The use of big data and analytics to provide actionable insights for business users has become a ubiquitous part of corporate processes for large and small organizations alike. And now that so much depends on these analytics results, companies are relying more than ever on their intelligence solutions.

According to Gartner research, the global market for business intelligence (BI) software surpassed $18 billion last year, and is on track to reach $22.8 billion by 2020. Now that so much depends on BI platforms, it's imperative that companies are able to make the most of these assets. The best way to achieve this is with a data catalog that can provide curated sets for more in-depth and meaningful analysis.

Ensuring a successful ROI

As Bernard Marr pointed out in Forbes, despite the increasing number of businesses engaging in analytics and business intelligence, many are still having trouble seeing the type of return on investment they had hoped for. Part of this has to do with a lack of maturity in terms of skills and data, which can prevent organizations from reaping all the benefits their BI platform can offer.

Gartner analyst Rita Sallam told Marr that one of the best ways to address this issue and support more robust ROIs on the part of enterprises is to leverage a data catalog alongside the BI platform.

"By 2020, organizations that offer users access to a curated catalog of internal and external data will realize twice the business value from analytics than those that do not," Sallam said.

As Sallam explained, "Just because we give data to users, doesn't necessarily mean they know how to use it responsibly." This, however, is the ideal juncture for the support of a data catalog, which guides users' analytics efforts through AI tools that can help identify missing data and recommend other, related data sets.

Providing a personalized view

Building upon this point, a data catalog can also enable more data-intensive users to have a customized view of analyses from different datasets. This more personalized approach can be difficult to achieve with a BI platform alone, but the capabilities offered by a data catalog can provide more in-depth details about data included for analysis.

"'Power' data users can leverage catalog functionality to manipulate arbitrary combinations of data across various datasets to see personalized view of information," Big Data Quarterly contributor Stan Christiaens wrote. "This gives users the knowledge to combine datasets to run specific and more sophisticated BI analyses."

BI platforms provide users with key capabilities, but are even more beneficial when paired with the essential features of a data catalog. To find out more, connect with the experts at Unifi today.