Gartner’s Market Guide for Data and Analytics Governance Platforms: 4 Takeaways

By Anthony Zumpano

Published on July 18, 2023

A group of coworkers gathered around a laptop together in an opened office space.

Many data management solutions claim to be jacks-of-several trades, but that doesn’t mean they can (or should) do more than their primary role within the data stack.

That’s especially true for data and analytics (D&A) governance. As noted in Gartner’s Market Guide for Data and Analytics Governance Platforms, many vendors claim their data management capabilities are able to address D&A governance needs for both business and IT roles — but they simply don’t.

The Market Guide, published in May 2023, defines, describes, and analyzes the D&A governance market, and presents profiles of 11 key D&A platform vendors, including Alation. This contrasts with the previous Guide, published in 2021, that identified more than 40 vendors, showing that Gartner’s two years of research has found a significant reduction of viable governance platforms.

It’s important to note that Gartner distinguishes “platforms” from “tools”:

  • A platform is a set of integrated business capabilities enabling business leaders and users to assess, adopt, and uphold a wide range of governance policies. throughout their organization's business systems.

  • Data management and discrete governance tools focus on policy execution.

A potential representation of the components and scope of a D&A governance platform.

A potential representation of the components and scope of a D&A governance platform.

In other words, the platform is concerned with policy setting and enforcement, not execution, and is intended for use by a disparate range of business users, not just those in IT. 

How should businesses choose the appropriate governance platform? This market guide recommends that buyers:

1. Identify your D&A governance objectives.

D&A governance encompasses a wide range of capabilities — including a business glossary, active metadata, and a data catalog. So it’s not surprising that no single D&A governance platform in this emerging market offers every capability for every use case. But that won’t present a challenge, as long as you can identify the capabilities that align with what Gartner calls your “persona” requirements and select the platform that satisfies those requirements.

2. Understand what a “capability” is actually capable of.

It’s important to understand that a “capability” is identified at the intersection of the use case and policy category, but two different case–category combinations can result in similarly named capabilities that don’t mean the same thing. 

“For example,” the Market Guide notes, “data classification in a data security implementation would be quite different than a data classification effort in a master data management (MDM) implementation, yet both markets and vendors in them use the same terminology.” To avoid confusion, clarify the use case each capability you seek should address. 

3. Seek ways to consolidate.

Gartner identifies the following paradox: “The needs associated with D&A governance have never been centralized and consolidated, yet repeatedly, siloed solutions have been the only tools employed.” These solutions are standalone tools offering a limited set of capabilities, and these silos cause overlaps and gaps, which are exacerbated when a capability does not serve multiple use cases as promised. 

This can be addressed with a D&A governance platform that offers the right mix of capabilities that suit your organization’s needs. 

4. Prioritize stewardship on the business side.

The Market Report laments “a lack of vision” for solutions designed for users outside the IT realm. Just as a “capability” can mean different things, depending on the policy category, business stewards use capabilities for policy enforcement much differently than the way IT uses those same capabilities to resolve technical data issues. 

Gartner recommends that vendors offer platforms that address policy setting, execution and enforcement across all policy types, rather than forcing organizations to develop homegrown governance applications tailored to business stewards — or worse, having them ask IT to manage their governance programs without business involvement.    

Garnter’s analysis of Alation’s data governance platform

Alation is among the vendors profiled in the Guide, and Gartner cites “effective leverage and support from active metadata management” as key strengths. It also noted the product offers: 

  • Analytics and governance focus, which expanded when customers began using our data catalog functionality to address governance use cases.

  • Platform approach that allows for the incorporation of additional data governance capabilities.

  • Data Governance App that supports policy management and stewardship, enabling organizations to define and enforce data governance policies effectively.

  • Monitoring and analytics of the state and condition of policies and data in order to track compliance, identify issues, and gain insights.

  • Integration capabilities to streamline and simplify the implementation and management of data governance initiatives.

  • Partner strategy and open approach — which includes an open metadata framework and an open data quality initiative (ODQI) — to give customers additional options and flexibility.

In short, the Guide declares “Alation's focus on integration and open approach further enhances its appeal to customers seeking comprehensive D&A governance solutions.”


The good news is that with proper planning (and by recognizing the capabilities required by your business users), you can identify the D&G governance platform that aligns best with your governance initiatives while also reducing technology silos and redundancy.

Learn why data governance is vital for your organization, and more about Alation’s data governance solutions — and download the Market Report!

  • 1. Identify your D&A governance objectives.
  • 2. Understand what a “capability” is actually capable of.
  • 3. Seek ways to consolidate.
  • 4. Prioritize stewardship on the business side.
  • Garnter’s analysis of Alation’s data governance platform
  • Conclusion
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