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Yetkin Ozkucur, Global Director Customer Success at Orion, shares 3 important takeaways from attending the Gartner Data and Analytics Conference in London May 9-11, 2022.

I was in London last week for the Gartner Data and Analytics conference. After 2 years of COVID, it was so refreshing to be at a conference and travel overseas again. I can say this was the case for everyone at the conference. They were just happy to be there, talking to peers, listening to experts, and seeing groundbreaking innovations driven by the vendors. Like I always used to do, I compiled my notes and key takeaways to share. Here are my 3 major takeaways:

  1. Data Fabric is here and people are looking for automation. Anyone following Gartner blogs and analyst reports know, Data Fabric has been the main topic for the last couple of years. But when we talked to our customers about it, we often got the question “what actually is data fabric?”. So, people were still treating it as another hype, buzzword. What I saw at this conference is people now understand what it means. You need automation; you need insights at your fingertips. The days of hauling spreadsheets back and forth is over. Data Catalogs, Analytics tools, and Data Lakes, all these vendors provide high levels of automation and sophisticated insights.
  2. Data Analytics tools are way more advanced now than I’ve ever imagined. My favorite session was the Analytics and BI Bake-Off between Power BI, Tableau and Qlik. In a well-structured session, I was watching demos of how these tools are leveraging cutting technologies like Natural Language Processing, Augmented Reality, AI and ecosystem integration. It wouldn’t be appropriate to say which tool won my vote at the end, but I can say that tool is yet dominate the entire market. As strong as they are, the analytics tools still need trusted, accurate data with well-defined lineage, definitions, quality, and measurable trust score. That is why BI tool – Data Catalog integrations are so important now. No matter how sophisticated, appealing the insights are, the business users still need to be able to trust that data.
  3. There are a lot of Data Catalog tools out there, and all with very similar messaging. I can understand how difficult it would be for someone shopping for a Data Catalog tool. There is downwards trend for the big players who used to dominate the market and there new vendors, some of them with disruptive ideas, here to conquer the market. The problem is, all vendors are talking about the same concepts: Data Fabric, Data Lineage, Data Quality, Business Glossary, Governance… The UIs are so similar that you cannot tell which one is which if you put them next to each other. So, how can you differentiate?

    Being in this industry for almost 25 years, I can tell not every tool can do what they say they can. My advice is, do a bake off based on your data, and see how long it takes for them to provide you a view of your data landscape. It is worth mentioning that Gartner is now doing more and more bake-off sessions between the vendors for the same reasons. My advice is: stay away from any vendors, who start talking about importing manually crafted spreadsheets catalog information. You will need an army of consultants to manually maintain the data catalog with exponentially growing volumes. Pick a tool that is technology agnostic. The big players like Azure, AWS, and IBM, they all come with an embedded data catalog tool but often, these tools are useless outside the vendor’s technology stack. You don’t want to keep creating silos. You want a tool that can scan across all those silos from different technology stacks, How to bring value to the business users?

    The Data Catalog vendors made good progress in the last decade engaging the business users and providing a non-technical picture of the data landscape. But I still see people, comparing UIs and saying this vendor’s UI looks better than the other etc. My advice is think outside of the box. Why would a business user have to go to Data Catalog to figure out if they can trust the report they are looking at? Logging into a Data Catalog is still an extra step for them. Look for open architecture, with mature APIs that you can integrate into your ecosystem; engage the business users where they are in their own analytics tools, not the other way around.

    Last but not least, I would like to thank everyone who visited our booth, spent time listening to Orion’s product value messages, seeing our tool and providing invaluable feedback. We at Orion are very encouraged by how our messages resonated everyone and aligned with Gartner’s perspective of the market. I am now looking forward to the next Gartner event in Orlando.


About the author: Niu Bai, Ph.D. is the Head of Global Business Development and Partnerships at Orion Governance, Inc.

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