Person managing product information

Your data has the potential to change your business, but if you don’t know what you have, where it resides, or its lineage, there’s no way to get full value from it. Data-driven, actionable insights are essential to a company’s ability to compete successfully. Often, however, data remains frustratingly inaccessible. Siloed in company divisions, devices, systems, applications, and storage repositories, it’s impossible to inventory the data, assess its value, or optimize its use.

With a data catalog, you can discover, inventory, classify, and organize data assets wherever they reside—on-premises or in the cloud—to maximize data value. An intelligent enterprise data catalog goes even further, using artificial intelligence (AI) to automate data discovery and create a holistic, relevant and trusted view of the data that enhances collaboration and leads to better decision-making. At the same time, it provides a single place to collect, index, relate, annotate, and consume information about data assets. A single, centralized data catalog empowers users across the organization to make informed decisions based on easily accessible, trusted, and consistent data.

The Benefits of a Data Catalog

Data catalogs enable you to scan and catalog data assets across the entire enterprise, helping your data and business analysts easily find the most relevant data—and, ultimately, turn that data into insights driving efficiency, growth, and profitability. An AI-powered enterprise data catalog with a machine learning (ML)-based discovery engine provides many benefits.

Cloud Modernization: Migrate Data Warehouses to the Cloud Without Breaking the Business

A data catalog is your best tool for discovering where data lives and understanding where it comes from, how it’s being used, and how trustworthy it is. By providing context and curation, data cataloging tools help you identify the most relevant and trustworthy data in your organization and determine who relies on what to get their work done. And, by cataloging all your enterprise data and its complex relationships, you can perform impact analyses to understand the downstream effects of migrating workloads and data sets to the cloud before you begin. This gives you the information you need to create a well-informed migration plan that won’t negatively impact the business. For guidance on the key processes of modernizing and moving data warehouses to the cloud, download the ebook, Accelerate Your Cloud Journey with an Intelligent Data Catalog.

Data Governance: Use Your Data with Confidence

Data governance is a set of principles, standards, and practices that ensures your data is reliable and consistent, and that it can be trusted to help drive business initiatives, inform decisions, and power digital transformations. A data catalog helps you identify critical data elements that need to be governed, then use end-to-end data lineage to fully understand where your data comes from, what happens to it, who uses it, and for what purpose.

Regulatory and legal requirements have historically driven the need for data governance (and still do), but today, organizations are also using data governance to deliver trusted data for analytics and other business needs. However, a governance rule can be any practice to which the organization wishes to adhere. Governance often dictates where certain types of data may be stored and codifies data protection methods (e.g., encryption and password strength). Governance can dictate how to back up data, who has access to data, and when archived data should be destroyed. A successful data governance framework and program enables you to scale and adapt as data volumes and the number of data sources grow and technologies evolve. grow and technologies evolve.

Self-Service Analytics: Make It Easy for Data Users to Turn Data into Business Insights

Intelligent data cataloging empowers your data users—business users as well as data architects, engineers, analysts, stewards, and scientists—by making more data visible and understandable, and by enabling self-service access through intuitive, cloud-based analytics tools. With an intelligent data catalog, you have end-to-end visibility into data sources and lineage, enabling employees to locate relevant and trusted data for their analytics needs—without bottlenecks. This self-sufficiency equates to greater productivity and user satisfaction. In fact, according to research from the Aberdeen Group, companies using a data catalog are twice as likely to report that they are “very satisfied” with self-service data access compared to non-catalog users.1

Holistic View of Data: Realize Value Faster

In today’s digital business environment, organizations need a holistic view of their data to enhance the customer experience, minimize supply chain disruptions, conduct digital (online) commerce, and provide insightful financial planning and analysis. Traditionally, however, data has been stored across myriad departments and systems, resulting in incomplete, inconsistent, duplicative, and fragmented data that simply isn’t actionable in a meaningful way. Data cataloging changes all that, giving you a comprehensive understanding of your data—what you have, where it’s coming from, how it’s related to other data, how it gets used, etc.—regardless of where it resides. The result: a more agile, resilient, and competitive organization.

How an AI-Powered Intelligent Data Catalog Works

An AI-powered intelligent data catalog gives your data assets meaning and relevance. The intelligent data catalog reference architecture depicted below provides a high-level visual representation of a data cataloging tool.

An AI-powered data catalog enables organizations to:

  1. Extract technical metadata from a wide variety of structured and unstructured sources across the enterprise, including databases, data warehouses, cloud data stores, applications, documents, and legacy systems such as mainframes.
  2. Extract the most granular metadata and track data dependencies across data sources for end-to-end data flow analysis using advanced metadata scanners. Some support multivendor ETL tools, so you can extract metadata and lineage from proprietary third-party systems, too.
  3. Integrate with a business glossary to create business context for cataloged data assets. The right tool easily and automatically imports and links business terms, definitions, and policies with data assets.
  4. Understand how data flows through and connects within the enterprise, capture complex relationships among data assets, and discover non-obvious relationships. A metadata knowledge graph continuously updates all metadata—structural, semantic, and usage—as data flows through an enterprise.

Data Catalog Use Cases

An AI-powered intelligent data catalog provides several use cases including, but not limited to, self-service analytics, data governance and cloud modernization.

Self-Service Analytics

As data volumes explode and the number of data assets grows, business analysts and other data consumers using self-serve analytics tools find it increasingly difficult to locate IT-certified data assets and find the right data for decisions. An enterprise data catalog automates data discovery and curation, helping data and business analysts easily find the most relevant data and maximizing use of shared knowledge.

Data Governance

Traditional data tracking can’t scale with the growth of enterprise data. An enterprise data catalog is essential for governing your enterprise data. Effective data governance programs require an intelligent, AI-powered enterprise data catalog that provides comprehensive data visibility along with a framework to support collaboration between business and IT.

Cloud Modernization

An enterprise data catalog is essential for businesses moving to the cloud. Successful migration and modernization projects begin with an intelligent data catalog solution. With an intelligent data catalog, you’ll accelerate the benefits of moving your data warehouse to the cloud, while avoiding risks, and ultimately deliver better business outcomes.

Data Catalog Customer Success Stories

From healthcare and insurance companies to engineering and construction firms, companies are using intelligent data cataloging tools as a foundation for transformation.

UNC Health

UNC Health comprises UNC Hospitals and its provider network, the clinical programs of the UNC School of Medicine, and 12 affiliate hospitals and hospital systems across North Carolina. To deliver a coordinated response to COVID-19, they needed to understand the impact of the pandemic and get clear, concise information to facilitate decision-making and improve patient outcomes.

UNC Health deployed Informatica Enterprise Data Catalog to automatically catalog enterprise data and allow data analysts, developers, and architects to view it in tables and columns, so they could easily understand data lineage and expedite impact analysis.

Assicurazioni Generali

Generali is one of the world’s largest and oldest insurance providers. Like many companies, it is undergoing digital transformation to become more customer-centric. It relies heavily on insured and policy data and wanted to create a data-driven culture across all its business units.

Generali established an enterprise data catalog to democratize and organize data to enable employees to easily discover and inventory data assets. Integrating Informatica Enterprise Data Catalog with Informatica Axon Data Governance allowed them to quickly find the data they need to govern, manage data effectively, and uncover analytics insights.

L.A. Care Health Plan

L.A. Care’s mission is to provide access to quality healthcare for Los Angeles County’s low-income communities and support the safety net required to achieve that purpose. The organization grew quickly after the passage of the Affordable Care Act and needed to protect, govern, and manage vast amounts of patient information, as well as leverage its data for analytics to improve the health of its population.

L.A. Care integrated Informatica Data Quality, Enterprise Data Catalog, and Axon Data Governance to improve its population health information efforts with governed, high-quality data that provides invaluable insight into the county’s most vulnerable residents.

Use an Intelligent Data Catalog to Transform Your Business

AI-powered intelligent data catalogs let you discover, inventory, and organize data assets quickly and accurately, so you can use data-driven, actionable insights to transform your business and compete successfully. Download the “Build the Data Foundation for Every Digital Transformation Priority” e-book to learn about the six key capabilities of an AI-powered data catalog and how it can help you enable the core data initiatives that drive digital transformation.

  1. The Intelligent Data Catalog: A Foundation for Analytical Excellence, Michael Lock, Aberdeen Group, February 2019