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.

Leverage Your Data

Companies Need To Take Data Handling To The Next Level

PRESS RELEASE – WÜRZBURG, June 23rd, 2020

BARC (Business Application Research Center) today published the results of its topical survey “Leverage your data – a data strategy checklist for the journey to the data-driven enterprise”. In the study, BARC analysts Jacqueline Bloemen and Timm Grosser take a close look at how companies are currently handling data and the hurdles along the way to becoming a data-driven enterprise. The full study is available for download free of charge thanks to sponsorship by Ab Initio, Alation, Collibra, Cubeware, Denodo, Tableau and Talend.

Key findings

  • #1: The majority of companies believe that data deserves significantly more attention
  • #2: Effective approaches to improving data handling are known, but rarely applied
  • #3: The benefits of more effective use of data are only gradually emerging

Data deserves greater attention

According to a new BARC survey, companies agree that they could benefit from giving data more attention. 90% of participants point out that information has a high priority in decision-making. Almost the same proportion (87%) state that they could improve their corporate results by optimizing data handling. However, the real value of data is often not transparent enough. Decision-makers in particular have little insight into their data-related problems and the benefits of potential investment. “If companies do not have knowledge of the quality and usability of their data, of course they will find it difficult to assess the value and potential of their data,” said Jacqueline Bloemen, Senior Analyst Data & Analytics at BARC and co-author of this study.

The study shows that companies are groping in the dark, especially when it comes to data-related processes. 66% of participants state that they waste a lot of time asking the same questions about data or repeating work. Also, it is often unclear who is using what data and for what purpose (61%). Surprisingly, the measures to effectively deal with these challenges seem to be quite clear to most of the companies surveyed. They are aware that more information about their data is needed (59%) and clear responsibilities have to be defined (57%). Nevertheless, when it comes to actually implementing these approaches, most companies have not put their theory into practice yet (see Figure 1).

Leverage Your Data press release - Figure 1

Figure 1: Top four approaches to improving the handling of data (n=419/418) © BARC

It is clear that companies face major hurdles when it comes to implementing new data handling approaches. 52% of participants point out that there is a lack of documentation and knowledge about data. to start. Another issue is that the operational business is prioritized over driving innovation through data (43%) and holding people accountable for handling data (40%).

Companies are not in a situation to benefit significantly from their use of data (yet)

The study shows that companies are currently struggling to gain and maintain an overview of their data. Approaches to improve the situation are known but are proving difficult to carry out in practice. Against this background, it is not surprising that the benefits achieved so far are rather limited (see Figure 2)

Leverage Your Data press release - Figure 2

Figure 2: Top four benefits achieved through approaches to improve the handling of data (n=418) © BARC

None of the benefits listed have been achieved by the majority of survey participants (the highest rating is 37%). A look at best-in-class companies in comparison to laggard companies reveals what could be done better: While both groups are investing in enabling more self-service analysis and providing more information about data, best-in-class companies are doing this more intensively (42 and 38 percent respectively, versus 25 and 24 percent for laggards). For best-in-class companies, further  areas of focused investment include defining clear responsibilities/points of contact for data utilization and providing a business glossary. These measures also foster multidisciplinary collaboration in the utilization of data. While both groups achieve the same ratings for “development of the corporate data culture from “need to know” to “right to know”“ (23 percent), from a relative perspective this point is more important for laggards (third highest rating). In contrast, best-in-class companies invest more in targeting definition and priority steering by senior management (21 percent) than laggards (10 percent). Best-in-class companies are also more likely to invest in data literacy by carrying out targeted staff development and training to promote data and analytics skills (31 percent versus 10 percent for laggards).

“On the bottom line, the message is clear,” said Timm Grosser, Senior Analyst Data & Analytics at BARC and co-author of this study. “Treating data as an asset and collaborating on a multidisciplinary basis requires targeted steering and corresponding processes. This cannot be achieved with a bottom-up approach only. Enabling a data-driven enterprise affects every employee and requires a fundamental cultural change. Executives must want, initiate and actively promote this change.”

About the study

“Leverage Your Data – a data strategy checklist for the journey to the data-driven enterprise ” is a topical BARC survey dealing with companies’ approaches and challenges when seeking to improve their use of data. The study is based on a worldwide survey of more than 400 companies from various industries and of different sizes. The focus of the study is to evaluate what companies are currently doing to reap the potential of their data and to give recommendations for more effective ways of handling data. The authors of the study are Jacqueline Bloemen and Timm Grosser, Senior Analysts for Data & Analytics at BARC.

Useful links

Further information about “Leverage your data – a data strategy checklist for the journey to the data-driven enterprise”
Infographic based on findings from the study
– Download the full study via the sponsors’ websites: AlationDenodoTableau

About BARC

BARC (Business Application Research Center) is one of Europe’s leading analyst firms for business software, focusing on the areas of data, business intelligence (BI) and analytics, enterprise content management (ECM) and customer relationship management (CRM). The company was founded in 1999 as a spin-off of the Chair of Business Administration and Information Systems at the Julius-Maximilians-University in Würzburg. Today, BARC combines empirical and theoretical research, technical expertise and practical experience, including a constant exchange with all market participants.

Contact

For further information, please contact:

Regina Schmidt
Communications Manager
Tel: +49 (0) 931 880651-47
Mobile: + 49 (0) 1520 431 82 39
Email: rschmidt@barc.de

Leverage Your Data

Infographic: “Leverage Your Data – a data strategy checklist for the journey to the data-driven enterprise”

Digitalization is on the agenda of almost every company, and data is the foundation of digitalization.

BARC’s “Leverage Your Data” study is based on a survey of 419 decision-makers worldwide. It examines how companies are maintaining and developing their data assets, the challenges they encounter and the efficacy of the measures taken to address them.

In particular, the experiences of best-in-class companies can be used to inform the development of an individual data strategy for your business.

Here, we offer 5 recommendations for companies looking to embark on the road to becoming a data-driven enterprise.

Click here to find out more and to download the full study.

Infographic - Leverage Your Data

 

Click here to find out more and to download the full study.

BARC analyst Timm Grosser

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BARC analyst Timm Grosser

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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

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The Future of Corporate Planning cover image

Companies Are Ready to Rethink Their Corporate Planning

PRESS RELEASE – WÜRZBURG, May 28th, 2020

BARC (Business Application Research Center) publishes “Integrated and Predictive – The Future of Corporate Planning”, a survey-based study. It reveals the current status of integrated planning in companies as well as the challenges along the road to successful integration. The full study is available for download free of charge thanks to sponsorship by Board.

Key findings

  • #1: The majority of companies believe that integrated corporate planning is becoming increasingly important
  • #2: In order to integrate planning successfully, challenges have to be tackled at a functional, technical and organizational level
  • #3: Predictive algorithms will be able to provide more accurate forecasts in the future

The value of corporate planning

According to BARC’s research, companies are well aware of the value provided by corporate planning. 55% of companies state that the integration of strategic and operational planning offers high added value. 36% even describe the integration of plans as “essential for the future”. In contrast, only 9% doubt the value of integrated corporate planning. Companies that derive the greatest benefit from their integrated planning are investing heavily in the functional integration of planning and its coupling with analytics, but also in the technology to future-proof their performance management. 66% of survey respondents stated that integrated corporate planning is increasing in importance (see Fig. 1).

The Future of Corporate Planning press release - figure 1

Fig. 1: How is the importance of integrated corporate planning developing in your company? (n=404) © BARC

“We can clearly see that companies are aware of the significance of integrated corporate planning and attach great importance to it, especially with regard to the future. Most want to make a start on integrating corporate planning, but there are several hurdles to tackle along the way”, said Robert Tischer, Senior Data & Analytics Analyst and co-author of this study.

Why does the integration of planning often fail?

BARC’s survey results show that companies face major challenges when it comes to improving corporate planning in order to keep decision-makers informed with plans and forecasts. 45% of participants stated that planning takes place in incompatible or isolated solutions. Master data in separate systems is often inconsistent, which makes automated transfers between sub-plans nearly impossible. This is often a major issue, especially for larger companies.

However, consistent master data is not only about using the right technology. Technical and organizational measures must be taken to create a uniform view of existing data. The second most frequent challenge arises when planning processes are not clearly defined or adequately coordinated (40%). This makes coherent, transparent and automatic integration difficult or even impossible. Only when addressing functional, technical and organizational issues in combination can organizations expect to reap substantial rewards.

Expectations are high for predictive algorithms

A major challenge in corporate planning is to generate meaningful and high-quality planning figures quickly and with little effort. This applies to classic annual planning and budgeting, but increasingly also to short-term forecasting. Many companies are therefore seeking solutions to speed up forecasting and reduce effort. They want to leverage modern planning approaches such as predictive planning and forecasting. 89% of participants rate the current and future significance of predictive technologies and forecasts as “important” or “very important”.

When it comes to rating the potential of predictive algorithms, expectations are equally high. The majority of companies in this study believe that predictive technologies will be able to deliver more accurate forecasts in the future than a human planner today (see Figure 2).

The Future of Corporate Planning press release - figure 2

Figure 2: Do you believe that predictive technologies and algorithms will deliver more accurate forecasts in the future than human planners today? (n=412) © BARC

The still low use of predictive planning and forecasting in practice is in stark contrast to the assessment of its relevance and potential. Two thirds of the companies surveyed are only just beginning to address the topic and have not yet gained much experience. Only 4% already successfully use and benefit from predictive technologies and forecasts.

Dr. Christian Fuchs, Senior Data & Analytics Analyst and co-author of this study points out: “The gap between future expectations and the current situation is quite striking. Many companies will have to step up their technical and organizational approaches in order to tap the full potential of predictive planning and forecasting.”

About the study

“Integrated and Predictive – The Future of Corporate Planning” is a topical BARC survey examining the approaches and obstacles to implementing integrated corporate planning. The study is based on a worldwide survey of more than 400 companies of various sizes and industry sectors. The focus of the study is to evaluate the importance of integrated corporate planning and to identify the challenges and risks currently facing companies. The authors of the study are Dr. Christian Fuchs and Robert Tischler, Senior Analysts for Data & Analytics at BARC.

Useful links

Further information about “Integrated and Predictive – The Future of Corporate Planning”
Infographic based on findings from the study
Download the full study from the sponsor’s website

About BARC

BARC (Business Application Research Center) is one of Europe’s leading analyst firms for business software, focusing on the areas of data, business intelligence (BI) and analytics, enterprise content management (ECM) and customer relationship management (CRM). The company was founded in 1999 as a spin-off of the Chair of Business Administration and Information Systems at the Julius-Maximilians-University in Würzburg. Today, BARC combines empirical and theoretical research, technical expertise and practical experience, including a constant exchange with all market participants.

Contact

For further information, please contact:

Regina Schmidt
Communications Manager
Tel: +49 (0) 931 880651-47
Mobile: + 49 (0) 1520 431 82 39
Email: rschmidt@barc.de

The Future of Corporate Planning cover image

Infographic: “Integrated and Predictive – The Future of Corporate Planning”

The solid integration of corporate planning and its integration with analytics is the basis of modern, data-driven corporate management. It not only increases the speed and transparency of decisions and their quality, but it is also the foundation for the use of predictive planning and forecasting powered by statistical methods and machine learning.

Based on a survey of 424 decision-makers worldwide, this infographic highlights:

  • The current challenges facing finance and controlling departments
  • The importance of corporate planning
  • Where companies are right now in terms of the integration of corporate planning
  • The most common obstacles to integrating corporate planning
  • How companies can reduce the effort they put into planning
  • BARC’s recommendations on integrated corporate planning

Click here to find out more and to download the full study.

The Future of Corporate Planning infographic

 

Click here to find out more and to download the full study.

BARC analyst Timm Grosser

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