Thursday, June 20, 2024

Best Data Governance Tools & Software

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Data governance involves implementing comprehensive policies and processes that ensure the quality and security of your most sensitive 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 vice-versa.

What is the Difference Between Data Governance and Data Management?

The difference between the two is that a data governance tool takes a holistic, overarching 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 software deals with your data strategy, while management solutions deal with tactics.

What Types of Data Governance Software Exist?

Data governance solutions come in two different flavors: standalone data governance software and integrated data platforms. Many vendors integrate data governance into their data quality, data catalog, or even analytics software. A data governance framework is typically needed when organizations need to ensure compliance with laws related to protecting sensitive client, patient, or customer data.

Both types of tools usually offer key features like the ability to create a glossary of business terms, data lineage, and rules-based workflows. Many also incorporate automation, artificial intelligence (AI), and/or machine learning (ML). Some also include data discovery, master data management (MDM), 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 as high up as your Chief Data Officer (CDO). 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, MDM, or data integration solution. Make sure you understand exactly what capabilities you need in a data governance tool.
  • 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. You should also check if your solution integrates with other top solutions that you’ll need for data access management, unstructured data management, and identity governance.
  • Take a test drive. Many of the vendors advertise free trials. Take advantage of these offerings before you buy.

Learn about the Top Data Management Challenges and Opportunities Facing IT Leaders.

With those tips in mind, here are ten data governance vendors you might want to consider, as well as some data governance best practices:

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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 strategy and capabilities for the enterprise user. ASG has more than 3,500 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 product 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 MDM, data catalog, 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 features like automatic anomaly detection, automated assignment of business rules, rapid MDM model development, automated data discovery, automatic policy enforcement, 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 data security.

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


      • Ataccama ONE integrates multiple data quality and governance capabilities into a single platform, including data discovery.
      • 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 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 catalog and data governance.
      • The platform 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 Logicworks 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 effective data 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 software for management and quality, IBM Data Governance capabilities are offered through the cloud-based IBM Watson Knowledge Catalog. Organizations that use the service include Danske Bank and Standard Bank Group. The solution has done well in the enterprise technology analyst report space. 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 other big data solutions for 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 big data 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, and privacy and regulatory compliance best practices and support. It integrates well with other Informatica products.

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 data democratization.


      • 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 a robust data governance program through its Data Integrity Suite. It encompasses 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, making it a strong solution for most any data source.

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 platform is not particularly easy to deploy.


Well known for its ERP and other enterprise software, SAP also 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 MDM with data governance capabilities. SAP Master Data Governance can be installed on-premises 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 purchasing SAP MDG: by domain or with a comprehensive enterprise license to cover multiple domains. Details are available upon request. A demo and a free trial are also available.


      • Organizations that use other SAP tools 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 big data analytics and management, 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 for a variety of data owner types, 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 Viya analytics software.

A free trial is 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 for experienced data stewards.

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 product that includes all the data governance features, you will need to request a quote.


      • If you want a single solution to do data 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-premises version is much more difficult to run than the cloud version.
      • Some customers would like to see improvements in monitoring capabilities.

Learn more: Top Data Management Platforms & Software 2022

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 governance

· 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-featured

· 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-featured

· 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 version

· Needs better monitoring


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