Data Catalog Explained: What Value Does It Bring To Your Organization?

Avi Greenwald
CTO & Co-Founder | Aggua
March 9, 2023

In the digital age, data is becoming more complex. Data teams are tasked with managing an ever-expanding array of assets. The problem is that most of that data is raw, unstructured, and gathered from various sources.

Data catalogs are critical tools for organizations to maintain control of their increasingly chaotic data landscape.

With Aggua, data teams can easily categorize, describe, and find data assets in one place. Aggua’s data catalog empowers organizations to better understand their assets by providing a new way to discover and interact with all their BigQuery and Snowflake data.

What Is A Data Catalog?

A data catalog organizes information assets, so your team can find what they need. It is a detailed inventory of an organization's data assets, including databases, applications, and files.

Data catalogs utilize metadata to create this inventory and help team members find the right data easily, saving them from wasting any time and effort.

A few examples of assets are:

● Structured data (tabular)

● Unstructured data (such as documents, social media content, email, mobile data, images, audio, and video)

● Reports and query results

● Data visualizations

● Dashboards

● Machine learning models

● Connections between databases

How Will A Data Catalog Help You?

Aggua’s data catalog helps your business handle its data assets. It is rich, descriptive, and contextual. Plus, its self-service capabilities let your teams find the information they need with ease.

It is built for BigQuery and Snowflake, so it provides the key components you need to make the most out of your data. This includes cost, performance, popularity, and usage.

The comprehensive data catalog enables data discovery, allows users to apply filters to data sets, and even proactively suggests additional items relevant to the search. With Aggua, your teams can search your entire organization’s data universe for anything—jobs, dashboards, events, tables, views, and more.

Furthermore, Aggua offers data ownership. This means you will always know who or which team owns a specific asset.

To relieve you of tedious tasks, data experts can even assist with the documentation. This is especially useful for new team members or anybody outside the team who might want specific information. For instance, you can easily direct a business user to Aggua if they need help with Dashboard rather than having your data team explain it to them.

Because Aggua’s data catalog is a collaborative platform, team members can easily communicate with one another about any discovery and engage in real-time conversations.

Why Do Companies Need A Data Catalog?

Here are a few reasons why:

To Boost Workplace Efficiency

You can't be a data-driven organization unless you have systems and processes to make it easier for teams to access crucial data. Unfortunately, according to IBM, businesses spend 70% of their time looking for this data and only 30% analyzing it.

With a data catalog, employees in different departments can easily find and access the data they need because it is organized in a way that makes sense. They won't waste time cleaning and organizing it once they have access. This will save hours or even days of work.

Employees who may need that data also won't need to repeat the transformation process—they'll be able to get right to work with the most up-to-date version of the data.

To Improve Data Governance

Data governance involves setting internal data policies and standards on how data is stored and processed, who can access it, and what happens to it when it's no longer needed. Mandates must comply with external standards set by industry associations, government agencies, and other stakeholders.

A data catalog tracks the history of a piece of information throughout its entire lifecycle, creating a transparent audit trail that clearly shows how it has changed or been used.

To Maintain a Standard Quality of Data

Businesses continue to struggle with data quality because many still rely on manual processes that take too long and are riddled with errors. A data catalog keeps all information up-to-date and integrated across all systems.

Data catalogs also identify any duplicates or inconsistencies. By consistently tracking data quality, a data catalog remains reliable for years to come.

To Comply with Data Regulations

With growing digitalization, data regulations will only become stricter. Data catalogs are excellent tools for data management that promote compliance with the GDPR, CCPA, and more.

They make it easier to tag your metadata, so you can keep track of sensitive information and closely control who has access to it.

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