Alation Named a Leader in the Inaugural GigaOm Radar for Data Catalogs Report

By Mitesh Shah

Published on June 30, 2021

Alation Named a Leader in the Inaugural GigaOm Radar for Data Catalogs Report

Alation has been named one of the Leaders in the GigaOm Radar for Data Catalogs Report. The inaugural research report marks a growing recognition of the importance of the data catalog in an enterprise’s data ecosystem.

“Alation pioneered the data catalog market and is a leader in this radar report because of its continued innovation,” said Andrew Brust, Analyst at GigaOm.

“Data catalogs have moved from ‘nice-to-have’ to ‘essential’ because they can address an organization’s need for centralization of metadata management while also ensuring compliance with data protection regulations and encouraging the adoption of a data culture,” Brust concludes.

The Data Culture Platform

Data culture springs from human collaboration and innovation. Alation is focused “on the data catalog as a platform where users can collaborate around data and create a data-driven culture in their organizations,” the report states.

Alation offers collaborative features that make the tribal wisdom of the few accessible to the many. A user-friendly interface, with a Google-like natural-language search, “appeals to users at all levels of data literacy” and empowers teamwork at scale:

“The focus on collaboration is highlighted especially in the aforementioned ratings system; searchable, integrated conversations; the (wiki-like) article capability, where users can write and attach descriptions of tables and columns; and a collaborative analytics feature which provides users with views on whether and how others have found their tables or previously written queries useful.”

Artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI & ML) are embedded in the platform to support user friendliness, as well. “The Alation platform includes ‘Allie,’ Alation’s AI, which helps determine what incomplete tags or column names mean (in a department-specific context) and smooths out inconsistent terminology,” the report details.

Intelligent SQL Editor

Compose, Alation’s intelligent SQL editor, offers a number of user-friendly features GigaOm highlights as useful:

“Compose Alation’s intelligent SQL query tool, which walks users through writing SQL queries, providing inline ML-based recommendations called SmartSuggestions.”

Data governance is embedded into the tool to guide compliance best practices, as well:

“Compose’s TrustCheck feature color-codes tables or columns within queries according to how other users have flagged or rated them in terms of accuracy and trustworthiness.”

Tribal knowledge about how folks query is embedded into Compose. This means users can see the most-used datasets, common joins, and compliance guidance as they write a SQL query. Such features lower the barrier to entry for novice query writers, and ease the burden of advanced query writing for experts.

Criteria: How Do They Score Vendors?

To formulate rankings, nine vendors were scored on two axes: Maturity versus Innovation and Feature Play versus Platform Play. Solutions are ranked across a series of concentric rings, with vendors closest to the center judged as offering the highest overall value. An arrow predicts each vendor’s change in position in the next 12 to 18 months.

Alation was recognized as an innovative platform, scoring top marks on criteria including social & collaboration features, sensitive data management, and data quality detection & remediation.

The Data Catalog Solution

Alation was recognized as a data catalog Leader by GigaOm, who cited search and collaboration tools as “quite capable.”

“Alation’s query tools and search are quite capable, and its powerful ML engines drive numerous useful features, such as a business glossary, SmartSuggestions, and a multitude of collaborative features including a rating system, integrated searchable conversations, a wiki-like article feature, and views on the popularity of a user’s queries or tables.”

Human behavior around data is powerful and useful when leveraged intelligently. Alation’s Behavioral Analysis Engine, which uses AI and ML, learns from how folks use data to enforce best data practices and guide smarter usage.

Big Things Ahead

The report’s release coincides with an exciting time for Alation. The company has recently raised $110M in Series D funding at a $1.2B valuation. And the data catalog market is only expected to grow.

GigaOm’s assessment is in good company. Forrester has recognized Alation as a market leader. Other top analyst firms, including IDC, Dresner Advisory Services, Gartner and Constellation, have as well.

  • The Data Culture Platform
  • Intelligent SQL Editor
  • Criteria: How Do They Score Vendors?
  • The Data Catalog Solution
  • Big Things Ahead
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