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September 29, 2021

Progress Spotted in Data Culture Development


Among the variables impacting data-driven business success, the speed at which a company adopts what’s described as a “data culture” is perhaps one of the least understood phenomena. It’s one reason why Alation put in place its State of Data Culture report. And according to the third installment in the series, things are starting to look up.

Data catalog and governance provider Alation debuted its State of Data Culture report one year ago, and the first results were not pretty, and there was substantial room for improvement.

That first study, based on a survey of 300 business leaders, highlighted a disconnect between what those company leaders thought of their company’s data cultures, and what the metrics of the data culture maturity actually showed.

In other words, companies thought they were doing a lot better in the culture department than they were actually doing when it came to reaching certain milestones along the three pillars of data culture, which Alation defines as data search and discovery, data literacy, and data governance. It was a classic case of grade inflation, Alation co-founder Aaron Kalb told Datanami at the time.

Alation released the third installment of the study today and, my, what a difference a year makes. The company detected substantial improvement across all three pillars, including a 22 % increase in company adoption of data literacy across all or most departments, a 15% increase in company adoption of data search and discovery, and 14% increase in company adoption of data governance.

The survey found that most companies are reporting a growth in data culture over the past 12 months. Of the companies reporting positive gains in the culture department, 54% report that investment in tools like data intelligence and data catalogs have helped that growth.

Alation spotted improvement in adoption of the three elements of data culture, according to its Data Culture Index for 2021

The big takeaway is that organizations are rapidly investing in data culture, adopting data literacy, data search and discovery, and data governance, says Satyen Sangani, CEO and co-founder of Alation.

“This report should be a wakeup call for the companies that want to delay their data investments by another year or even another quarter,” Sangani says in a press release. “Building a data culture is the only sustainable way to develop a consistent competitive advantage.”

By the way, Alation is no longer just a data catalog company. Earlier this month, the Redwood City, California company announced its first data governance solution. Considering that the data catalog was where users were already performing data governance tasks, such as asserting data quality, documenting datasets, and tagging data it made sense for Alation to reach into this adjacent discipline.

You can download a copy of Alation’s latest Data Culture Index at this link.

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