Alation Named a Leader in the IDC MarketScape for Data Catalogs (Again!)

By Mitesh Shah

Published on August 16, 2022

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This week, IDC released its second IDC MarketScape for Data Catalogs report, and we’re excited to share that Alation was recognized as a leader for the second consecutive time. This report underscores the growing need at enterprises for a catalog to drive key use cases, including self-service BI, data governance, and cloud data migration. To arrive at a score, the writers reviewed product capabilities and strategy, combined with interviews with confirmed vendor customers.

You can download a copy of the report here.

We look forward to sitting down with Stewart Bond, the lead analyst on the report, on September 8, 2022 to discuss the report and broader trends he is seeing in the data intelligence market. In the meantime, here’s a bit more about what this assessment means to customers and prospects alike.

IDC MarketScape Worldwide Data Catalog Software Vendor Assessment

The Highest Product Capabilities Score

IDC has validated that Alation capabilities are best-in-class by granting Alation the top score in the product capabilities category. But how did they arrive at that score? The report evaluates vendors’ overall capabilities by examining:

  • Functionality

  • Architecture

  • Cloud

  • Range of services

  • Customer satisfaction

Let’s take a closer look at how Alation delivers on each of these five criteria.

Functionality and Range of Services

All catalog vendors provide a “range” of capabilities. But do they empower many user types to quickly find trusted data for a business decision or data model? Many data catalogs suffer from a lack of adoption because they are too technical. An intuitive interface welcomes more user groups, encourages wider adoption, and ultimately drives more value.

For this reason, this IDC assessment analyzed product usability across vendors. It also considered how well different products support different user groups.

Alation has made deep investments to ensure a broad range of enterprise users are able to leverage the catalog for their unique needs. These include data analysts, stewards, business users, and data engineers. As a single data catalog for everyone, Alation avoids the pitfalls associated with role- and use-case-specific catalogs. Such pitfalls include hampered collaboration and siloes, which derail efforts to build a data-driven culture.

Architecture: Openness Drives Innovation

Alation has been leading the evolution of the catalog to a platform for data intelligence. And as a platform for data intelligence, the breadth of our connectivity to other parts of the data management ecosystem is key.

“Alation supports over 80 out-of-the-box connectors and an open API framework to automate metadata, lineage, sampling, and query ingestion,” writes Bond. These connectors enable Alation to consume and analyze metadata from a range of data sources (cloud, BI, relational, and more) – all with the click of a button. And with our Open Connector Framework, customers and partners can easily build connectors to even more data sources.

When it comes to data quality, an open framework that supports collaboration is core to our strategy. “Alation is playing a leadership role in the recently announced open data quality initiative that includes deep integrations with existing pure-play data quality and observability technology vendors in the market,” Bond points out.

Indeed, the recent launch of our Open Data Quality Framework, enables customers to integrate Alation with the data quality or observability vendor of their choice. No longer is data quality the realm of IT or data engineers alone, as this important information is surfaced to all downstream data consumers (analysts, data scientists, business users) – the folks that need it most!


Alation launched Alation Cloud Service (ACS) in April, 2021. And in the year and a half since then, adoption has skyrocketed, with more than 100 customers embracing ACS as a path to digital transformation.

With ACS, catalog upgrades and patches are issued CI/CD-style – ensuring customers reap the benefits of new features just as quickly as they’re made available. And there’s no administrative overhead. Upgrades, ongoing administration, disaster recovery. It’s all handled by Alation – letting customers focus entirely on getting business value from the data catalog. Given all of this, it’s easy to see why our cloud offering has been so well-received.

Customer Satisfaction

In this report, IDC evaluated vendors by interviewing actual customers. These reference customers scored the product on implementation, ease of use, and how key features support key capabilities, like crowdsourcing, automation, and collaboration.

Alation’s data catalog learns from human behavior to streamline and support these capabilities.Bond writes:Alation has coined the term behavioral intelligence to define what it harvests from database query logs, applying analytics to surface intelligence about who and what is accessing data, when and how often, and frequency heuristics about columns, filters, and joins used. This intelligence provides opportunities to understand how data is being used in the enterprise, provides guided navigation in query building and active governance, and can be used for operational decisions such as where to focus data stewardship efforts and apply policies and rules for data protection and where and when to archive data.

And while this data intelligence improves the product from within and without, a robust customer success mechanism is also essential for troubleshooting problems and guiding best practices.

At Alation, we’ve invested heavily in our customer success organization over the past two years, and have worked hard to raise our CSAT score while shrinking time to resolution. One of our core beliefs is that “we measure ourselves through customer impact,” and our improvements in these areas reflect our commitment to this mission.

Customers Love Us Too!

Third party validation from analyst firms like IDC is incredibly gratifying. But with over 400+ enterprise customers, Alation has a positive impact on tens of thousands of users every day. We hear from them regularly. They rave about how they’ve achieved greater success with data governance using Alation. How they’ve made their analysts more productive by helping them find trusted data, faster. And how Alation has helped them accelerate their cloud data migration efforts.

As mentioned previously, one of our core values is “measure ourselves through customer impact.” Analyst validation, such as this, demonstrates that that impact is recognized by the wider market.

The Hits Keep Coming (In a Good Way!)

Alation’s placement in this report, and high score in the capabilities category, demonstrate that our product is the best choice for organizations striving to transform data into a competitive advantage.

Indeed, this leadership placement is just the latest in a string of recent accolades. Partners, analysts, and others have recognized Alation for our product and company leadership. Here are just a few examples:

Curious to learn more about Alation’s unique value as a product? Learn more by visiting our Why Alation page.

Read the report: IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Data Catalog Software 2022 Vendor Assessment

  • The Highest Product Capabilities Score
  • Customers Love Us Too!
  • The Hits Keep Coming (In a Good Way!)
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