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Understanding the Role of Augmented Data Catalogs in Data Governance

  • Edwin Walker 

Every time we think we have grasped a new technology and its use. Sometimes that shift is an increase in the technology itself that seemingly intensifies the original version. Sometimes something happens that causes a significant transformation in the technology’s nature. As the technology’s significance is increasingly understood, the name is altered to better reflect its primary value. 

Before Big Data, enterprises recognized the need to make data more accessible and faster to define, categorize, and describe centrally. At that time, however, the technology required to bring automation to data cataloging didn’t exist, so data catalogs required a lot of manual labor to maintain. Then, the data in the catalogs were static, reflecting a single point in time in the past. A data catalog is a library of all your data sets. A place where all your data is neatly indexed, organized, and kept ready for use.

Why do you need an augmented data catalog?

  • The most outstanding value of an augmented data catalog is that it improves the productivity of data teams and enables collaboration. Because in most organizations, data and technology exist in silos, data teams are often working blind, without visibility into the data sets that exist. They spend too much time identifying and understanding data, constantly recreating data sets that already exist.
  • Create an archive for all your data, including the structure, quality, definitions and stats on usage of the data
  • Allow users to access the metadata.
  • View and understand the lineage of data, including transformations applied, the source and who has been using it.
  • Ensure data accuracy and consistency by updating itself automatically while allowing people to edit and still be in the system
  • Simplify compliance and data governance by providing a graphical representation of the lineage of the data assets tracing it across its lifecycle.

Importance of augmented data catalog in data governance

  1. Efficiency: Augmented data catalogs are the basis for efficient processes in the company. As an “efficiency catalyst”, data catalogs also reduce the workload of data managers and create free capacity for other tasks. According to the Forrester-Forbes report, data scientists spend 75 percent of their time finding and understanding data.
  2. Performance: an augmented data catalog can be used to accelerate processes across the company, reduce costs, and identify new business areas. The use of structured data enables a significant increase in performance in all areas of the company.
  3. Cost reduction: Thanks to the significant increase in efficiency and the elimination of data redundancies, it is possible to noticeably reduce costs in the company. In addition to measurable costs, a data catalog also has an impact on other areas of the company. In addition, communication between employees is optimized, errors are reduced and data is made more readily available.
  4. Data security: Against the backdrop of increasingly stringent data protection standards and security requirements, data catalogs enable adherence to internal company compliance and legal regulations. In particular, the data catalog also helps eliminate shadow IT and prevents unnecessary data copying.
  5. Data access & agility: Through data catalogs, companies make their data accessible across the enterprise, opening up whole new possibilities for teams. Thanks to the elimination of data silos, it is possible to develop new use cases and thus also open up new sales markets. At the same time, agile projects are being promoted in terms of data initiatives. Around 60 percent of agility projects in the company currently fail due to a lack of data culture.
  6. Decision making: Data-driven decision making is becoming more and more important in companies. Data enables transparent, traceable and objective decisions based on trustworthy data.
  7. Data quality: Those who set up an augmented data catalog often automatically concern themselves with the quality of the existing data and identify missing or incorrect data. By establishing an augmented data catalog, it is possible to optimize data quality in general and identify data-associated problems. Higher data quality also increases employee confidence in the data: Augmented data catalog becomes the “central point of truth” and enables self-service analyses.
  8. Balance: With an augmented data catalog, responsibilities are defined and managed. In this way, it is possible to ensure a sustainable balance between agility and governance and to adapt data management in the company to regulatory guidelines and market requirements.


As we get closer to a data-driven world, finding and inventorying data assets that reside in various places within and outside of any particular organization grows more critical by the day. It’s the necessary first step in effective analytics. It’s also among the biggest challenges for data management teams today. And it’s one of the fundamental reasons why the demand for augmented data catalogs continues to grow.

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