The Alation Community: Helping Customers Drive Data Culture

By Diane Yuen

Published on April 11, 2024

The Alation Community Helping Customers Drive Data Culture

I am honored to be named Community Manager of the Year at Higher Logic’s Super Forum 2024 Awards! The annual Super Forum Awards spotlight the accomplishments of Higher Logic customers in online communities, innovation, marketing, and more. The Community Manager of the Year award recognizes “the community managers that go the extra mile to elevate their communities,” especially as they are often “the unsung heroes behind thriving online communities.” Receiving this award validates the work, effort, and dedication that I put in each day with the Alation Community. It is rewarding to help our customers find answers and learn from one another, and this recognition strengthens those feelings. I always try to learn in my professional journey, and this award makes me feel like I’m doing something right.

About the Alation Community

Perhaps one of the “best-kept secrets” of Alation customers is the wealth of information and access to experts in the Alation Customer Community. Research has shown that communities positively impact and drive continuous value for businesses1, which is no different at Alation. Since 2019, the Alation Community has provided thousands of users a trusted space to connect, learn how to successfully leverage the Alation Data Intelligence Platform, and collaborate through collective problem-solving and knowledge-sharing. Whether members have technical product questions or want to hear how others have tackled specific data initiatives using Alation, the Community continues to be the destination for crowdsourcing creative solutions and use cases.

Starting from humble beginnings

The Alation Community launched in October 2019 after piloting a soft launch a few months prior with fewer than 100 users. These early adopters provided valuable feedback that helped to shape the Community’s initial offerings and experience. Collaborating to build that early trust and value was instrumental in creating the foundation for the Alation Community today, where thousands of members log in and utilize the Community monthly.

Over the years, the Alation Community team has implemented various programs and subcommunities aimed at driving further value for members, including the popular near-weekly Alation Brief events, the Ask Alation Experts community dedicated to technical product questions and support, and the Community Hub for peer-to-peer knowledge sharing. Primarily due to the contributions of subject matter experts among Alation’s customers as well as Alation’s internal teams, the Community has become a thriving resource that continues to grow year after year.

Inspiring ways to drive adoption

A popular topic in the Alation Community revolves around adopting and rolling out the Alation data catalog within organizations. As a majority of community members are the program or product owners who are responsible for Alation within their companies, many discussion threads and a significant amount of content focus on adoption best practices, use cases, and advice. Alation’s internal teams have also created and curated a comprehensive list of adoption resources that are accessible through the Alation Community, including templates, slide decks, spreadsheets, and various other helpful tools. These resources continue to be among the most downloaded files in the Alation Community, providing a structured and guided approach for community members to enhance their Alation journey.

Alation-provided resources are not the only sources of adoption knowledge available in the Community. Members’ interest in adoption as a topic also surfaces through various discussion threads in the Community forums. Discussion threads empower community members to brainstorm and draw inspiration to drive adoption, including topics like internal newsletters, curation guides, and tactics for re-engaging inactive catalog users.

The consistently high customer attendance in adoption-related Alation Brief events shows community members are always hungry to learn. Whether the presentation is from an internal Alation team member or a fellow customer sharing their experiences, members consistently carve out time in their weekly calendars to attend these live sessions and learn from one another.

Helping customers build a data culture

Long before the Alation Data Culture Maturity Model launched last year, data culture was and continues to be a discussion topic within the Alation Community. Because data culture maturity is often associated with adoption, community members were already aware of the importance of cultivating a data culture, brainstorming ideas like an internal data governance committee, or developing internal training and education materials. With the formal introduction of the Alation Data Culture Maturity Assessment, members can now apply a structured approach and evaluation to what they have long discussed in the Alation Community.

Facilitating a broad range of discussions and questions

The Alation Community has also seen a rise in the popularity of both technical product questions and data governance discussions. Over the years, the composition of community members has expanded to include more individuals working in technical roles, including technical data stewards, data architects, and engineers. Most notably, more community members have been working in dedicated data governance roles, increasing 109% from 2021 to 2023.

As a result, technical posts have flourished, including technical how-to’s and data governance use cases within the product. Posts can range anywhere from troubleshooting specific API calls to asking for advice on setting up workflows and policies. With the numerous unique solutions, techniques, best practices, and experiences shared daily by the members, the Community has truly evolved into a wealth of knowledge and learning for Alation customers.

What’s next for the Alation Community

With the launch of the Alation Help Center in 2023, which provides a unified search across various Alation resources, customer access to the extensive knowledge in the Community has never been easier. The Alation Community will continue to be a fountain of sharing and learning for its members, even as it evolves into the next stage with the development of new community programs focused on engagement and peer-to-peer connection. Whether members are just starting their Alation journey, or whether they are veterans running a multi-year program, they will find that the possibilities are endless with the Alation Community.

We encourage Alation customers to check out the Community today!

1. Sources: The 2023 Community Industry Trends Report and the State of Community Management 2023 Report.

  • About the Alation Community
  • Starting from humble beginnings
  • Inspiring ways to drive adoption
  • Helping customers build a data culture
  • Facilitating a broad range of discussions and questions
  • What’s next for the Alation Community
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