Introducing Agile Data Governance – Alation TrustCheck

Jason Ma
Jason Ma

“The key point is that no organization governs information simply because it can; there has to be a business context, and the increasing realization of this context explains the rise of information stewardship applications.”  – May 2018 Gartner Market Guide for Information Stewardship Applications

The rise of data lakes, IOT analytics, and big data pipelines has introduced a new world of fast, big data. Now, agility and self-service are favored over batch processing and dependency on IT. This new world of analytics has introduced a different set of complexities that have propelled IT organizations to build new technology infrastructures. But, enterprises have still failed to realize the ROI. Gartner predicts that the global analytics market will grow to $22.8 billion by the end of 2020, but despite the spend many organizations are still failing to see the return on investment.

One reason is because traditional data governance models conform to an old world of analytics that focus on controlling data access and fail to succeed in the free-flowing world of self-service reporting, BI, and analytics.

How Data Catalogs Can Help

Data catalogs evolved as a key component of the data governance revolution by creating a bridge between the new world and old world of data governance. By surfacing business context and automating the acquisition of direct and indirect signals about how data is actually used in an organization, data catalogs change the traditional governance approach from reactive to proactive.

Traditional information governance has revolved around a top-down permission model where workflow requests are approved or denied, and access to data is restricted by “gates.” Instead of empowering data consumers, this model becomes a barrier to data consumption and is difficult to scale in a self-service analytics environment where more people should be empowered to use data. “Gates” are a common method of policy enforcement but lead to a reactive approach to compliance where action comes only after critical mistakes have been made. Instead, there needs to be a move to a “bottom-up,” grassroots model where “guardrails” proactively guide data consumers to the desired behavior in real time to ensure compliance without restricting agility.

Alation TrustCheck Powering Recommendations for Information Stewards

With the general availability of Alation V R1, we are announcing Alation TrustCheck, a new foundation for agile information stewardship that supports the revolution in data governance. TrustCheck integrates with the Alation Data Catalog and appears directly within the Alation Compose application as users write queries. TrustCheck also integrates with third-party business intelligence tools through our native APIs and is immediately available in Alation V R1 with Tableau Server and Salesforce Einstein analytics.

Just like agile programming transformed development efforts, leading to greater innovation and responsiveness, TrustCheck transforms information stewardship, leading to more effective and responsive data governance. With TrustCheck, best practices and compliance rules can be shared easily and embedded directly into the workflow of the data consumers.

By driving Agile information Stewardship through recommendations of best practices, TrustCheck provides “guardrails” that guide analysis, whether users are writing SQL queries or leveraging BI dashboards. These “guardrails” help surface valuable usage patterns in the organization and promote best practices directly within a user’s natural workflow. The result is greater adherence to governance guidelines and rules while maintaining the free-flowing approach to data analysis that is essential to self-service.

TrustCheck with Alation Compose

In TrustCheck with Alation Compose, curation efforts in the Catalog can be tied to any inline query. Now, when a data consumer writes a query in Compose and types in the name of a column, table, or schema that has been flagged in the data catalog, a color coded indicator (green, yellow, red) will appear. The colored indicators tell the user whether the fields in the query have been endorsed, have a warning, or have been deprecated.

Alation TrustCheck for Data Governance Deprecation Example

TrustCheck Integration with 3rd Party Tools

Though analysis may start with the Alation Data Catalog, data consumers may want to finish their analysis in another tool. With our native APIs, TrustCheck can be leveraged through integration with any 3rd party application. Deepening our integrations with Tableau and Salesforce, Tableau Server and Einstein Analytics users can now harness TrustCheck directly within their application of choice.

Salesforce Einstein Analytics:

With the release of Alation V R1, Salesforce Einstein Analytics users can leverage the Alation Data Catalog to understand how data assets are most commonly used and then get recommendations on which data is most applicable to their analysis.

With the Einstein Analytics integration, the Alation Data Catalog automatically propagates endorsement and deprecation information from Alation to Einstein Analytics, alerting the community to which dashboards are accurate to use for analysis. Einstein Analytics users are then provided with a “CERTIFIED” or “DO NOT USE” badge to guide them to the best way to use data, all within their natural workflow.

Alation Data Catalog TrustCheck with Salesforce Einstein Analytics

Tableau Server:

In addition to certifying assets in Einstein Analytics, users can also harness TrustCheck to certify data sources in Tableau Server. Tableau data sources are a great way to share analyses with other people in the organization, but the sheer number of Tableau data sources can quickly become overwhelming. That leads to the question, “How do I know which Tableau data sources to trust?” With TrustCheck, Alation users can endorse a trusted data source. The act of endorsing the Tableau data source will automatically propagate into Tableau Server and show up as a certified badge next to name of the Tableau data source.

Alation Data Catalog TrustCheck with Tableau Server

With TrustCheck, an information steward can guide and recommend the correct data assets for Tableau users to use all within the natural flow of their analysis.

To see the full capabilities of TrustCheck, watch the full demo below.


With TrustCheck, Alation is at the forefront of the data governance revolution and embracing analytic discovery with Agile Stewardship. Instead of reactive policy compliance and enforcement, Agile Stewardship promotes prevention and intervention with the proactive surfacing of “guardrails.” The result is an analytics environment where critical business context is surfaced immediately and data governance programs can be connected to and drive business outcomes that matter.

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