Data Catalog vendor Alation is today announcing general availability of a new version of its platform. The new release goes beyond the discoverability and crowd-sourcing features that the company and its product are known for. Beyond helping business users locate and query relevant data sets, Alation, using its new TrustCheck technology, will now help users understand the efficacy of the data and its resulting trustworthiness.
Alation's first generation releases focused on helping users query data sets with SQL in the product's Compose environment. The use case wasn't to do analysis, but to explore data sets deeply enough to confirm their relevance. The second generation of the platform added the dimension of search and integrated it with data sets' technical metadata.
Alation views this new release as ushering in its third major innovation wave. It works by introducing color coding into the Compose environment. As users type in queries, clauses or sections of the queries may become color-highlighted. A green highlight indicates an approved, recommended high-quality set of data will result. A yellow-highlighted session serves as a warning that the data set being queried may have nuanced issues - often related to filter conditions that produced it. A red highlight will indicate the user is querying data that has been deprecated.
One of Alation's fortes is the company's prowess in partnering with other data and analytics companies, and certain tight integrations that result. Previously, the company added integrations with Tableau, (allowing selected data from the catalog to be visualized and analyzed) and Paxata (allowing data to be cataloged on ingest).
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In furtherance of this strategy, Alation has worked with Salesforce on an API-level integration of TrustCheck with Einstein Analytics. This integration allows entire dashboards on the Einstein side to show up as approved/endorsed or deprecated, based on information in the catalog. That information will surface in the title of the dashboard in much the same way as it surfaces in the text coloring in the Compose environment. The company says TrustCheck is also integrated with Tableau Server.
In a recent briefing, Stephanie McReynolds, Alation's VP of Marketing, told me the company now has 100 customers in production, many of them large enterprise corporations. Is that a staggering number? Maybe not, but it's certainly a respectable one. It's also an indication that in the aftermath of so many data breaches and resulting regulatory responses like GDPR, that companies are making comprehensive cataloging of their data landscape a priority.
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As they do so, they also need to know which data sets will give them trustworthy analytical insights. With that in mind, TrustCheck should come in very handy.
This post was updated at 4pm EDT on July 11 to correct an inaccuracy. Alation has 100 customers in production, wheras the text of the post originally read "100 users."