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December 6, 2023

Alation Releases New State of Data Culture Maturity Report

Data lake's risk becoming dumping grounds without proper governance

Over the last decade, businesses have strived to become more “data-driven”. However, to truly harness the vast stores of internal and external data, organizations need to have high data maturity. It can help a business handle data, analyze it, extract meaningful insights, and act on those insights to grow. 

Alation, a leading enterprise data intelligence solutions provider, has announced the results of a new report that shines a light on the state of data maturity across a range of industries. The report is based on a survey of 292 global data leaders to learn where data culture maturity stands today—and where it’s going. 

The Alation report highlights the importance of developing a data culture to drive business success. It outlines four key pillars that organizations must develop to mature their data culture: data leadership, data search and discovery, data literacy, and data governance.

Over half the respondents (63 percent) shared that their organization has limited usage of search and discovery tools with the biggest hurdles being a lack of metadata, localized knowledge, and data silos. 

Organizations have increased their focus on data governance, as the report shows that 70 percent of organizations have plans for improving governance in the coming year. More than half (56 percent) describe the data governance strategy of their organization as offensive, where they are striving to enable data usage to support business growth rather than defensive, where they are protecting the business from risk and regulatory infringement. This increased focus on governance reflects a maturing understanding of the responsibility that comes with leveraging data for strategic decision-making.

In terms of data leadership, only 1 in 4 respondents describe their data leadership as strong. If the leadership doesn’t recognize the link between investing in data and analytics and staying ahead of the competition, the chances of the data culture pillar suffering are high. 

The respondents highlighted business value creation, compliance, and data governance as the top priorities for their company’s data and analytics strategy. The findings show that there is a high correlation between the ability to discover trusted data and higher rates of data literacy in the organization. Interestingly AI use cases ranked as one of the lowest ranked importance.

“It is poetic how this report uses data to illustrate the value of being data-driven,” said Julie Smith, Director of Data and Analytics at Alation. “Fostering a data-centric culture in organizations involves providing individuals with essential tools to search and access reliable data efficiently. This enhances innovation and agility, ultimately granting organizations a sought-after competitive edge. With these advantages to be won, organizations need a clear and fast way to plot a path forward in their data maturity.”

The two key takeaways from the Alation research are that having a strong data culture is linked to achieving revenue goals and that organizations that excel in adopting data culture pillars of data search and discovery, literacy, and data governance are most likely to exceed their revenue goals. A recent report by data intelligence specialist Collibra also points to similar conclusions as Alation’s report that data maturity can help drive better business outcomes. It looks like before companies tackle AI and ML initiatives, they need to figure out their data maturity level and make it better for a strong foundation for more advanced technologies. 

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