Quantifying Value: The Impact of Alation Analytics Cloud

By Christos Mousouris, SVP, Customer Solutions

Published on November 29, 2023

Rainbow-hued mountain peaks illustrate the distinct contrast of each summit, symbolizing the quantification of value through the impact of Alation Analytics Cloud.

When I joined Alation in mid-2021, it was already clear that a data catalog was valuable. By that time, we already had hundreds of customers. The software was being adopted.  Obviously, these customers were getting value, right? I would say yes, but how much?  How valuable is a data catalog? I really wanted to know.

It’s a hard question for any software company to answer about their product: “How valuable is it?” Software companies often leave it up to the customer to figure out the kind of return they’ll get on their investment. That means the ROI is usually an assumption. The customer doesn’t know the product as well as the vendor, so they make an educated guess.  

Organizations today have tons of data, everywhere. Every day, leaders send their business users into this landscape. Every day, these users have to navigate duplicated, outdated, and in some cases, dubious data to hopefully find what they need. And every day, this landscape grows, because it’s so hard to know what data and assets are being used. Instead of rationalizing the data landscape, many organizations just carry it all with them like a shaggy dog emerging from a deep forest with a mess of debris in its fur. Within that tangled mess of twigs, leaves, and dirt lies a narrative... but unraveling the dog's journey seems impossible. How can we learn from what the dog saw? How can we help others master their data landscapes, and mature as an organization? Shouldn’t we be able to quantify the value of doing so?

With our latest release, we can glean valuable insights into how users interact with their data, including a granular view of data discovery, trust, and consumption. The new Alation Analytics Cloud serves as a unified reporting platform that offers organizations a comprehensive view of their data initiatives and the overall maturity of their data culture.

Value articulation for data initiatives

Alation Analytics Cloud serves up standardized metrics that describe and measure catalog usage. And by measuring an organization’s effectiveness against those metrics, we can track progress over time. If an organization is behind schedule, we can even take corrective action.

Many of our customers need more visibility into metrics, and value realization, particularly as they embark on cloud modernization projects; Alation Analytics Cloud addresses these needs with two vital apps, which provide a clear link between data efforts and tangible value:

Alation Consumption Tracker (ACT)

Alation Consumption Tracker (ACT) leverages Alation’s ability to measure database usage across the enterprise at the most granular levels. With this capability, organizations can monitor their data migrations, ensuring data resides where it should and no uses or processes remain on a legacy system. It provides visibility into queries being run and by whom, so compute credits are optimized and costs can be controlled.  

Data Catalog Value Index (DCVI) 

Data Catalog Value Index (DCVI) quantifies the value derived from the catalog; this not only improves data-driven initiatives, but also supports a broader understanding of how data impacts the business across data, business, and leadership teams.

By valuing and pricing the business outcomes of data initiatives, users get a clear link between data efforts and tangible, quantified value. The platform also provides a structured framework to measure and advance data culture maturity. This enables customers to rank and mature key data capabilities, such as data leadership, search and discovery, literacy, and governance.

Optimizing the data catalog

Remember, a data catalog serves several use cases, but they all roll up into three core purposes: driving analyst productivity, delivering data governance, and supporting cloud transformation.

Today, data is probably the top asset for most organizations. Yet much of that data is redundant or disorganized. By minimizing your data footprint and eliminating noisy data, you can enhance your organizational ability to locate trusted data, manage it more effectively, and decrease the overall cost of maintenance.

This improved data organization results in cost savings, risk reduction, and asset rationalization. These activities represent the core of the data catalog’s value today.

AI’s role in the future of Alation Analytics Cloud

We’ve only just released the platform, but we’re already excited about its evolution, which will undoubtedly involve AI. While I can’t say yet how AI will be applied, these are the specific areas where AI can offer substantial benefits:

Pattern spotting. 

With robust telemetry across various customers, AI can analyze positive and negative usage patterns. This involves identifying when users are deriving value from the platform and actively engaging versus instances where users are not finding value.

Smarter cloud management. 

Through the Alation Consumption Tracker, AI will proactively flag issues related to compute resources and migration challenges. It can also provide insights into the utilization of consumption units, suggesting optimizations such as scheduling adjustments or identifying problematic queries.

In-workflow guidance. 

As the platform accumulates more data, there's potential for AI to offer users actionable suggestions to improve data maturity. These could involve highlighting areas of strength and areas needing attention, such as curation and governance.

Overall, we expect to create a system where AI can contribute to guiding users and organizations toward better data practices autonomously, without significant human or third-party intervention. This proactive approach will identify usage patterns, flag issues, and provide actionable insights and suggestions to drive organizational maturity in data management.

Learn more about Alation Analytics Cloud

To learn more about how Alation Analytics Cloud can help you measure your data culture maturity, measure the progress of data initiatives across various metrics, and map data consumption, visit our product page or read The Alation Data Culture Maturity Model: The Path to Data Excellence to explore ways to enhance data management capabilities and achieve success in a data-driven era.

  • Value articulation for data initiatives
  • Optimizing the data catalog
  • AI’s role in the future of Alation Analytics Cloud
  • Learn more about Alation Analytics Cloud
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