Monday, May 10, 2021

Best Data Governance Tools & Software 2021

Data governance involves implementing comprehensive policies and processes that ensure the quality and security of your data, while also complying with relevant regulations. It is closely related to data management. In fact, some people define data governance as one aspect of data management, or data management as one aspect of data governance.

The difference between the two is that data governance takes a holistic, over-arching view of the data lifecycle from a business perspective, while data management is more concerned with the tools, services, and repositories used to handle that data.

Simply put, data governance deals with your data strategy, while data management deals with tactics.

Data governance software comes in two different flavors: standalone solutions and integrated data platforms. Many vendors integrate data governance into their data quality, data catalog, data management or even analytics software.

Both types of tools usually offer key features like the ability to create a glossary of business terms data lineage, and rules-based workflows, and many incorporate automation, artificial intelligence (AI) and/or machine learning (ML). Some also include data discovery, master data management, data cleansing, data integration and other data capabilities.

How to Select Data Governance Software

If you are in the market for data governance software, keep these tips in mind:

  • Identify your key users. Some data governance tools are designed for general business users, some for IT and some for data science professionals. Make sure you understand which group will be using the tool most at your organization.
  • Clarify your needs. When people say they are looking for a data governance solution, they are sometimes really looking for a data quality or master data management or data integration solution. Make sure you understand exactly what capabilities you need in a data governance product.
  • Match your needs to products. Very few vendors offer software that does only data governance. Most of them incorporate other related capabilities, but those related capabilities vary widely. You will need to shop carefully to make sure you get exactly what you need without overpaying for features that won’t be useful.
  • Take a test drive. Many of the vendors advertise free trials. Take advantage of these offerings before you buy.

With those tips in mind, here are ten data management platform vendors you might want to consider:

Jump to:

Best Data Data Governance Tools

ASG Technologies

Founded in 1986 in Naples, Florida, ASG Technologies sells a variety of enterprise software, primarily related to information management and IT systems management. Its Enterprise Data Intelligence solution includes data governance capabilities. ASG has more than 3500 customers, including Clemson University, Primerica, Postbank and Liberty Mutual Insurance.

Enterprise Data Intelligence incorporates a wide range of features like federated business glossary, automated data lineage, automated data asset inventory, enterprise metadata repository, reference data management, data privacy and compliance, workflows and impact analysis. Its metadata management capabilities are particularly noteworthy.

A demo and pricing are available on request.


      • Organizations that need a wide range of features will appreciate the ASG product’s breadth.
      • Enterprise Data Intelligence makes extensive use of AI and automation to streamline operations.
      • Its data lineage and metadata capabilities are particularly good.


      • The tool is designed more for the IT staff who use ASG’s other products than for business professionals.
      • The interface is not as easy to use as some of the other options.
      • Deployment can be difficult in complex environments.


Founded in 2008, Ataccama is based in Toronto, Canada, with offices in New York City, London, Prague, Munich, Paris, Sydney, Sofia, and Moscow. It offers Ataccama ONE, a self-driving data management and governance platform that includes modules for data quality, master data management, data catalog, reference data management, data integration and data profiling. It boasts more than 55,000 users and customers that include American Airlines, Avast, BlueCross BlueShield, CBRE, TIAA, SAG AFTRA, T Mobile, TD Bank and others.

Incorporating AI capabilities, Ataccama ONE has advanced automation capabilities, including automatic anomaly detection, automated assignment of business rules, rapid MDM model development, automated data discovery, automatic policy enforcement, automated data quality calculations and more. It runs natively on most big data platforms, including Spark, AWS, Databricks, Hadoop, Hortonworks, Cloudera, MapR, Google and Azure. Designed for enterprises, it promises high availability, disaster recovery, full-audit history and role-based security.

Pricing is available on request. The company offers a demos and a free 30-day trial.


      • Ataccama ONE integrates multiple data qualify and governance capabilities into a single platform.
      • It offers multiple deployment options, including platform as a service (PaaS).
      • The platform’s heavy reliance on automation and AI improves efficiency.


      • Some customers say they wish it had better data visualization capabilities, but the firm recently purchased the Tellstory data visualization platform, which could help it improve in this area.
      • Updates are sometimes buggy and difficult to deploy.
      • It can be difficult to get the software up and running unless you hire one of the company’s consultants.


A pure-play startup based in Brussels, Belgium, Collibra describes itself as a “data intelligence company.” Its platform includes data catalog, lineage, privacy and quality capabilities, as well as data governance. Its customers include Adobe, AXA XL, DNB, Equifax, Honeywell, NetApp, AstraZeneca, Credit Suisse, T-Mobile, Southwest Airlines, Dell Technologies, Verizon and others.

Collibra’s Data Governance product includes business glossary, data dictionary, policy manager and reference data management capabilities. It incorporates automation and collaboration tools that help improve productivity. It is part of the Data Intelligence Cloud and integrates with other Collibra products.

Pricing is available on request. The company offers a free demo.


      • As part of a larger data intelligence platform, Collibra is a good option for organizations that need data quality, data catalog and other services, as well as data governance.
      • The tool is very flexible.
      • Customers give Collibra’s sales and support teams high marks.


      • Some customers complain that the interface is clunky.
      • Although the tool is available as software as a service (SaaS), deployment can be difficult.
      • The search capabilities aren’t as robust as they could be.

Erwin/Quest Software

Now owned by Quest Software, Erwin began as data modeling software created by Logic Works in the early 1990s. After multiple mergers and acquisitions, the Erwin company emerged in 2016 and also began offering Enterprise Data Governance Experience, or EDGE, products. Its customers include Adecco, Balfour Beatty Construction, CenturyLink, Fidelity International, Royal Bank of Scotland, and others.

Erwin’s flagship data governance offering is its Data Intelligence Suite, which includes data catalog, data literacy, and automation capabilities. It allows users to discover and harvest data, structure and deploy data sources, analyze metadata, map data flows, create and manage governance models and enable self-service.

A free trial is available. Prices are available on request or through resellers.


      • Because it is a complete data suite, the tool offers a wide range of features.
      • It is highly customizable.
      • Customers say the price is very affordable.


      • Some customers would like to see more robust ETL capabilities.
      • The user interface is not as easy to use as some other data governance tools.
      • Search capabilities are inadequate.


A long-time provider of data management and data quality software, IBM offers data governance capabilities through its cloud-based IBM Watson Knowledge Catalog. Organizations that use the service include Danske Bank and Standard Bank Group. Both Gartner and Forrester named IBM a Leader in this market, and the tool also won the Gartner Peer Insights Customer Choice Award for 2020.

IBM Watson Knowledge Catalog can be deployed on the IBM Cloud or on a private cloud through IBM Cloud Pak for Data. In addition to data governance capabilities, it includes intelligent discovery recommendations, an end-to-end catalog, data lineage, quality scores and self-service insights. It promises flexibility while allowing organizations to improve their analytics, data privacy, and security.

If you want to deploy IBM Watson Knowledge Catalog on IBM Cloud Pak for Data, you will need to contact the company for pricing. If you purchase it as a service on IBM Cloud, you have the option of three different pricing tiers: Lite (free), Standard ($300 per instance, $0.50 per capacity unit-hour, and $50 for each additional user) and Professional ($7,000 per instance, $0.40 per capacity unit-hour and $300 per additional user).


      • IBM’s years of experience in this market have resulted in the development of a robust, high-quality product.
      • IBM has strong support for DataOps workflows.
      • Customers say the solution provides good value for the cost.


      • IBM could improve the data quality capabilities of the product.
      • Customers say it took them a while to learn to use the tool.
      • Some customers would like it to be easier to integrate the product with other enterprise software.


Best known for its Intelligent Data Platform, Informatica offers a variety of data-related products and services, including its Data Quality and Governance software. Customers that use its data governance tools include Adventist Health System, the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism, UNC Health, McGraw-Hill Education, AIA, eBay, Franciscan Alliance, PayPal and others.

Informatica builds data governance features into many of its products, and it also offers a standalone product called Axon Data Governance. Built to meet the needs of large enterprises, it is highly scalable, customizable, designed for use by teams, and cloud-based. Key features include AI and machine learning, a collaborative business glossary, data lineage, automated data quality, and privacy and compliance. It integrates with other Informatica products, including its Data Quality offering.

Pricing is available on request. Informatica offers free trials for some products, including Data Quality, but not for Axon Data Governance.


      • Axon Data Governance integrates with other Informatica data products, making it attractive to current Informatica customers.
      • Informatica has deep AI experience, which is reflected in its data governance products.
      • The data marketplace makes it easy to empower business users for self-service and democratize data.


      • The solution is not easy to deploy or integrate with other tools.
      • Customers that only use one Informatica product might find that they don’t get sufficient value for the price.
      • Informatica does not offer an easy way to try or demo the software.


Recently acquired by venture capital firms Clearlake and TA Associates, Precisely was formed from a merger between Syncsort and Pitney Bowes Software & Data. It offers multiple products related to data quality and data integration. It boasts more than 12,000 customers, including Crowley Maritime, DNB, Ironstream, Babcock Marine and Technology Division, PermataBank, and others.

Precisely offers data governance capabilities through its Data Integrity Suite. It encompasses data quality, data integration, data enrichment and location intelligence features, but it has a modular design, so customers can purchase only the portions of the suite that they need. It integrates with many popular enterprise applications and systems — including mainframes — and it includes data cleansing features.

Pricing is available on request, and a demo is available.


      • Precisely is one of the few tools on this list that includes data enrichment and location intelligence.
      • The modular architecture makes it easy to get only the capabilities you need.
      • Precisely is one of the few tools specifically designed to handle data that resides in mainframes.


      • Precisely’s data governance features are not as robust as its other capabilities.
      • Only limited documentation about the solution is available.
      • The tool is not particularly easy to deploy.


Well known for its ERP and other enterprise software, SAP offers a highly rated data governance product. Customers that use it include Neste, CJ Logistics, Tetra Pak and Dohler.

SAP’s tool is called Enterprise Master Data Governance, and it combines master data management with data governance capabilities. It can be installed on premise or in a private cloud, and it includes pre-built data models, business rules, workflow, and user interfaces. It allows organizations to create a single source of truth while also establishing policies and procedures for data quality and governance.

Customers have two pricing options for Enterprise Master Data Governance: by domain or with a comprehensive enterprise license to cover multiple domains. Details available upon request. A demo and a free trial are also available.


      • Organizations that use other SAP will likely find it easy to integrate Master Data Governance into their environment.
      • The free trial makes the software easy to try.
      • Customers say they appreciate the rules-based workflows.


      • The interface is not intuitive.
      • Organizations will likely need training in order to deploy and use it.
      • Customers say its handling of bulk data needs to be improved.


SAS, long known as a leader in data management and analytics, has a large customer base for its Data Governance software. SAS data management customers include BMC Software, Credit Guarantee Corporation, Delaware State Police, Florida Department of Corrections and many others.

SAS sells several different software packages that incorporate data governance capabilities, but the most notable is its Information Governance software. Its key features include data cataloging, data preparation, automatic discovery, classification of private data, flexible search and integration with the Viya analytics software.

A free trial is a available on the SAS website, and pricing and a demo are available on request.


      • Organizations that already use SAS analytics or data integration software will benefit from adding data governance from the same vendor.
      • The SAS product is one of the most full-featured on the market.
      • SAS technical support gets glowing reviews from customers.


      • SAS’s data governance products are not as highly rated as many of its other data-related products.
      • Some customers say they wish the tool were more flexible.
      • SAS pricing is very difficult to understand.


Talend’s flagship product is its Unified Data Fabric, which includes data integrity and governance, data integration and application and API integration capabilities. Its long list of customers has names like GlaxoSmithKline, SiriusXM, the Singapore Tourism Board, Vodafone, AutoZone, Air France, Bayer Pharmaceuticals and many others.

Designed for large enterprises, Unified Data Fabric makes extensive use of automation and emphasizes collaboration and self-service capabilities. Key data governance features include a data catalog, data inventory, data preparation and data stewardship.

Talend has a free, open source version of its product, and it lists pricing for many of its cloud-based services on its website. However, to get pricing for the full Data Fabric product that includes all the data governance features, you will need to request a quote.


  • If you want a single solution to do data management, integration and governance, the Talend product is very full-featured.
  • Talend stands out for its ease of use.
  • Talend is also easy to deploy and integrate with other enterprise applications.


  • The company’s technical support gets some negative reviews.
  • The on-premise version is much more difficult to run than the cloud version.
  • Some customers would like to see improvements in monitoring capabilities.

Data Governance Comparison Table

Data Governance Software



ASG Technologies

· Broad features

· AI and automation

· Excellent
data lineage features

· Designed for IT, not business users

· Not intuitive

· Difficult deployment


· Integrated data quality and

· Multiple deployment options

· Automation and AI

· Data visualization needs

· Buggy updates

· Requires help from consultants


· Full-featured

· Flexible

· Excellent
customer support

· Clunky interface

· Difficult deployment

· Poor search


· Full-features

· Highly customizable

· Affordable

· ETL needs improvement

· Not intuitive

· Poor search


· High quality

· Support for DataOps

· Good value

· Data quality features need improvement

· Difficult to learn

· Difficult integration


· Integrates with other
Informatica products

· AI capabilities

· Data marketplace

· Difficult to deploy

· High price

· No easy trial or demo


· Data enrichment and location intelligence

· Modular architecture

· Mainframe support

· Data governance features need improvement

· Limited documentation

· Difficult to deploy


· Integration with other SAP

· Free trial

· Excellent rules-based workflows

· Not intuitive

· Requires training

· Poor bulk data handling


· Easy integration with other SAS products

· Full-features

· Excellent
technical support

· Not as good as other SAS products

· Inflexible

· Complicated pricing


· Full-featured

· Easy-to-use

· Easy deployment and integration

· Poor technical support

· Difficult to manage on-prem

· Needs better monitoring


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