Forrester Does the Math on the ROI of the Alation Data Catalog

By Stephanie McReynolds

Published on February 13, 2020

Whether we’re speaking to data analysts or CDOs, data people almost instantly understand the value of the Alation Data Catalog. Faces light up when we describe how Alation helps enterprises find, understand, trust, use and reuse data. The response is usually some form of, “exactly, that’s the problem my company needs to solve!” At some level, every enterprise is struggling to connect data to decision-making.

In The Forrester Wave: Machine Learning Data Catalogs, 36% to 38% of global data and analytics decision makers reported that their structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data each totaled 1,000 TB or more in 2017, up from only 10% to 14% in 2016. In an age where nearly every part of the enterprise touches data, creates data or can be improved with data, Alation is changing the way people work. That’s why we believe Alation is the future of work and our claim is being validated by our users. Hundreds to thousands of employees at more than 130 enterprises are using Alation to do everything from create a data culture to drive a customer-first strategy.

Valuing the Data Catalog

There is plenty of market validation for the value of data catalogs. Gartner analysts Ehtisham Zaidi and Guido de Simoni recently wrote that data catalogs are a “must-have for data analytics leaders.” And, leading analysts at 451 Research, Constellation, Dresner Advisory Services, Forrester, and GigaOm have all noted the growing importance of data catalogs and recognized Alation as a leader in the data cataloging category. But what is the value of the Alation Data Catalog in dollars and cents (or euros or yen)? What do improvements in productivity, governance, and collaboration mean to the bottom line?

To answer that question, Alation worked with Forrester Consulting and seven of our production customers to conduct a Total Economic Impact™ (TEI) study. The research examined the potential ROI enterprises realize by deploying Alation. Forrester created a framework for evaluating the financial impact of the Alation Data Catalog on their organizations. They looked at the benefits, costs and risks associated with a data catalog investment. While correlating ROI and data culture for increased collaboration can be difficult, Forrester was able to put numbers to many of the benefits enterprises see with Alation. Their research is documented in an extensive report published today. It reveals both quantitative and qualitative benefits from data catalog adoption including a 364% return on investment (ROI), $2.7 million in time saved due to shortened data discovery, $584,182 saving from business user productivity improvement, and $286,085 savings from shortening the onboarding of new analysts by at least 50%. Other key benefits include preventing data lakes from turning into data swamps, to improving the accuracy of analytics and facilitating the documentation of tribal knowledge.

The report provides a framework for calculating the ROI benefits your organization could realize with the Alation Data Catalog, helping to add context to our growing list of customer stories from leading enterprises like American Family Insurance, Munich Re, and Pfizer. If you’re new to data cataloging, I’d recommend that you spend some time with our customer stories and find one that speaks to you and the data and analytic challenges that your organization is facing right now. Identifying the challenges that you want to solve is an important first step in the data cataloging adoption journey. But being data people, I know that some of you will just want to jump into the numbers. So if you’re in the latter group, that’s ok too.

Learn More About Data Catalogs

Download your complimentary copy of the Forrester Total Economic Impact report here. Take a look, run the numbers and when you’re ready to have a chat, we’ll be here with dedicated resources to help you dig into the details of how a data catalog might deliver the same value to your organization.

  • Valuing the Data Catalog
  • Learn More About Data Catalogs
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