision-making. Leveraging AI and ML automates data management tasks and reliably directs users to the most relevant and credible data, which is vital for strategic business decisions. Informatica Cloud Data Catalog’s capability to scale and integrate with multiple solutions serves diverse business needs and brings valuable insights from vast data volumes, driving enhanced efficiencies, innovations and, ultimately, business growth.

To learn more about how Informatica can help your organization unlock the full potential of its data, visit www.informatica.com.

First Published: Jun 24, 2024