10 Top Metadata Management Tools

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Metadata management solutions play a key role in managing data for organizations of all shapes and sizes, particularly in the cloud computing era. The need for a framework to aggregate and manage diverse sources of Big Data and data analytics — and extract the maximum value from it — is indisputable. Metadata management is designed to address this task. It provides powerful tools that put information assets to work more effectively — including ratcheting up governance and compliance while reducing risk.

Metadata management solutions oversee data across its entire lifecycle. This typically covers four primary areas: data analysis, data value, data governance, and risk and compliance. It may include enterprise metadata management (EMM), which includes the processes, responsibilities, and technology necessary – particularly your data center – so that metadata adds value across the entire company. 

Metadata management solutions typically include a number of tools and features. These include metadata repositories, a business glossary, data lineage and tracking capabilities, impact analysis features, rules management, semantic frameworks, and metadata ingestion and translation.

Organizations looking to take their metadata management framework to the next level should review vendors closely and make an informed decision. Not surprisingly, while all offer powerful features, some are a better fit for a particular enterprise than others.

Tips on Selecting the Right Application Performance Monitoring Tool

  • Conduct a thorough analysis of your organization’s requirements. It should come as no surprise that different organizations in different industries require different tools, solutions, and vendors. Your organization may need to manage data more effectively so that it can put it to use in analytics or machine learning. Or it may need to establish a stronger framework for industry standards or regulatory compliance. A starting point is to identify the objectives that surround an initiative, what data should be better managed, why and where current gaps exist, and what’s required to build a bridge to a more effective metadata management strategy.
  • Carefully review different solutions and understand their strengths and weaknesses. As with any enterprise application, metadata management solutions are not created equal. Some vendors focus their products more for the regulatory concerns of financial services or healthcare while others specialize in the need to gain insights in retail or manufacturing. Some vendors excel in data cataloguing or impact analysis while others have better semantic search capabilities, business glossaries and rule management in place—or integrated machine learning and automation. Also, consider the set of partners a vendor has in place and the solution provider’s vision and roadmap for the future.
  • Take into account licensing costs, consulting fees, training, security and ancillary factors. It’s critical to understand the full cost of any software application and enterprise program before embarking on it. Metadata management is particularly tricky because it touches so many corners of the organization. It may involve an array of direct and indirect costs—including a need to adapt and better integrate IT and security. Make no mistake, vendors offer remarkably different products, business models and service delivery methods. This may result in unexpected issues and costs, including training and security.

In this Datamation article for metadata tools, we have identified 10 top vendors/tools:

Jump to:

Alation

Value proposition for potential buyers: The vendor’s Data Catalog solution delivers automated data inventory within a highly searchable catalog, along with a powerful recommendation engine. The approach is designed for both data scientists and business users. It steers clear of technical jargon and promotes a best practice approach through collaborative endorsements and warnings. Alation was ranked as a “Leader” in the 2018 Gartner Magic Quadrant (MQ) for Metadata Management Solutions.

Key values/differentiators:

  • Alation supports numerous key metadata management tasks, including data valuation, the use of active metadata and trust models for decision-making, and proprietary frameworks designed for data scientists, data analysts, business users, and others seeking information.
  • The vendor’s partnerships include many industry heavyweights, including Teradata, Tableau, MicroStrategy, Hortonworks, Cloudera, IBM, Microsoft, Vertica and Trifacta. Alation supports a wide array of use cases and offers a high level of flexibility in the way metadata is ingested and managed.
  • The platform offers rich collaborative tools that allows groups and users to share information and insights derived from raw data. This includes data about top users, column-level popularity of data, and shared data and filters. It also includes company-specific data dictionaries and wiki articles.

Read user reviews of Alation

Alex Solutions

Value proposition for potential buyers: Alex Solutions produces a marketplace for enterprise data through a robust and highly flexible data catalog, a customizable business glossary, intelligent tagging and policy driven data quality that takes place through detailed data profiling and machine learning. The platform also offers technology agnostic metadata scanners and built-in workflows. Gartner ranked the firm a “Leader” in its 2018 Gartner MQ for Metadata Management Solutions.

Key values/differentiators:

  • The platform supports use cases and specific regulatory requirements across a wide range of industries. It delivers powerful tools for broad and deep data management through a central enterprise marketplace.
  • Alex Solutions provides a set of tools and features that are designed to appeal to different user groups across a broad ecosystem. This may include data scientists, analytics specialists, regulatory executives and teams, and security and privacy specialists.
  • The platform supports a high level of automation, including the ability to capture end-to-end data lineage, identify sensitive data, understand usage and access patterns, and more. This makes it a powerful tool for managing a combination of on-premises data and cloud data. The product also includes industry-leading tools for metadata stewardship and data quality controls.

ASG Technologies

Value proposition for potential buyers: ASG Enterprise Data Intelligence (EDI) delivers a powerful and intuitive platform with a broad set of features and rich functionality. It includes tools for auto-discovery, cataloging, lineage, reference data management and governance. The vendor addresses the need to capture, manage and deliver data at web scale, through a secure portal. Gartner designated the firm a Leader in its 2018 Gartner MQ for Metadata management solutions.

Key values/differentiators:

  • ASG offers a high level of oversight and management, including the ability to monitor systems performance across teams, automate job processing, and schedule and automate workloads across the platform.
  • The vendor places a heavy emphasis on automating data inventory for regulatory compliance and agility. This includes GDPR and the recently passed California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA). The application automates scanning and identification of data in order to locate personally identifiable information (PII).
  • ASG EDI supports more than 220 data sources and numerous programming languages. The ability to bridge data silos makes the solution valuable for tackling numerous tasks, including gaining deeper insight into a supply chain. Moreover, the platform supports metadata exports to authorized downstream applications.

Collibra

Key values/differentiators: The vendor offers powerful data governance and cataloging capabilities designed to consume and manage data across an enterprise. Collibra takes a collaborative approach to managing metadata. It focuses on group interactions by establishing user roles for data ownership and consumption. The vendor has designed the platform to work with emerging digital technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. Collibra was ranked as a “Leader” in the 2018 Gartner MQ for Metadata Management Solutions.

Value proposition for potential buyers:

  • The platform is highly flexible and configurable. It can address areas as diverse as financials, customers, products, services, supply chains or personnel. All of this metadata can be connected to risk, regulations and governance through overlays and specific policies and rules.
  • Collibra uses a ticketing approach to establish itself as the system of record for data. Gartner describes the approach as “innovative” and noted in the Metadata Management Solutions MQ that the vendor supports an understanding and trust of data at a deeper level.
  • The vendor has established Collibra University and Collibra Coaching Services to help customers learn how to use the application to maximum advantage. It also offers extensive on-demand webinars and numerous other resources.

Read user reviews of Collibra

DATUM

Key values/differentiators: DATUM excels at identifying and understanding relationships in large and complex sets of enterprise data. Its solution, Information Value Management, includes powerful tools for discovery, connecting, analyzing and measuring the impact of data. It also includes features for linking data to specific business goals and showing progress against goals. Gartner ranked DATUM as a “Leader” on its 2018 MQ for Metadata Management Solutions.

Value proposition for potential buyers:

  • Information Value Management is specifically designed to accommodate disparate enterprise data. It ties together several key metadata management tasks within a unified metadata management platform. These include performance management, process definition, classic data dictionaries, policy management and business glossaries.
  • The vendor offers persona-based business use cases that allow different users in an organization to accomplish tasks without heavy technical knowledge of data and metadata management. DATUM has designed its interface for a non-technical audience. It is known for ease-of-use.
  • The vendor’s focus is on managing business rules, processes and metrics that are most critical to the business. The application allows users to link fields, rules, standards, processes and metrics and view progress against goals through visual dashboards and detailed reports.

IBM

Key values/differentiators: IBM’s InfoSphere Information Governance Catalog delivers a broad set of tools and features that address metadata management. This includes a collaborative authoring environment that helps users create a central catalog of enterprise-specific terminology, including relationships to data assets, along with robust filters for understanding lineage and numerous data relationships. The platform addresses business requirements across numerous industry and data domains. IBM appeared as a “Leader” on the Gartner 2018 MQ for Metadata Management Solutions.

Key values/differentiators:

  • The metadata management solution includes powerful tools for browsing and searching for terms and categories within the catalog. This includes the ability to view definitions, usage, and related terms. Consequently, an analyst can view information governance rules and information assets that are related to the term and flesh out details about these assets.
  • IBM has adopted a Unified Governance and Integration Platform that streamlines and automates innovation in data and analytics governance and stewardship. The framework, based on IBM’s metadata and governance reference architecture, taps AI and machine learning, including through its public cloud offering, Watson Knowledge Catalog.
  • IBM has adopted an open framework for metadata management. It is collaborating with other vendors, including Hortonworks, to create more open and integrated data environments for metadata.

Read user reviews of IBM

Informatica

Value proposition for potential buyers: Informatica delivers a comprehensive, unified view of metadata, business context, tagging, relationships, data quality, and usage. The platform is designed for a wide array of users, including data analysts, data scientists, data stewards, and data engineers. It includes tools for business, technical and operational metadata management, connectors, semantic search and browse, end-to-end data lineage, data relationship discovery, and impact analysis. Gartner ranked Informatica a “Leader” in its 2018 MQ for Metadata Management Solutions.

Key values/differentiators:

  • The company has large market share and considerable clout in metadata management. It offers a powerful and highly flexible approach focused heavily on information governance and analytics capabilities aligned with the firm’s platform and application-agnostic approach. This makes the solution valuable across numerous industries and infrastructures.
  • The vendor’s end-to-end approach—encompassing enterprise data catalog, data preparation, data security, stewardship, governance and analytics—is connected to robust glossaries and a rules management framework that creates a powerful unified enterprise metadata platform.
  • The company has an ambitious vision and roadmap to expand the platform and features. This approach has spurred growing adoption of the vendor’s metadata solution across numerous markets and industries.

Read user reviews of Informatica

Oracle

Value proposition for potential buyers: Oracle offers three metadata management solutions: Oracle Enterprise Metadata Management (OEMM), Oracle Data Relationship Management (DRM), and Oracle Enterprise Data Management Cloud. The vendor’s solutions address data requirements for both Oracle and non-Oracle environments. They include data quality tools, master data management solutions, enterprise applications, platforms and more. Gartner ranked Oracle a “Leader” in its 2018 MQ for Metadata Management Solutions.

Key values/differentiators:

  • The company’s approach to metadata management is appealing to a diverse array of organizations. The applications can harvest, process and catalog metadata across a variety of platforms and frameworks, including Hadoop, ETL engines, BI, data warehouses and CASE.
  • Oracle Enterprise Metadata Management expands on the concept of a basic metadata repository. It delivers interactive searching and browsing of metadata as well as providing data lineage, impact analysis, semantic definition and semantic usage analysis for any metadata asset within the catalog.
  • The vendor is focused on integrating core capabilities into its metadata management solutions. This includes integration with business continuity, data movement, data transformation, data governance, catalogs, analytics, and streaming data solutions. Oracle is also adopting innovative approaches to cataloguing cloud data.

Read user reviews of Oracle

SAP

Value proposition for potential buyers: SAP’s offers four solutions for metadata management: SAP PowerDesigner, SAP Enterprise Architecture Designer, SAP Information Steward for metadata management, and SAP Data Hub. The company’s focus is on delivering powerful capabilities for diverse on-premises and cloud-based systems. Although various products will work with outside applications and data repositories, a primary focus for SAP is on its own enterprise applications and on specific personas. Gartner ranked Oracle a “Visionary” in its 2018 MQ for Metadata Management Solutions.

Key values/differentiators:

  • SAP has expanded its metadata management offerings over the last few years. In 2017, it introduced SAP Data Hub, which addresses organizations’ needs to manage both active and passive metadata through agile and flexible orchestration. It is designed to discover, refine, enrich, and govern any type, variety, and volume of data across a distributed data landscape.
  • SAP Information Steward for metadata management is designed to handle a wide array of tasks associated with data cleansing and validation, taxonomy, insight, metadata management and governance. The solution supports numerous sources and file types and aims to deliver continuous insight into the quality of enterprise information. It is available on-premises as well as in the cloud.
  • The vendor has recently focused on improving its cloud-based metadata management architecture for the cloud through SAP PowerDesigner and Information Steward. This has expanded the use cases and personas the solutions support.

Read user reviews of SAP

Smartlogic

Value proposition for potential buyers: The semantic AI platform from Smartlogic is designed to “transform data into knowledge” by putting metadata to work effectively. It ingests and analyzes diverse data in order to reveal targeted contextual data for tasks such as improving customer experience, contract lifecycle management, records management, data and text analytics, process automation, regulatory compliance, and information security. This makes it attractive across numerous industries, including healthcare, life sciences, media, financial services, and manufacturing. Gartner rated Smartlogic a “Leader” in its 2018 MQ for Metadata Management Solutions.

Key values/differentiators:

  • The firm offers strong semantic capabilities related to metadata management through its product Semaphore. This includes classifying and managing diverse data sets. The solution incorporates AI, natural language processing and machine learning to find and manage data relationships more effectively.
  • Semaphore uses a high level of automation and auto-classification to achieve robust information governance and metadata management. It also incorporates powerful data auditing tools and document fingerprinting in order to identify and secure important and sensitive data assets.
  • The vendor’s approach, which revolves around a metadata hub, allow it to break down many traditional data silos resulting from isolated applications and data repositories. The solution’s semantic capabilities contribute to delivering a faster and more accurate data management framework.

Metadata Management Vendors At-a-Glance

Vendor

Focus

Key Differentiator

Key features

Alation

Metadata management for diverse user groups, with an emphasis on collaboration.

Uses active metadata and trust models for decision-making. Strong partnerships and rich collaboration tools.

Offers automation to build models for decision-making; strong data sharing and filters.

Alex Solutions

Robust metadata framework for different user groups and personas.

Delivers a marketplace for metadata through an approach that includes a robust data catalog.

Powerful tools for end-to-end data lineage, spotting sensitive data, and understanding usage and access behavior.

ASG Technologies

Auto-discovery, cataloging, lineage, reference data management and governance for diverse enterprise data. Offers a secure portal for managing metadata.

Offers a high level of oversight and management, including monitoring systems performance across teams, automating job processing, and schedule and automate workloads across the platform.

Supports more than 220 data sources and numerous programming languages.

Collibra

Powerful and highly flexible data governance and cataloging capabilities that consume and manage data across an enterprise.

Highly configurable environment for different industries, types of business, risks and regulations, and personas. Designed to work with emerging technologies like the IoT and machine learning.

Proprietary “ticketing” approach delivers strong metadata support. Strong educational and support framework.

DATUM

Identifying and understanding relationships in large and complex sets of enterprise data.

Offers persona-based business use cases that allow different users to accomplish tasks without technical knowledge of metadata management.

Allows users to link fields, rules, standards, processes and metrics—and view progress against goals through visual dashboards and detailed reports.

IBM

Offers a broad set of tools and features built around collaborative authoring.

Addresses business and metadata requirements across numerous industry and data domains through an open framework.

Creates a central catalog of enterprise-specific terminology, including relationships to data assets, along with robust filters, for understanding lineage and data relationships.

Informatica

Delivers a comprehensive, unified view of metadata, business context, tagging, relationships, data quality, and usage across numerous user groups and personas.

A flexible approach focused heavily on information governance and analytics capabilities aligned with the firm’s platform and application-agnostic approach.

Offers an enterprise data catalog, data preparation, data security, stewardship, governance and analytics—all connected to robust glossaries and a rules management framework.

Oracle

Three metadata management solutions that address requirements for both Oracle and non-Oracle systems.

Delivers interactive searching and browsing of metadata as well as providing data lineage, impact analysis, semantic definition and semantic usage analysis for any metadata asset within the catalog

Solutions can harvest, process and catalog metadata from diverse platforms and frameworks, including Hadoop, ETL engines, BI, data warehouses and CASE.

SAP

Four solutions designed for different enterprise metadata management requirements, both on premise and in the cloud.

SAP is a logical choice for those using the firm’s enterprise solutions. However, it is expanding use cases and personas to include other platforms and data.

Data Hub addresses both active and passive metadata through agile and flexible orchestration. Information Steward addresses data cleansing and validation, taxonomy, insight, metadata management and governance.

Smartlogic

A semantic AI platform that aims to “transform data into knowledge” through automated AI-based metadata management.

Delivers automation and auto-classification to achieve robust information governance and metadata management across numerous industries.

Incorporates powerful data auditing tools and document fingerprinting in order to identify and secure important and sensitive data assets.

 



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