At Collibra we understand the challenges of data governance. Like our customers, we also often struggle to find, understand and access our data. But luckily we use our own product to solve this common challenge. For instance, we created the Artifact Repository of Knowledge, or ARK, to help govern our professional services assets and increase productivity across Collibra.
We spoke with Prashant Nakil, Senior Enterprise Architect on our Professional Services team and the original designer of the application. The Professional Services team wanted to leverage all the artifacts that their consultants were building to avoid repeat work and ensure consistency and quality.
What is ARK?
The ARK was created to standardize Collibra Artifacts for consultants to access. Before ARK, consultants would often re-create the same individual workflows, workflow code snippets, architectural diagrams and other assets and store them locally or in various internal, online locations. This meant that other consultants could not necessarily access the work of their peers, know where to find pre-existing assets or know which assets were the latest and best versions. This led to duplicate work and inefficiencies across the team.
With ARK, instead of having to solve each of these cases uniquely, consultants are now able to reuse artifacts. Moreover, there is a review process leading to the certification of “best” versions and we can leverage social features like comments and star-ratings to share information about the assets. The ARK implements an operating model of Artifacts capturing key information and relations of these Artifacts. These are operationalized through workflows which control the lifecycle of the artifacts.
The ARK dashboard
The ARK dashboard is the user’s entry point on the Collibra platform. The dashboard offers features such as automated workflows, a search function, and filters to create an easy to use experience. Consultants can go into ARK and easily search for the type of asset they need to do their job. For example, ARK organizes artifacts by types:
- Code snippets
- Reference architectures
- Best Practices
- Technical Best Practices
- Asset Models
- Meta models
- “Brown Bag” session recordings
- Recorded demos
- Use case approaches
- “Other” artifacts
The artifacts are also categorized by how you might want to look for them or use them. So we grouped them by product, industry and our consulting packages (pre-packaged use case solutions). The search bar allows users to search for specific key terms, thus making the process of searching for case solutions significantly easier.
The ARK Workflows
This central repository is also governed by its own workflows to ensure the assets in ARK are high quality.
Anyone in Collibra can submit an artifact, answering a few questions about it, like its product and industry categories and attaching supporting documentation. Code-based artifacts are automatically parsed and reviewed for obvious problems like calling libraries or instantiating variables that are never used, automatically extracting key metadata from the artifact. Then they are queued for review by senior consultants identified in the system as “reviewers.” The reviewer assesses it for usability, quality, duplication, and overall hygiene. Once it is approved, it appears in ARK with a certified check mark. A new innovation is to recommend that an artifact be “promoted” for customers to see. A workflow provides an extra level of review before prompting the user to submit the artifact to one of our publicly available forums like the Collibra Marketplace or the Support team’s Knowledge Base – extending the use of ARK to external communities.
What is the future of ARK?
Even without promoting it, ARK has users in many departments besides Professional Services. Our next project is to expand usage extensively, across the entire company. We want all resources to live in ARK so that people don’t have to look through Google folders, GitHub and other sources to find the latest and best materials or approved standards (even if that’s where the assets continue to be physically stored).
Achieving widespread adoption in their organizations is a critical success criterion for our customers. And this is more difficult to achieve when implementing purely as a technical solution without executive sponsorship for the value proposition.
Based on our adoption experience in the field, we made sure to have executive support before we started. And we’ve tried to leverage some of our own top adoption recommendations:
Promote: Monthly newsletters to update users on new artifacts, new features we’ve enabled, some friendly competition to increase contributions and so on. We’re in the process of transitioning from a monthly newsletter to an ongoing feed on our company intranet site.
Facilitate: Enable usability features like commenting and star ratings so users can engage with one another.
Monitor: We linked to a feedback form on the ARK dashboard to get insights from our users and keep them engaged. To find out what is working and what can be improved we included questions like:
- How are you using ARK?
- What types of artifacts were you looking for?
- Did you find what you were looking for?
- On a scale of 1-5 how easy was it to find what you were looking for?
- What additional attributes would have improved your search experience?
- How easy was it to retrieve your artifact once you discovered it?
To understand usage and trends automatically, ARK leverages insights and obtains useful information through data pipeline and analytical tools. This has been instrumental in driving greater adoption.
The ARK team is continually focused on driving adoption and discovering what our users and customers need. For example, last month (July 2022) we implemented 10 items from our backlog of suggested improvements and enhancements.
ARK is just one example of how we are using Collibra’s Data Intelligence Cloud internally. It helps increase our efficiency by reducing duplicated effort and ensures users can find the most up to date information and artifacts. As we increase adoption across the organization we’re excited by the prospect of offering more features and governing more types of artifacts and assets for users across our community.