BARC analyst Timm Grosser

The Data Catalog – The “Yellow Pages” for Business-Relevant Data

BARC analyst Timm GrosserAn overview of data catalogs by BARC Analyst Timm Grosser, including tips on how to select the right data cataloging solution for your organization.

Data is essential for companies to keep up with the digital age. Everyone knows that by now. But it’s not so easy to extract the desired value from data and shine with innovative, data-driven business applications. Instead, we often see data chaos that has been growing for years in the form of fragmented data landscapes and distributed expert knowledge.

A hotly discussed technological approach to make knowledge of distributed data available is the data catalog, the “Yellow Pages” for business-relevant data. It stores information about data in the form of metadata and structures, and makes it searchable.

A data catalog tool achieves its usefulness primarily through three essential points:

  1. covering information needs quickly and easily
  2. capturing and curating metadata (knowledge) as efficiently (automated) as possible
  3. providing a platform for the exchange of knowledge for “all”

In addition, functions for data governance and/or data access are valuable.

Finding the right tool can be more complicated than you might expect. The market for data catalogs is anything but transparent. As with other trending areas, the range of products is exploding and we are now aware of more than 90 solutions with data cataloging functions operating worldwide. But not all data cataloging is the same. These offerings vary in focus, content, features and supported use cases. The following table provides an overview of the basic tool types for data cataloging. Basically, there are options for specific use cases (as part of a BI or analytics user tool, as part of an environment) and offerings that provide a comprehensive, independent solution (specialists, as part of a data governance (DG)/data management (DM) platform).

Pay particular attention to interfaces and transparent, open metadata models for metadata exchange with other catalogs and systems when selecting a data catalog. This offers you a number of advantages:

– You avoid vendor lock-in and can use the tool’s capabilities in a targeted manner

– You can more easily transfer catalogs from different areas or environments to a parent catalog

– It allows easier migration or integration with more powerful tools or tools with a different focus

Catalog scenario Characteristics Tool examples
…homemade Rudimentary catalog functions Excel, Confluence, Wiki, …
…as part of a BI/analytics tool Catalog functions related to the data/artifacts in the environment Alteryx, Qlik, Tableau, …
…as part of an environment Catalog functions related to technical data/artifacts in the environment Amazon, Cloudera, Google, …
…as specialist Comprehensive catalog functions related to data and partly artifacts from different tools/environments, added functionality such as data governance Alation, Waterline, Zeenea, …
…as part of a data governance/DM platform Comprehensive catalog functions related to data and partly artifacts from different tools/environments. Additional functionality from the portfolio (e.g., workflows, data quality, etc.) Collibra, Infogix, Informatica, SAP, …

Table 1: Data Cataloging tool types

When selecting a data catalog, its functions should be carefully checked. A checklist should normally include:

– Adapters and functions for metadata integration and exchange

– Supported content (e.g., supported metadata types, openness and extensibility of the metadata model)

– Functions and machine support for the maintenance (curation) of metadata

– Functions and machine support for catalog use and search/navigation/analysis of metadata

– Ease of use

– Support for collaboration

– Further data management functions (e.g., for data governance, data preparation, data quality and data protection)

We are also happy to support you directly – with our best practice experience, established process models and numerous templates – through the entire selection process from requirements gathering to the creation of a shortlist, proof of concept support and deciding which tool to use. This gives you greater decision security, saves you time and resources and provides you with a partner who can help to create a data cataloging roadmap which is both transparent and acceptable to management and relevant stakeholders.

BARC analyst Timm Grosser

Briefing Insights: MariaDB Corporation

Timm Grosser, BARC’s Senior Analyst for Data Management, shares his thoughts on the open source database vendor, MariaDB Corporation.

BARC analyst Timm Grosser

Briefing Insights: Safyr – The Metadata Middleware for Packaged Application Software Like SAP

Impressions of Silwood Technology’s Safyr product – metadata middleware for packaged application software like SAP – by Timm Grosser, Senior Analyst at BARC.

BARC analyst Timm Grosser

Briefing Insights: Dremio – The “Data Lake Engine”

Insights from BARC’s briefing with Dremio “The Data Lake Engine” by Timm Grosser, Senior Analyst – Data Management at BARC

BARC analyst Timm Grosser

BARC Webinar: Comparing the Four Most Popular Data Catalog Providers

MicroStrategy has been overshadowed in recent years by vendors such as Qlik, Tableau and Microsoft, but we believe strong BI platforms with scaling, security, administration and broad coverage of BI requirements from standard reporting to advanced analytics are still highly relevant.

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prevero to be Acquired by Dutch Software Vendor Unit4

prevero has announced it has entered into an agreement to be acquired by Unit4, a Netherlands-based enterprise applications software vendor with operations worldwide. The purchase price has not been disclosed.

Authors: Carsten Bange and Christian Fuchs

Published: 11 July 2016

In recent years, prevero has grown into one of the largest performance management vendors in the DACH region in terms of software revenues. Its growth has been largely organic but was also boosted considerably by the acquisitions of software vendors Winterheller in 2011 and MIK in 2015, the latter of which is still trading as an independent company. Now prevero itself has agreed to be acquired by Unit4.

Unit4 is a provider of enterprise applications empowering people in service organizations (e.g. ERP). With annual revenues of more than Euro 500 million and over 4,000 employees worldwide, Unit4 delivers ERP, industry-focused and topical applications. Thousands of organizations around the world from sectors including professional services, education, public services, not-for-profit, real estate, wholesale and financial services use Unit4 solutions.

In our opinion, prevero’s performance management products fit well into Unit4’s product portfolio. Data-based decision making and data analysis have become more important than ever, not least for Unit4’s ERP customer base. However, until now Unit4 has not had any specific CPM products in its portfolio. Also, from a geographical perspective, prevero has a strong footprint in the DACH region while Unit4 is present in many other parts of Europe, Asia-Pacific and North America. So this deal opens up the potential for selling Unit4’s ERP products to prevero’s 4,500 customers in the DACH region and prevero’s CPM products to Unit4’s customer base, as well as a stand-alone product in the vendor’s 26 markets worldwide. According to both parties a joint offering should be available within 6 months.

Going forward, prevero will be Unit4’s standard platform for CPM and BI. The prevero brand will be retained for the time being with the goal of joint branding over time. prevero’s management team of Alexander Springer and Matthias Thurner and all its 160 employees will become part of Unit4.

Overall, we think the acquisition provides great potential for both companies. prevero in particular will be able to enlarge its customer base in global markets that it probably would never have been able to address itself. Moreover, the development of its CPM products can profit from Unit4’s more substantial development capacities. Unit4 can offer a more complete set of products and also cover the important areas of planning, data analytics and decision support in a sophisticated way. Whether there is cross-selling potential for its ERP solutions into the prevero customer base remains to be seen. Many of prevero’s customers will already have established ERP products and are unlikely to focus on replacing their existing infrastructure.

Further Reading
Unit4 press release announcing the acquisition of prevero

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Qlik To Be Acquired by Private Equity Firm Thoma Bravo

Qlik has announced it has entered into an agreement with private equity firm Thoma Bravo to be acquired by them for around 3 billion USD.

Author: Carsten Bange

Published: 30 June 2016

Qlik announced at the beginning of June that it has entered into an agreement with private equity firm Thoma Bravo to be acquired by them for ~3 billion USD. Qlik, founded in 1993 in Lund, Sweden and now headquartered in Radnor, PA, USA has become one of the major BI vendors in the last 15 years: It currently has 2,000 employees, 39,000 customers and 1,700 partners in more than 100 countries, making 612 million USD revenue in 2015. This values Qlik at about 5x revenue and at a similar enterprise value to Tableau, which has surpassed Qlik with very strong growth in recent years, reaching 695 million USD revenue in 2015, but also suffering a 50% stock price plummet in February 2016.

Qlik has appeared to be for sale for a while and the move to de-list from the stock market and become owned by a PE company has become quite normal amongst software vendors: Tibco, Informatica and more recently Dell Software are other prominent examples. 

Qlik’s stock price has remained between 20 and 40 USD for the last 5 years – basically going sideways despite its revenue growth during that period – so its frequent interactions with financial analysts and its large number of shareholders were probably not too pleasant. Qlik has faced some serious challenges in recent years, both organizationally and on the product and marketing side with the transformation from its first product generation (QlikView) to the second generation Qlik Sense. Qlik has returned to calmer waters in the last year since the release of Qlik Sense 2.0 in mid 2015. But its complete transformation to a Cloud software-oriented company is still ongoing, and the freedom to take decisions without the added scrutiny of the stock market might help to re-focus Qlik on business priorities and push it into new areas.

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Cisco Acquires ParStream

Author: Carsten Bange

Published: 27 October 2015

Abstract:
Networking giant Cisco has announced its intent to buy ParStream, a young analytical database vendor based in Germany and the US. This acquisition strengthens Cisco’s ability to build networks with real-time data acquisition and storage “on the edges” of the network in distributed infrastructures.

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Permira Private Equity and Canada Pension Plan Take Informatica Private

Author: Andreas Bitterer

Published: 9 April 2015

Abstract:
In a surprising move, Informatica Corporation, a publicly traded and market-leading provider of data integration, data quality and master data management solutions agreed to be acquired by two private equity firms that will take the vendor private.

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Marlin Equity Partners Acquires Arcplan

Authors: Carsten Bange, Andreas Bitterer

Published: 7 April 2015

Abstract:
German business intelligence software vendor Arcplan has agreed to be acquired by US-based private equity firm Marlin Equity Partners for an undisclosed sum. The Arcplan company and its product portfolio is expected to be merged with Longview Solutions, a Canadian provider of business performance management solutions and another Marlin Equity Partners portfolio company.

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