Data Marketplace vs. Data Catalog

Benefits and Key Differences

As data becomes increasingly valuable in today's world, data leaders are working to prioritize their efforts to harness its full potential. A recent survey of data leaders revealed that 52% of them consider enhancing data governance and processes as a top priority, while 46% cite fostering a data-driven culture and improving data literacy as their top objective.

Organizations can improve collaboration and knowledge exchange by using a data catalog combined with a data sharing tool, like a data marketplace. The catalog provides important details and descriptions about the data that can help users collaborate more effectively on data projects. This can help streamline data analysis and decision-making processes. 

In this article, we’ll explain the differences between a data catalog and a data marketplace. We will also describe how they can work together to help ensure data consumers effectively can find, understand, trust and access the data they need to drive positive business outcomes.

Understanding Data Catalogs

A data catalog serves as a central repository for information about an organization’s data assets. Its primary purpose is to facilitate the efficient discovery and comprehension of data. Ultimately, data catalogs help modern enterprises harness data for analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) initiatives that support business goals.

Key Features and Functions of a Data Catalog

Here are some of the key features and functions of a data catalog, a tool that can help organizations manage their data assets more effectively:

1. Metadata Management: Efficiently handle data about data (metadata) by extracting, organizing and enhancing metadata, including database schemas, transformations, quality checks, business context and usage statistics. This practice forms the foundation for data-driven operations.

2. Automated Data Intelligence: Implement automation using AI/machine learning (ML) to derive insights from metadata, reducing the need for manual tasks. Automation leverages data usage and queries to associate business context with data assets at scale.

3. Data Discovery: Discover and explore data assets and associated metadata across the enterprise. This comprehensive inventory and search functionality helps improve data understanding, trust and confidence.

4. Data Lineage: Track and display the origins and movement of data assets, revealing their storage locations, transformations, access history and other crucial information, providing context for data assets.

5. Data Governance: Establish a data governance framework to help ensure data reliability and trustworthiness, which can help to achieve and maintain consistent compliance with government regulations and company policies. Successful data governance programs enable a reliable data ecosystem.

6. Data Marketplace Connectivity: Enable an accessible data catalog that links data intelligence with data access through a marketplace, making data more transparent and accessible to non-technical users. This fosters faster data access and collaboration.

Benefits of Using a Data Catalog

Data catalogs help you scan and catalog data assets to find the most relevant, trusted data. An intelligent data catalog can also help you understand your data by providing end-to-end visibility into its sources and lineage, allowing you to be more confident in the data. Some other benefits of a data catalog include:

  • Boosted productivity and faster time to insight

  • Enhanced data-driven decision-making

  • Improved data trust

  • Simplified collaboration and knowledge sharing

Additionally, a data catalog can serve as a vital component of a comprehensive data governance strategy by helping CDOs and teams ensure data is trusted and used responsibly by enforcing governance policies and standards.

Understanding Data Marketplaces

Definition and Role of a Data Marketplace

A data marketplace is a tool that acts as an intermediary between data suppliers and data consumers, facilitating the exchange of trusted data. It offers data consumers an environment similar to an online shopping experience. It allows them to easily locate and access the data they need for initiatives such as analytics and data science projects. Data marketplaces enhance organizational productivity, collaboration and informed decision-making by enabling self-service access to data at scale. They help ensure that the right people have access to the right data in the right format when they need it.

Key Features and Functions of a Data Marketplace

Here are some of the key features and functions of a data marketplace that can help organizations effectively share and democratize data:

  1. Data Asset Publishing and Packaging. Allow data owners to share and promote curated data products and assets — with context — from a wide variety of sources.

  2. Advanced Search. Provide semantic search, browsing and comparison abilities for data products and assets, enabling data consumers to find the data they need efficiently.

  3. Contextual Guidance. Show relevant information for data assets, such as related assets, business glossary terms, classifications, policies and data quality metrics, to help data consumers understand data and its appropriateness for use.

  4. Collaboration Methods. Facilitate collaboration among team members through capabilities including chat and user ratings.

  5. Transparent Ordering Process. Enable data consumers to request access to data products and assets. Track request details, monitor fulfillment and view data consumption reports and dashboards to gain visibility into data usage and operations. Gain valuable information regarding how often and why data consumers are using data and fulfillment metrics to facilitate the timely delivery of data to the consumers.

  6. Automated Data Delivery and Provisioning. Enable data owners and their data engineering teams to define default delivery options and allow data consumers to select their preferred delivery mode.

  7. AI/ML Model Support. Simplify access to models for self-service use alongside their corresponding datasets. Track key performance indicators such as data quality and drift, as the predictive accuracy of models can diminish over time because of bias.

Benefits of Using a Data Marketplace

CDOs, other data leaders and data teams can facilitate data sharing and democratization with a data marketplace. Additional benefits of a data marketplace include:

  • Enhanced visibility and access to relevant, trusted data for data consumers

  • Improved data literacy 

  • Greater trust in data and decisions

  • Increased operational efficiency and productivity

  • Transparency into data usage

Differences Between Data Catalogs and Data Marketplaces

Although commonly used together — as data catalogs often fuel data marketplaces — there are several differences between a data catalog and a data marketplace:

They Have Different Primary Purposes

The primary purpose of a data catalog is to inventory data assets and information about those assets (metadata), making it easier for organizations to discover and comprehend their data.

The primary purpose of a data marketplace is to provide a platform where organizations can share and promote curated data with context, allowing data consumers to find and access trustworthy data easily.

They Have Different Types of Users

The typical users for data catalogs are:

  • Data scientists and business analysts. They use data catalogs to discover relevant data and understand its appropriateness for use.

  • Data stewards. They use data catalogs to enrich data assets with contextual information.

  • Data engineers. They use data catalogs to understand data relationships and assess the impact of potential changes.

The typical users of data marketplaces are:

  • Data consumers, business users. They use data marketplaces to find and request access to relevant data.

  • Data owners. They use data marketplaces to provide and package assets and monitor data usage.

  • Data engineers. They use data marketplaces to set up data delivery, provision and monitor request fulfillment.

They Offer Different Key Features and Capabilities

Some of the key features and capabilities of a data catalog include:

  • Metadata management

  • Advanced search

  • Data lineage

  • Business glossary

  • Data policy management

  • Data profiling

  • Collaboration tools

  • Data access management

  • Dashboards 

Some of the key features and capabilities of a data marketplace include:

  • Data asset packaging

  • Advanced search

  • Contextual guidance

  • Collaboration tools

  • Data access request management

  • Data delivery and provisioning

  • Data access management

  • Dashboards

Joint Benefits and ROI of Data Catalogs and Data Marketplaces

Improved data management can result from implementing data catalogs and data marketplaces. Below are some of the expected benefits:

  • Enhanced Productivity. Boost the efficiency of data governance and analytics teams.

  • Streamlined Data Discovery. Minimize the time and effort spent by data consumers searching and interpreting business data.

  • Efficient Data Handling. Decrease the workload of data teams in handling routine data access requests and addressing emergency escalations.

  • Accelerated Value Realization. Speed up the time it takes to derive value from data-intensive projects.

  • Mitigated Risk Exposure. Reduce potential risk exposure caused by non-compliance and data breach events.

Read more about building a business case and measuring the return on investment (ROI) of data catalog and data marketplace implementations in our workbook, 5 Essential Business Value Metrics to Build a Robust Case for Cloud Data Governance

Banco ABC Brasil Accelerates Credit Approval by 70% with the Support of an Intelligent Data Catalog and Data Marketplace

Banco ABC Brasil is a wholesale bank with more than 30 years in the market. They recently wanted to improve their decision-making process by relying more on data. The goal was to speed up their digital credit approvals while reducing risk. The bank achieved a 70% acceleration in credit approvals using a data catalog and marketplace. This new system allows teams at Banco ABC Brasil to easily find and access the data they need to build analytical models that support their business goals. The data teams can now locate, understand and ensure the quality of their data assets better than before. The bank has streamlined its credit application evaluation process with this new system. 

Enable Teams to Find, Understand, Trust and Access the Data They Need with a Data Catalog and Data Marketplace

Data catalogs and data marketplaces are essential tools for organizations aiming to maximize their data's potential. Data catalogs serve as central repositories, facilitating efficient data discovery and understanding and data marketplaces simplify the exchange of and access to trusted data. These solutions jointly streamline data handling, enhance productivity and mitigate risk exposure while improving data visibility and trust. By implementing these tools, organizations can enhance collaboration and data-driven decision-making in today's data-centric landscape.

Data Catalog and Data Marketplace Resources

See a data catalog and data marketplace in action in this demo video.

Learn more about how different personas benefit in the new data economy with a data marketplace in this blog.

See how to easily share and access data from across your organization with our eBook, Data Sharing Marketplaces for Dummies.

Explore how machine learning data catalogs can help you find, assess and use relevant data for value-creating analytics and AI initiatives.