Although data catalogs hold much promise, they present several challenges. The two biggest are related: tool complexity and adoption. As mentioned earlier, business users find data catalogs overwhelming if they contain technical metadata and will not use them. They will also not use a data catalog, if they can’t find what they’re looking for, the catalog doesn’t contain tribal knowledge that helps them zero in on what they need, and it doesn’t contain links to related data. 

This creates a catch-22 situation in which users won’t use a catalog because it doesn’t contain tribal knowledge documented by other users. But users won’t document their tribal knowledge if they don’t use it in the first place. 

As the glue to organizational data, it’s imperative that data catalogs are integrated with other applications, including other data catalogs, data observability tools, office automation tools, and so on. This makes a data catalog the hub of data management activity.

“Getting adoption for a data catalog is a … catch-22 scenario.”

Figure 5. Data Catalog Challenges


Figure 6. Adoption Challenges


Figure 7. The Adoption Conundrum

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