We are excited to have just announced Alation 2020.4. Our latest release, and final quarterly product release of the year, improves Alation’s data & analytics and data governance capabilities. To see everything that is new in 2020.4, check out our What’s New page. In this blog, we want to dive into the relationship between data & analytics and data governance and why the two competencies are closely linked.

By and large, data analysts understand the importance of well-governed data. Although the connection can get lost in the day-to-day rush to finish a project, they know that they need trusted, reliable data to create value with their dashboards, reports, and models.

But does data & analytics improve data governance? In short, the answer is “yes.” Analytics shines a light on data governance efforts, showing where the cracks are, and when analysts act as the stewards of the data, data governance improves. As industry expert, Bob Seiner, writes, “To activate data governance, everybody needs to be a data steward.”

Data & analytics and data governance are two sides of the same coin — and that coin is Data Intelligence. Some people believe that Data Intelligence improves data & analytics and some believe that Data Intelligence improves data governance. In reality, Data Intelligence is a category of software that ensures analysts have reliable and trustworthy data — improving both data & analytics and data governance.

Better Data Governance Means Better Analytics

When data analysts and data scientists use data to create dashboards, reports, and models, they need trustworthy and reliable data. Bad data generates bad insights, or to put it another way, garbage-in, garbage-out.

Without trustworthy, reliable data, dashboards and reports can contain inaccuracies or draw incorrect conclusions. With static dashboards and reports, the saving grace is that people are involved in the process. Hopefully, someone catches the mistake before it causes too much harm. AI, on the other hand, doesn’t have the human component. If a model is fed inaccurate data, low-quality data, or data that doesn’t adhere to a policy, there is no person to catch the mistake. Because of the sheer scale that AI affords, mistakes in the data will get propagated over and over again. In an age when AI is being relied upon to help solve some of the world’s most complex problems, like the race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, mistakes can be costly.

Alation ensures that the right data is being used for data & analytics and data science. Alation captures knowledge on the data, makes it readily available, and surfaces recommendations to guide data use. Alation also makes collaboration seamless, so people with questions can find people with answers. To better understand how Alation improves the work of data consumers, check out this blog with Andrea Levy, Alation’s head of data science.

Better Analytics Means Better Data Governance

With the growing volumes of data, a wider range of data consumers, and the increasing complexity of data environments, data governance teams are stretched. Data & analytics can help focus their efforts where it will have the most positive impact.

By better understanding data usage, data governance teams can focus their efforts on the data that needs their attention most. Alation shows which data is being used most, provides metrics on how well that data is being curated, and helps them assign ownership of that data to the people who are experts at using it. This brings us to our second point: just like data & analytics is a team sport, so is data governance.

When Seiner, author of the Non-Invasive Approach to Data Governance, writes that “everyone needs to be a data steward,” he doesn’t mince words. What he means is that the people who actually work with the data need to be responsible for it. They must be responsible for how they use, define, and produce data. Alation makes this possible by enabling Active Data Governance.

Alation empowers data consumers to play a meaningful role in data governance. Alation surfaces recommendations and guidelines as they are using the data to ensure that they are using the right data and conducting accurate, compliant analytics. Alation also makes it easy for them to share their knowledge with the rest of the organization, collaborate with others, and understand the impact that their efforts have.

A Platform for Data Intelligence

With Alation 2020.4, Alation continues to strengthen data & analytics and data governance, leveraging intelligence to ensure that data consumers have trustworthy, reliable data. Alation interjects intelligence at every point of the analytics lifecycle — and that’s why we believe that Alation is the platform for Data Intelligence.