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Expert Interview (Part 1): Satyen Sangani of Alation on Data Cataloging

Satyen Sangani (@satyx) is the CEO and co-founder of Alation. In founding Alation, he aspired to help people become more data literate.

Before Alation, Sangani spent nearly a decade at Oracle, where he ran the Financial Services Warehousing and Performance Management business. Prior to Oracle, he was an associate with the private investment firm, Texas Pacific Group and an analyst with Morgan Stanley & Co. He holds a Masters in Economics from the University of Oxford and a Bachelors from Columbia College.

We recently asked Sangani for his insight on data cataloging and how businesses can better manage their data. Here’s what he shared:

Tell us about the mission at Alation. How are you hoping to change the ways businesses approach managing data?

At Alation, we’re looking to fundamentally change the way data consumers, creators and stewards find, understand and trust data. Our product, a data catalog, provides a single source of reference for data in the enterprise.

What is collaborative data cataloging? How does it work?

No matter where your data resides, in a data lake, a data warehouse or a business intelligence system, Alation regularly and automatically indexes your data and automatically gathers knowledge about the data and how it is being used.

Like Google, Alation uses machine learning to continually improve its understanding of that data. Clients use Alation to work better together, to leverage data with greater confidence, to improve productivity and to index all your data knowledge. Anyone who works with data, from IT to a less-than-technical business user can collaborate and comment on data using annotations and threaded discussions much as you’d find in a consumer catalog such as Yelp!

What are the benefits to businesses of using a collaborative data catalog? How do they make data management more efficient and effective?

Alation replaces tribal knowledge with a complete repository for all data assets and data knowledge in your organization including capabilities such as:

  • Business glossary
  • Data dictionary
  • Wiki articles

Download our eBook: The New Rules for Your Data Landscape

Alation profiles data and monitors usage to ensure that users have accurate insight into data accuracy. This includes providing insights through:

  • Usage reports
  • Data profiles
  • Interactive lineage

Alation provides deep insight into how users are creating and sharing knowledge from raw data. This includes surfacing details that include:

  • Top users
  • Column-level popularity
  • Shared joins & filters

What are the common challenges you’re observing businesses facing with data management today? What is at the root of these challenges?

The problem isn’t really about the volume of data that businesses must deal with these days. It’s really about how to find, understand and trust that data to fundamentally understand what is going on with your business in terms that everyone in the organization can agree upon. That’s what data cataloging can provide.

Check out Part 2 of this interview where Satyen Sangani discusses Big Data management trends and best practices.

Discover the new ways data is being moved, manipulated, and cleansed – download Syncsort’s eBook The New Rules for Your Data Landscape.

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