Data Catalog Tools Should Catalog More Than Just Data

Avatar photo Faisal Zafar June 21st, 2021

Catalog reports, AI models and more with Zaloni Arena

Companies are constantly collecting and creating enormous amounts of data that bring numerous issues to the surface: Where is the data going to be stored? How much storage space is needed? How much will it cost to store? Multiple data sources often house all of the collected data sets, making companies far more susceptible to data silos and data sprawl. That’s why having an extended data catalog tool is so important.

Now let’s create a scenario to put the issue of data silos and sprawl into perspective. Let’s say, as a data analyst, you are assigned a project centered around Customer 360 to improve current and future marketing initiatives. One of the significant challenges of this project would be gathering cataloged assets into one place and ultimately connecting and narrowing down those assets to create a record of each customer. Some of these assets could even be non-data assets for example code snippets, AI models, BI Reports, project plans or documents, etc.  But the real question here is, how should one go about retrieving stored data and cataloging new assets for a project? Without proper algorithms or search systems in place, collecting and cataloging assets becomes a monstrous task that is very time-consuming. So is there a better way? At Zaloni, we would tell you yes.

With Zaloni’s DataOps platform, Arena, users can experience the luxury of an extended digital asset catalog. Users can catalog not only data, but also code repositories, AI models, reports, and even more data-related assets within the platform. One can search through these cataloged data-related assets to reuse for newly assigned projects. Reusing data, code, reports and other assets can be an invaluable time-saver and a boost to data value and efficiency. Once a user collects all of the assets they want to reuse for the project, new assets can easily be created or registered as a new item within the platform. One can also add metadata tags to each asset to enhance that registered assets’ searchability for future uses. Platform admin can define which fields are optional or mandatory based on asset type, whether that be a report, invoice, project plans, or document. Users can always input additional metadata later if necessary. Ultimately, the more information included within a cataloged asset in the platform, the better its searchability rate will be.

Arena’s data cataloging tool, in a way, serves as a global search engine across all company data and data-related assets. Even if a particular asset is stored in hundreds of places, all project-related elements will be listed with a quick search in the platform. For instance, users can search for assets or cataloged datasets in a given repository by name, type, owner, specific domain, the solution the asset provided, and much more. Searching at this level of metadata detail is a huge feat in the data management space, as it saves time and provides the option of reusing assets for multiple use cases.

Extended data catalog

Extended data catalog

Extended data catalog

With Arena serving as the connecting layer across all data sources, the improved searchability of all data and related assets with the platform’s extended data cataloging capabilities may raise some potential questions in the minds of our data-centric readers. At Zaloni, we understand that the increased accessibility to assets increases the demand for enterprise-wide governance. As a security measure, Arena platform administrators can give specific users access to certain assets. In turn, users can request asset owners for access. Access requests provide the utmost security for the entire database, in addition to reducing any risk for lawsuit or compliance issues. 

Domain Model and its extensibility

Arena comes with an out-of-the-box domain model to catalog assets as well as provides an extensibility framework to extend the information model for custom assets. 

Extended data catalog

Customers can either use a built-in domain model or extend them using, user-defined assets framework. A new asset type can be defined by first defining asset attributes, then defining the structure of those attributes including any interdependencies. Then metadata extraction plugins can be implemented to map the assets from a source system. Arena also allows registration of assets using Excel export/import. 

Are you ready to experience the benefits of an extended data catalog in your company? The first step is talking to Zaloni’s data experts for a customized demo of our Arena DataOps platform. Learn the ins and outs of the best data management practices with our DataOps methodology and witness faster time to insights, enterprise-wide collaboration, and improved data quality. 

about the author

Faisal Zafar is Zaloni’s Global Director of Professional Services with over 20 years of experience across professional services and information technology project management. Before Zaloni, he previously held leadership positions at Farah Experiences, Attivio, and Edgematics.