So you've Got a Data Catalogue, What Now?

If you are here, you have already identified the need for a data catalogue and have likely picked the right tool for your organisation size and data maturity. But now you have the technology in place, where do you go next? And how do you reach success? 

It can be easy to get hung up on deployment and how the delivery will look, and these are both important factors to consider. Organisations that have seen the most success with catalogue adoption often focus on a few core areas: 

  • Knowing what you need 
  • Empowering a winning team
  • Sustainable and scalable processes

Know what you need

The data strategy is at its most effective when it aligns with the overarching business strategy. So it is important to understand where a data catalogue can benefit and drive value for the business.  

Identifying use cases will allow you to define how and where the catalogue will be used. A good example of this is how a British newspaper mapped out their ‘business-as-usual’ processes and “baked” the use of their data catalogue into them. This allowed them to narrow down their key use cases for a collaborative catalogue that led to adoption and value realisation: 

  • Find data quickly to reuse and repurpose data to support user needs
  • Share knowledge about data to drive adoption and usage, and extraction of value
  • Understand data flows so new business needs are delivered in a compliant way in line with the architecture

Empower a winning team

To be effective with data, one must consider people, processes and technology. That is why finding the right people who will own and drive the technology forward is essential. Redkite Data Catalogue Lead, Martin Janota, speaks to this:

"A data catalogue won’t get adopted by itself. It also won't create all of the valuable content essential to users, introduce itself to new areas of the business or align itself with data programs on its own. It needs people to make this happen. These people will build momentum for the catalogue – from procurement through to rollout – and keep driving it forward"

Whether you hire externally or reskill (or upskill) internally, empowering your team to utilise and sharpen their skills will bring a range of benefits such as accelerated onboarding of users, increased communication and collaboration across teams and the capacity to drive data ownership.  

Sustainable and scalable processes 

Now you have defined use cases for your data catalogue and have the right people, this is the ideal moment in time to look to process. The processes put in place will enable the catalogue to be used and developed in the right way – but they also need to have the consumer in mind.  

You should position adoption from the perspective of those who use the catalogue.” Redkite Lead Data Consultant, Phil Jones – who built the data governance strategy and framework at Marks & Spencer – comments, “what does it mean to them? How will it help them to achieve their objectives? What invaluable insights will they derive from it?”

Building a set of pragmatic policies and best practices for how people use the catalogue to achieve their goals will allow you to form processes that come with business buy-in. Running a ‘Minimal Viable Product’ exercise helps pilot and showcase the success of curating a carefully selected subset of data, which can increase engagement when rolled out to the rest of the business.  

You should position adoption from the perspective of those who use the catalogue.”

Phil Jones - Redkite's Lead Data Consultant

What does this look like in the real world? 

Looking to create a single place for documenting and managing content – such as data assets, KPIs and business definitions – a global FTSE 100 consumer goods company identified an opportunity to make their data catalogue an enterprise tool for discovery.  

During phase one planning of the data catalogue implementation, they concluded that it was as important to have a robust plan in place for business adoption, as it was to implement the tool effectively. As such, whilst implementation was underway, they devised a rollout plan that was focused on effectively delivering quality content to priority users and tailored onboarding to the tool and ways of working for key user groups. 

This approach saw the adoption of the catalogue grow exponentially throughout the first year, with over 2,000 searches performed, 350+ items of content being uploaded onto the catalogue and more than 14,000 recorded visits. 

As a result, the business now has central KPI and business definitions for first time and has also become a single inventory for reports which enables direct future report development effort. 

IN a Nutshell

A data catalogue is an ever-evolving and rich tool that has the ability to revolutionise the way data is seen and used across organisations. By considering what lies beyond the implementation of your data catalogue you are ensuring your organisation has the right elements in place for successful adoption which is key to realising value. By building the right team and allowing them to lead you towards the right processes that support business needs, you can set your data catalogue up for long-term success that is sustainable. 


Martin Janota 
Lead Data Consultant | Redkite 

With over 10 years’ experience, Martin is Redkite’s Lead Data Consultant for our Data Cataloguing capability. He has worked across many sectors including retail, energy, banking and pharmaceutical specialising in data analytics, data science and data governance.  

If you would like to talk to Martin about rolling out a data catalogue and the best ways to achieve business-wide adoption, drop him an email at [email protected] or connect with him on LinkedIn.

Phil Jones 
Lead Data Consultant | Redkite 

As Redkite’s Lead Data Consultant for Data Governance, Quality and Cataloguing and a DAMA Board Member, Phil has a wealth of diverse experience. Over nearly 25 years at Marks & Spencer, he set up the data governance strategy and framework, and technology enablers including the implementation, rollout, and adoption of data catalogue. 

To chat with Phil about all things data strategy, get in touch with him at [email protected] or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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