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Why are Data Catalogs so Expensive?

Common Questions

Sep 17, 2023

Deciphering the High Costs of Data Catalogs
Deciphering the High Costs of Data Catalogs

In modern businesses, data is a linchpin in driving decision-making processes. From identifying customer behavior patterns to tracking key performance indicators, an organization's data reserves are valuable knowledge wells. At the forefront of tapping into this goldmine are data catalogs, highly effective tools for cataloging, organizing, and managing your organization's data assets. They consolidate diverse data sets into a single, searchable platform – making the often overwhelming world of information manageable and comprehensible. However, these benefits often come with a heavy price tag. To help businesses understand what they're signing up for, we're going to break down the often substantial costs associated with data catalogs.

Understanding the High Costs of Data Catalogs

Data Governance

The substantial cost of data catalogs can be attributed in part to their dual function as data governance tools. This involves more than just basic data documentation. Data catalogs often encompass rigorous compliance practices, significantly increasing their complexity and subsequently, the cost. A common example of this are the inclusion of compliance features like data anonymization. This can be important when dealing with personally identifiable information (PII) where there's a need to protect the individual's privacy without losing the utility of the data.

In addition, monitoring, governing and enforcing access controls is also frequently a part of the feature-set of data catalog tools. They work to protect sensitive data from unauthorized access and misuse, contributing to the overall cost of maintaining a data catalog. While these features are essential where data governance is concerned, they may not be necessary for simpler data cataloging purposes. Thus, understanding the requirements and tailoring the features can play a crucial role in managing the costs associated with data catalogs.

The substantial cost of data catalogs is typically associated with their dual role as data governance tools.

Enterprise Data Integrations

Furthermore, data catalog solutions are often built with large businesses in mind. These organizations usually have to bring together data from a wide variety of sources. They might have information stored in traditional on-site systems, while also using modern cloud-based platforms like Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud. The task isn't easy because each source can have its own unique structure and format, making it difficult to combine all the data.

For instance, a global retail enterprise might have sales data stored in an on-premise SQL server, customer feedback on a cloud-hosted platform like Salesforce, market research data on Google Sheets, and web analytics data on Google Analytics. To create a comprehensive view of all their information, the enterprise would need a data catalog solution that can smoothly ingest and harmonize these varied data sources despite their diverse locations and formats.

Custom Features

Enterprise-grade catalogs often have specific needs that go above and beyond generic functions. They may require custom metadata or unique search functionality designed specifically for their business model. This personalization increases the complexity of a project substantially. The creation of these unique elements requires additional time and the skills of expert technical resources, driving up the cost.

Let's consider an insurance company for instance. They might require custom metadata tags to differentiate between the various kinds of insurance data they hold, such as health insurance, vehicle insurance, home insurance, and so on. Furthermore, a custom search functionality allowing users to search data based on policy numbers, claimants' names, or insurance type may be a specific need. Building these custom features into their data catalog requires meticulous planning, skilled resources and additional time.

Total Cost of Ownership

Finally, the total cost of ownership can be significantly inflated through often overlooked, hidden costs. Repeated manual labor tasks, such as data input, maintenance, and even periodic data validation, all contribute to this. These are not one-time tasks but require consistent efforts over the lifecycle of the solution, resulting in continuous incremental costs.

Due to the intricate nature of many data governance solutions, ample training is critical for personnel to maximize their effectiveness. This leads to expenses related to dedicated training sessions and time investment by the team. Moreover, as these solutions evolve, teams need to keep learning and adapting to new updates, incurring further costs in terms of time and resources. This recurrent learning process, coupled with onboarding of new staff, brings substantial, often underestimated, costs into the overall expense equation.

Introducing a Cost-Efficient Alternative: DataDocs

DataDocs takes a different approach. Our primary focus is to drive data understanding and usability, not to meet enterprise data governance needs. Our service, powered by AI, automates the process of data documentation, eliminates manual labor and significantly cuts down costs, making it a distinctive tool designed for human-friendliness and accessibility.

DataDocs combines affordability with functionality to provide you with a highly efficient data cataloging tool. At only $25 a month for your team, we make understanding your data simple and cost-effective. Why bear the financial burden of inflated enterprise solutions when a focused, user-friendly, and affordable alternative is available? Extend your invitation to efficiency today by exploring the possibilities with DataDocs.

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