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A data catalog is a database that contains information about an enterprise’s data. The catalog can have details about different types of data sources, such as databases and files, or it can include details about specific sets of data within those sources. Data stewards use a data catalog to help them manage their organizations’ data assets more effectively. With so many ways for companies today to store their data—in the cloud or on-premises—and with so many people working with that information every day, it’s difficult for anyone involved in IT to keep track of all the different pieces of information available at any given moment.

What Data Stewards are Expected to do

Data Stewards are data management experts who work with business users, IT and subject matter experts to help them find and use the right data. When it’s easier for people to find and use the right data, they have more time to focus on their jobs. Thus, data stewards are essential to enterprise governance, because they help business users and IT alike understand and use enterprise data, in turn improving application usability, the time available for strategic tasks and the quality of data-driven decisions. Part of managing data is also measuring the performance and output of their organization’s data and keeping it clean, ensuring things can go smoothly. Data stewards are often also the guardians of data in the enterprise, charged with keeping organizational data safe and securely available. In short, data stewards work to enable the move many enterprises are making toward a data-driven culture by creating, curating, managing and sharing high quality data for a range of business purposes.

How a Data Catalog Helps Data Stewards

With today’s fragmented, distributed IT architectures, it’s difficult for data stewards to keep track of their enterprise’s data assets. A data catalog can bring all of an enterprise’s data assets together in one place and give data stewards a single point of reference to manage them. An augmented automated catalog can help with some or all of that work, making it much easier for data stewards to do their jobs effectively. It can be used to track and manage the lifecycle of data assets, as well as maintain their metadata and relationships with other pieces of information.

As a central repository for all of an organization’s data assets, a data catalog can be used to create and manage metadata about the data, as well as track its provenance. The goal of a data catalog is to make it easier for people within an enterprise to find and use their data. It includes metadata about each asset, such as its location, owner and description. It also includes any relationships between different pieces of data and other people or systems who have access to them.

Data Catalog should mean Data Context.

Data stewards are IT professionals who work with data, but they don’t necessarily have the time or skills to understand every facet of their enterprise’s IT systems. Often, they’re blindsided by new initiatives that require them to make sense of new sources of data and figure out how best to move it into the right places.

This is especially true in light of today’s fragmented, distributed IT architectures. To deal with this situation, a number of organizations have begun turning to data catalogs as a way for data stewards to keep track of their enterprise’s complex and constantly changing set of assets—or “pieces”—of information including business meaning.

A data catalog is a set of tools that helps you to define, organize and manage your data. It’s an essential tool for any IT professional who needs to work with large amounts of data; without it, you’ll find yourself spending more time trying to figure out what all those files and folders are doing than actually using them. Ideally, data catalogs are enriched with vital context about your data and how best to use it, simplifying the work of data stewards.

A Data Catalog can bring all of an enterprise’s data assets together in one place and give Data Stewards a single point of reference for every task.

Data stewards have a lot of responsibilities. They need to find the data they need, keep track of where it came from and how it’s being used, and find the tools they need to use it. A data catalog can help with all these tasks.

One way is by providing an organizing system that brings all your enterprise’s data assets together in one place. This makes it easier for data stewards to find what they need when they need it—and quickly get any other relevant information that might come up in their research or analysis process. It also helps them figure out what kinds of resources they’ll need in order to use certain datasets (such as software licenses). Finally, using a catalog helps you collect everything related to your enterprise’s datasets so you always know where things are if multiple people ask for them at once (which happens often). In this way, a data catalog can help you make sure that your enterprise has the information it needs to run smoothly.

A data catalog can also help you make sure that any data your enterprise uses is accurate and reliable. This means it’s important to have a system in place for vetting new datasets, as well as keeping track of the ones you already have. That way, if someone comes along with a dataset that doesn’t meet your standards or requirements (such as being too old), you’ll know not to use it—or at least make sure that the problem is remediated. By providing an easy way to find and interact with any given piece of information within the enterprise, a good data catalog helps you avoid having duplicate copies floating around or being stored in different formats (which makes it harder to use), while also making sure that your stakeholders are aware that they exist so they can access them as necessary.

A well-built catalog will allow you to easily share resources with other members of your organization who need access specifically because they’re part of your team — this means you’ll be able to give people permissions instead of wondering where they got those files from! You can also use the same toolkit if something goes wrong; this could mean finding out why something isn’t working correctly or fixing something when there’s been an error made recently.

Why an Augmented Data Catalog?

An augmented data catalog, meaning a catalog enriched with a suite of AI-powered automation and common use case capabilities, is best to support data stewardship. For example, the Alex Solutions Augmented Data Catalog provides:

  • Automated data discovery and profiling according to unique business rules and knowledge ontology

  • Business Glossary

  • Business Rules and Policy Compliance information (such as GDPR)

  • Recommended actions for users who interact with enterprise data assets

  • An ability to identify what kinds of information are available within your organization’s data stores (and where)

  • Automated Data Lineage for relationship, impact and change analyses

  • Automated data quality and sensitivity profiling and monitoring

Supporting Every Request

As a data steward, your job involves putting together the right tools and processes to help others find the data they need. Sometimes analysts want to obtain specific business insights by searching through your enterprise’s various systems for relevant information. Other times they want to discover new ones by mining through some of your organization’s structured or unstructured data stores. Either way, you’ll need to use all available resources—including metadata from both structured and unstructured sources—to help them get what they need.

In this role, you’ll need to make sure that your team has the tools and processes it needs to make sense of data. You’ll also need to understand how various products and services fit together so that you can help analysts get what they want when they need it. A unified data catalog for the entire enterprise rich with features like data lineage visualization can help you do all of this faster and easier.

Getting a Headstart

Data catalogs are a powerful tool for data stewards. They allow them to keep track of their enterprise’s data assets in one place and make it much easier for them to do their job effectively. With today’s fragmented, distributed IT architectures, this is especially important: without a single point of reference where all your organization’s data lives, it would be much more difficult – if not impossible – to manage it effectively as an organization. To get a data governance headstart for your company, reach out to Alex Solutions today for a free, personalized demonstration of how Alex can improve your data stewardship: 

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