Alation 2020.3: Getting Business Users in the Game

By Jason Lim

Published on October 6, 2020


The recent ‘The Alation State of Data Culture Report’, found that 78% of data & analytics leaders have a corporate initiative to become more data driven and help create data culture. But despite these ambitions, there is a stark data culture disconnect. The report found that a majority of data leaders overestimate the strength of their organization’s data culture. So while most organizations desire a data culture, this disconnect shows that they are not as far along as they’d like to be.

People are at the heart of every culture, and one of the biggest challenges to creating a data culture is bringing everyone into the fold. Increasingly that means ensuring that business users can find, understand, and trust the data they need to drive the business forward.

Alation 2020.3: Business Users Join the Game

Alation homepage search flow

In the latest release, Alation 2020.3, the look and feel of the modern data catalog has been reimagined. Alation has incorporated customer feedback and implemented a consumer-grade user interface. The end result is a more inviting experience, especially for less technical business users.

Now, everything from the typeface to the iconography and overall design, are cleaner and more intuitive. The homepage is brandable and customizable, enabling customers to apply their own logos and color schemes to the data catalog and making the data catalog feel more inviting. The search experience has also been enhanced to put it front and center. The new full-page faceted search makes it even easier to pinpoint relevant data for data search & discovery, curation, and more.

Collectively, these improvements make Alation more simple for everyone to use, especially business users. With Alation 2020.3, it’s easier than ever for everyone to participate in the organization’s data culture.

Full Court Press: The Virtuous Cycle

Bringing business users into the data catalog not only helps to drive data culture, it also makes the data catalog itself more valuable. As the catalog is increasingly used for a broader and broader range of use cases, it must also cater to a broader range of users. Greater adoption creates a virtuous cycle. The more people use the catalog, the more valuable it becomes, and the more valuable it becomes, the more people will want to use it.

To truly benefit from the virtuous cycle, the data catalog should be made more accessible to more people, rather than restricted to a few. Gating access or designing a catalog for data experts alone, slows and even stops the virtuous cycle, and ultimately, hinders the enterprise’s ability to create a data culture.

Helping Business Users and Data Users Play Together

Data leaders are making data culture a priority to drive business growth, outpace competitors, and comply with stringent regulations. For all of these things to happen effectively, data users and business users have to play together. As McKinsey points out in their study ‘Why data culture matters’, “You develop a data culture by moving beyond specialists and skunkworks…” In short, data culture must include everyone.

When business users are invited to participate in the conversation around data with data users and IT, it adds a fundamental dimension — business context. Without a real understanding of how data ties back to the business, the value of analysis and insights can get lost. In 2020.3, we are helping to bring business users into the data catalog where everyone can collaborate.

The Catalog is a Platform for Data Intelligence

Alation is leading the evolution of the data catalog into a platform for data intelligence solutions. Our focus historically was in powering search & discovery, allowing analysts to more easily find and understand data. Recently, however, Alation has been increasingly used to solve for a much wider range of use cases including privacy and data governance. In fact, more than a third of our customers, including Hulu, Riot Games and Cisco, are now using Alation to address data governance. Whether cloud transformation or privacy risk & compliance, the number of data intelligence use cases Alation is used for only continues to grow.

  • Alation 2020.3: Business Users Join the Game
  • Full Court Press: The Virtuous Cycle
  • Helping Business Users and Data Users Play Together
  • The Catalog is a Platform for Data Intelligence
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