Evaluating your data catalog’s success


If you’ve ever ventured on a road trip without a GPS or a good old-fashioned map, you probably know how essential they are to reaching your destination. 

Like navigating unfamiliar terrain, managing a chaotic data landscape requires a guide. 

At Collibra, we know that the best guide is a data catalog. But how do you know if your data catalog is doing its job well? 

>> Learn all about data catalogs in our recently released Data Catalogs For Dummies, Collibra Special Edition.

The answer to understanding success starts with defining your success metrics with key performance indicators, or KPIs. 

KPIs offer a quantifiable measure of performance over time for a specific objective. 


A good way to begin evaluating your data catalog’s success is by creating a list of questions that can be the basis for your KPI dashboard. The questions could include:

  • Is your data catalog adding value to the organization?
  • Is your data catalog a reliable source for all data-related questions?
  • Is your data catalog platform helping users make data-driven decisions?
  • Are you improving end-user adoption?
  • Does your data catalog platform present a single pane for data discovery?


Why KPIs are crucial

When navigating your data landscape and its related data challenges, a data catalog serves as a GPS, helping you and your team find, understand, trust and access a wealth of technical and business metadata. 

Without KPIs, however, you don’t know where you are or where you’re going. KPIs help answer crucial questions about the value your data catalog is adding, including:

  • How reliable it is 
  • How much it aids in data-driven decision-making

Three types of KPIs — enablement, adoption, and business-value metrics — can go a long way to helping you define the success of your data catalog. 

Enablement KPIs: Deployment + education

Enablement KPIs (or measurements) show how much your data catalog is being adopted within your organization and how efficiently it is being used. 

Enablement KPIs include:

  • Number of sources ingested
  • Completeness of information
  • Extent of assigned ownership

Metrics like the percentage of terms and data sets with assigned stewardship or the number of assets identified as PII can paint a clear picture of your progress. 

Additionally, education plays a pivotal role. 

Initiatives like role-based training sessions – for example, an internal ‘Data Catalog University’ – or a central knowledge repository can amplify understanding and use of your data catalog.

Adoption KPIs: Usage focused

Imagine throwing a party and no one turns up. That’s precisely what it feels like when your organization doesn’t utilize your data catalog. 

Adoption metrics help gauge how well your data catalog is being adopted across the organization. 

Indicators can include the number of:

  • Unique logins
  • Data set access requests 
  • Search queries per day 

Each one of these KPIs can provide substantial insights into usage patterns.

Remember, your data catalog needs to be user-friendly for successful adoption. 

Sometimes simple changes like customizing the color scheme to match your corporate branding or creating a welcoming dashboard can significantly enhance the user experience. 

Business-value KPIs: Quantifiable outcomes

At the end of the day, it boils down to the value your data catalog is delivering to the business. 

Business-value metrics illuminate the tangible benefits of your data catalog to data citizens  – that is, anyone who uses data – and your organization. 

For example, increased productivity indicates that your data catalog is helping data consumers save hours spent on searching for the right data. 

Similarly, if you’re tracking a greater number of daily active users, then this KPI suggests your data catalog is a trusted source for data discovery needs. 

KPIs take the mystery out of data catalog success

Knowing when your data catalog is working for you doesn’t have to be a mystery. It can be a systematic process of setting up relevant KPIs, collecting data and analyzing results. 

Remember, a successful data catalog initiative – and an effective data intelligence practice – is a marathon, not a sprint. 

It’s important to manage stakeholder feedback, continuously refine your KPIs, and revise your roadmap regularly. This way, your data catalog will continue to serve as a valuable compass guiding your data journey.

Ready to explore more about data catalogs and data intelligence? 

Our recently released Data Catalogs For Dummies, Collibra Special Edition can help you thrive no matter what your data landscape looks like.

With Data Catalogs For Dummies, you’ll get a comprehensive guide into all aspects of data catalogs, including how to:

  • Take steps to control your data
  • Identify the right data catalog
  • Maximize the value of your data catalog
  • Use your catalog for governance and privacy
  • Build a foundation for data intelligence

Download Data Catalogs For Dummies today.

Related resources


Powering a data intelligence platform: From data catalog to data intelligence


Maximizing the value of your data catalog

Product video

Collibra + Snowflake: better together

View all resources

More stories like this one

Jan 26, 2024 - 5 min read

Collibra is proud to be part of the Snowflake Horizon Partner Ecosystem

Read more
Jan 16, 2024 - 5 min read

Beyond data silos: Bridging the context gap with process-aware cataloging

Read more
Nov 28, 2023 - 5 min read

Q4 2023 Collibra release: helping customers reduce data risks and improve...

Read more