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Alation boosts platform with new data governance application

The new Alation service provides a series of capabilities to improve governance, including a centralized dashboard and data steward workbench for managing workflow.

Alation added another layer of functionality to its namesake data platform with the general availability on Tuesday of a new data governance application.

Alation Inc., based in Redwood City, Calif., develops a data catalog platform that helps organizations better access and manage data used for data analytics and business intelligence.

Alation has provided a limited degree of data governance in its platform before and is now expanding with an add-on application that provides a unified dashboard to monitor and manage governance efforts and also serve as a centralized policy center. 

Data governance has been going through a transition in recent years from a disabling process to an enabling process, said Dave Menninger, an analyst at Ventana Research. For example, he noted that just a few years ago, data governance was aimed almost entirely at preventing people from accessing data that for which they were not permissioned.

"With the advent of data catalogs, data governance has the potential to be much more about enabling people to find and use the information they need," Menninger said. "The data catalog provides a natural home for data governance, bringing both data consumers and data stewards together in a common platform."

Screenshot of Alation data governance app
Alation's new data governance app provides a dashboard for users to better understand and govern data.

With new application, expanding data governance capabilities

Alation co-founder and CEO Satyen Sangani said that while his company's platform had some data governance capabilities, there has been demand from users for more functionality.

One of the new capabilities that the Alation Data Governance App provides is governance workflow, which Sangani said provides orchestration and coordination. The workflow capabilities are complemented with a policy center that enables administrators to define data governance policies and then manage them over time as users access data.

With the advent of data catalogs, data governance has the potential to be much more about enabling people to find and use the information they need.
Dave MenningerAnalyst, Ventana Research

Beyond just managing policies, Sangani said that Alation is also providing a data stewardship workbench. Using the workbench, data stewards can coordinate their work managing data so that it can be used.

Data governance application on a dashboard

Sangani explained that before the new data governance app, there wasn't a centralized way for organizations to manage data governance policies across the Alation data catalog.

As part of the new app, Alation now has a governance dashboard that provides that central location to understand how data is governed across the organization.

The central dashboard also makes it easier for organizations to see how they are doing with compliance initiatives related to data.

Sangani noted enterprises can more easily align their data governance efforts with data privacy laws such as GDPR and CCPA, as the dashboard will show how they are using data.

Alation update brings new open connector framework

Alongside the data governance application, Alation is made generally available its 2021.3 data catalog platform update. Among the new features is an open connector framework for data ingestion.

Sangani explained that the open connector framework provides a low-code interface to help organization build connections to data sources. The data connector framework  integrates authentication verification capabilities for connecting with secured data sources as well as provides profiling information for data lineage.

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