Need a Shopping Experience for Data Assets? An Intelligent Data Catalog is your Best Ally
I am a big fan of online shopping. Whether it is back to school or holiday shopping, I enjoy the shopping experience, flexibility and quick access to goods in the comfort of my home. I can quickly sift through thousands of items, get product details, read consumer recommendations, review alternate options and ultimately make that buying decision in seconds. And that’s the world we are living in. Recent study shows that 96% of Americans shop online, and the majority of those shoppers prefer shopping online to save time and avoid crowds.
Let’s switch gear and look at organizations today. What percent of people use data or analytics to make decisions? Almost everyone! Now the question is how do they find the data that they need? Do they get a similar experience as online shopping? Studies shows that at an average they spend 80% of the time looking for data. Imagine 96% of Americans spending 80% of their time looking for data! That’s a big number, they have to completely change their normal shopping behavior when it comes to data – they have to “ask around for the right data”. Guess who do they ask? The person sitting right next to them in the office or email immediate team members or just use gut feel. How frustrating it can be!
Let’s assume, these 96% of Americans do have access to an online shopping experience for data and data assets in their organization. How will that experience be? Say, you are interested in getting a report listing top 30 customers. How about you simply search for keyword “top customers”. You may get tens of results that includes tables, reports, domain entities. You are not sure which one to pick. You go to the left navigation and filter to get only “reports”. You may get 5 results. You are still not sure which one to pick. You can review the description and peer recommendations. And you find the top 30 customers report that you wanted in seconds. Can shopping for data assets be that simple?
The consumer like experience for data asset shopping is no longer just esoteric, nebulous concept of the day, they are fundamental realities. Just the way online retail shopping is enabled by a retail product catalog, a data asset shopping experience has to be enabled by a data catalog. And if the data catalog is intelligent, it will do most of the work for you to catalog your existing and new inventory of data assets automatically. It will intelligently identify and organize data domains such as customers, products, orders, patients and many more.
In a retail online world, a product catalog will have data about the products and in the data world, the data catalog will have the data about the data assets – description, technical and business context, data lineage etc. – which is basically metadata about the data or data asset. The data catalog should be able to pull this metadata from all types of sources and targets – on-premises, Cloud, Hadoop, ETL transformations- easily with little human interaction. And it should enable you to curate and enhance the metadata and collaborate with others to capture tribal knowledge. A business user friendly data catalog will also have similar experience as online shopping – keyword search, browsing, filtering and visualization that any data consumer can use and get answers in seconds.