Each year, Zeenea organizes exclusive events that bring together our clients and partners from various organizations fostering an environment for collaborative discussions and the sharing of experiences and best practices. The third edition of the Zeenea Exchange France was held in the heart of Paris’ 8th arrondissement with our French-speaking customers and partners, whereas the first edition of the Zeenea Exchange International was an online event gathering clients from all around the world.
In this article, we will take a look back and give key insights into what was discussed during these client round tables – both taking place in June 2023 – with the following topic: “What are your current & future uses and objectives for your data catalog initiatives?”.
What motivated our clients for implementing a data catalog solution?
Exploding volumes of information
Most of our clients faced the challenge of having to collect and inventory large amounts of information from different sources. Indeed, a significant number of our participants embarked on their data-driven journey by adopting a Data Lake or other platform to store their information. However, they soon realized that it became difficult to manage this large ocean of data with questions such as “What data do I have? Where do they come from? Who is responsible for this data? Do I have the right to see this data? What does this data mean?” began to arise.
Consequently, finding a solution that could automate the centralization of enterprise information and provide accurate insights about their data became a crucial objective, leading to the search for a data catalog solution.
Limited data access
Another common data challenge that arose was that of data access. Prior to centralizing their data assets into a common repository, many companies faced the issue of disparate information systems, dedicated to different business lines or departments within the organization. Therefore, data were kept in silos, making it difficult, even impossible, for efficient reporting or communication around their information. The need for making data available to all was another key reason why our clients searched for a solution that could democratize data access to those who need to access it.
Unclear roles & responsibilities
Another major reason for searching for a data catalog was to give clear roles and responsibilities to their different data consumers and producers. The purpose of a data catalog is to centralize and maintain up-to-date contact information for each data asset, providing clear visibility on the appropriate person or entity to approach when questions arise regarding a specific set of data.
What are the current uses & challenges regarding their data catalog initiatives?
A lack of a common language
Creating a shared language for data definitions and business concepts is a significant challenge faced by many of our clients. This issue is particularly prevalent when different business lines or departments lack alignment in defining specific concepts or KPIs. For example, some KPIs may lack clear definitions or multiple versions of the same KPI may exist with different definitions. Given some of our clients’ complex data landscapes, achieving alignment among stakeholders regarding the meaning and definitions of concepts poses significant challenges and remains a crucial endeavor.
More autonomy to the business users
The implementation of a data catalog has brought a significant increase in autonomy for business users across the majority of our clients. By utilizing Zeenea, which offers intuitive search and data discovery capabilities across the organization’s data landscape, non-technical users now have a user-friendly and efficient means to locate and utilize data for their reports and use cases. One client in the banking industry expressed how the data catalog accelerated the search, discovery, and acquisition of data. Overall it improved data understanding, facilitated access to existing data, and enhanced the overall quality analysis process, thereby instilling greater trust in the data for users.
Catalog adoption remains difficult
Another significant challenge faced by some of our clients is the difficulty in promoting data catalog adoption and fostering a data-driven culture. This resistance can be attributed to many users being unfamiliar with the benefits that the data catalog can provide. Establishing a data-driven culture requires dedicated efforts to explain the advantages of using a data catalog. This can be accomplished by promoting it to different departments through effective communication channels, organizing training sessions, and highlighting small successes that demonstrate the value of the tool throughout the organization.
The benefits of automation
The data catalog offers a valuable feature of automating time-consuming tasks related to data collection, which proves to be a significant strength for many of our clients. Indeed, Zeenea’s APIs enable the retrieval of external metadata from different sources, facilitating the inventorying of glossary terms, ownership roles information, technical and business quality indicators from data quality tools, and more. Furthermore, it was expressed that the data catalog aids in expediting IT transformation programs and the integration of new systems, enabling better planning for new integrations.
The next steps in their data cataloging journey
Towards a Data Mesh approach
Some of our customers, particularly those who attended the International Edition, have shown interest in adopting a Data Mesh approach. According to a conducted poll during the event, 66% of the respondents are either considering or currently deploying a Data Mesh approach within their organizations. A particular client shared they have data warehouses and Data Lakes, but the lack of transparency regarding data ownership and usage within different domains prompted the need for more autonomy and a shift from a centralized Data Lake to a domain-specific architecture.
Zeenea as a central repository
Many of our clients, regardless of their industry or size, leverage the data catalog as a centralized repository for their enterprise data. This approach helps them consolidate information from multiple branches or subsidiaries into a single platform, avoiding duplicates and ensuring data accuracy. Indeed, the data catalog’s objective is to enable our clients to find data across departments, facilitating the use of shared solutions and enhancing data discovery and understanding processes.
Using the data catalog for compliance initiatives
Compliance initiatives are indeed gaining importance for organizations, particularly in industries such as banking and insurance. In a poll conducted during the International Edition, we found that 50% of the respondents currently use the data catalog for compliance purposes, while the other 50% may consider using it in the future.
A client who expressed that compliance is a priority shared that they are considering building an engine to query and retrieve information about the data they have on an individual if requested. Others have future plans to leverage the data catalog for compliance and data protection use cases. They aim to classify data and establish a clear understanding of its lineage, enabling them to track where data originates, how it flows, and where it is utilized.
If any of this feedback and testimonials echo your day-to-day experience within your company, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’d be delighted to welcome you to the Zeenea user community and invite you to our next Zeenea Exchange events.