Alation + First San Francisco Partners: A New Approach to Data Governance

Stephanie McReynolds
Stephanie McReynolds VP of Marketing

Every business is trying to become a digital business and the monetization of data is a fundamental part of that transformation. But when you have hundreds of thousands of data sources, potentially millions of different datasets and thousands of people constantly consuming that information, that transformation quickly becomes overwhelming.

How do you manage the consumption of that much information? Traditional top-down, workflow-driven data governance simply can’t keep pace — there is too much data and too many self-service users. Writing down policies and expecting people to manually validate the data at their disposal is simply unrealistic. What’s needed is a new approach to data governance, one that is agile and scalable enough to meet the needs of organizations operating from data-driven principles.

Data catalogs create the perfect foundation for agile data governance by establishing a single-source of reference for both the data and the organizational knowledge surrounding that data. Now with our relationship with First San Francisco Partners, we are helping organizations build upon that foundation with the processes they need to govern usage as well as distribute data knowledge. With some of the leading minds in data governance, including Malcolm Chisholm, John Ladley, and Kelle O’Neal, the firm has been at the forefront of modernizing data governance. First San Francisco Partners provides a team experienced in data governance and the challenges of implementing the right processes for driving data governance objectives. The First San Francisco Partners team has embraced the Alation Data Catalog for its ability to enable a new approach to data governance, one where processes can scale to meet the demands facing modern data-driven organizations.

The Alation Data Catalog not only connects to data sources, but automatically creates a living-repository for knowledge about data usage in the organization. The Alation Data Catalog uses machine learning to identify patterns and nuances related to how data and data assets are used in an organization. This technology foundation is great for simplifying the querying process and promoting the reuse of queries, which result directly to increased analyst productivity. But more interestingly for First San Francisco Partners and the organizations using the Alation Data Catalog for data governance, this foundation identifies where existing data governance policies provide coverage and where natural gaps lie. By providing the single-source of reference for both data consumers and data stewards, Alation opens the door to agile data governance.

The introduction of Alation TrustCheck in July took it a step further. With TrustCheck, information stewards now have a direct way to guide analysts’ behavior right within their workflow. When someone is consuming data, he or she is presented with context around that data and can immediately tell whether it is appropriate for the use at hand — everything from whether the data is up to date and accurate to whether the use of that data is within security and privacy regulations.

Together, Alation and First San Francisco partners support a new approach to data governance — one that embraces the already prevalent broad-based, democratic use of data. And this new approach recognizes that the community of data users is just as responsible as the data governance team for creating trust in data-driven insights. Proper data governance certainly requires the right tools, but it also requires people and processes that support information stewardship and curation.