Gennadii Armashula
Kseniia Armashula
Head of Marketing at Accton

Data Catalog vs. Analytics Catalog: What fits best in a modern analytics stack?


In recent years, data catalogs have become increasingly popular as tools for making our organisations more data-driven. But can they really do that on their own?

This surge has undoubtedly improved awareness and implementation of various data management practices across industries.

However, with all the hype surrounding data catalogs, their closest siblings – analytics catalogs – often remain overlooked.

This lack of attention and understanding around analytics catalogs is a missed opportunity for organisations. With companies increasingly relying on analytics to inform decision-making and drive actionable insights, the importance of analytics catalogs is becoming more evident.

In this article, I aim to shed light on a few key points:

- How data catalogs and analytics catalogs are different.

- Analytics catalogs offer solutions to many longstanding challenges faced by businesses.

- Using integration between analytics and data catalogs, we can reach the desirable outcomes for organisations seeking to use data to a maximum effect.

Understanding Data Catalogues vs. Analytics Catalogues

Data catalogs and analytics catalogs are two essential yet distinct tools in the field of data management.

Data catalogs serve as the navigational compass within an organisation's data landscape, assisting the discovery and access of data stored across different repositories. By identifying the right data sources and understanding their associated metadata, data catalogs ensure the accuracy and reliability of data analysis.

In contrast, analytics catalogs focus on finding and accessing the right BI assets within an organisation's analytics environment. They enable users to locate the correct reports or dashboards, understand the insights presented within them, and access them in a user-friendly format. Analytics catalogs are particularly valuable for organisations using complex BI platforms, as they empower the BI team and business users to make data-informed decisions.

While data catalogs prioritise organising underlying data sources, analytics catalogs focus on the accessibility and usability of reports and dashboards derived from that data.

Moreover, while data catalogs cater primarily to data analysts and scientists, analytics catalogs are designed to be more user-friendly, catering to the needs of BI teams and business users involved in generating insights.

Data Catalog vs Analytics Catalogue - comparison table

How can analytics catalogues solve the most critical challenges BI teams face today?

Analytics catalogue is a relevantly new product category that has appeared to solve some critical gaps the analytics industry struggles with. How many challenges do BI managers face every day? How many common problems can't BI users solve on their own? How many company heads focus on fancy AI and machine learning trends while missing the core basics?

Let's go through some common challenges we still haven't solved and think about how a tool like analytics catalogue can help us:

BI adoption rates are low

Despite investing in BI tools, organizations often struggle to achieve widespread adoption among users, which leads to underutilization of analytics capabilities.

Low BI adoption rates have been a persistent challenge for businesses, being around 25-30% for quite some time. (BARC, 2022)

The key challenge is to encourage employees to embrace analytics tools and shift from relying on intuition to making data-driven decisions.

Analytics catalogues address this challenge by providing a user-friendly platform for discovering and accessing analytics assets, ultimately driving increased adoption and engagement.

BI tools are too complex for end-users

Many users find traditional BI interfaces overwhelming or intimidating, which linits their ability to leverage analytics for decision-making effectively.

Analytics catalogs streamline the user experience by offering intuitive search and navigation features. Users can easily find the information they need, which makes them increasingly confident with BI tools.

Navigating one BI tool is difficult, navigating multiple BI tools - impossible

In organisations with several BI tools and platforms (even if there is only one BI tool + Excel), users often face challenges navigating a maze of reports and dashboards spread across different systems.

Analytics catalogs serve as a unified portal, aggregating analytics assets from various sources and providing users a single point of access.

BI processes are undefined or untransparent

When processes are not appropriately defined, users are lost in where to place their requests and who to ask for help, and BI teams work in isolation skipping report discussions and post-production support.

Analytics catalogs promote transparency by offering visibility into the analytics lifecycle, enabling users to track the status of reports, understand data lineage, and access relevant documentation and metadata.

Self-service makes BI environment even more messy

Yes, self-service BI empowers users to create their own reports and analyses. However, it also introduces governance challenges related to analytics quality, security, and compliance.

Analytics catalogs help address these challenges by providing administrators with tools to manage access permissions, avoid uncontrolled report proliferation, and monitor analytics usage, ensuring that self-service BI remains governed and secure.

Expenses on BI licenses and data storage constantly grow

As companies scale their BI initiatives or push the self-service button, they often face escalating costs associated with licensing fees and data storage.

Analytics catalogs help optimise costs by finding and deleting duplicate or underutilised reports so that companies can maximise the return on investment in BI tools and resources.

Another critical challenge stopping all companies from becoming super advanced in data and analytics is their struggle to demonstrate these initiatives' tangible value and impact.

With analytics catalogs, it's possible to assess the actual usage, impact, and effectiveness of analytics assets so that the value of analytics investments becomes evident.

Data and Analytics Catalogs: a powerful synergy

Data catlog is like a warehouse

Imagine walking into a vast warehouse where each item is neatly labelled, categorised, and stored on shelves for easy access.

That's the essence of a data catalog—you can quickly locate the specific data you need, whether it's raw data files, databases, or data sets. Everything is organised and cataloged, making finding and retrieving the data you're looking for effortless.

Analytics Catalogue is like a library or an art gallery

Now, picture yourself stepping into a library, where books are not only organised by genre and author, but each book also comes with a detailed summary and cross-references to related literature.

Or even an art gallery, where pictures adorn the walls and are accompanied by insightful narratives and context details.

This is the analytics catalog – a library of reports and a gallery of insights, where reports and dashboards are curated and presented in a visually engaging manner, inviting discovery, exploration and interpretation.

But true magic happens when these two work together. By combining data and analytics catalogs, organisations gain a holistic view of their data landscape, from raw data sources to refined insights.

- Organisations gain a comprehensive view of their data and analytics landscape.

- Business users, BI and tech teams can quickly locate relevant data, understand its context, and leverage associated analytics assets.

- Data governance and compliance are consistent, promoting data integrity and reliability throughout the organisation.

With data and analytics catalogs working together, teams can explore data and find insights faster. They can also collaborate better, share ideas and make smarter decisions.

Plus, by tracking how data and analytics are used, organisations can save time and money and ensure they get the most out of their data investments.

In short, when data and analytics catalogs collaborate, they help organisations make better decisions and extract more value from their data. It's a win-win!


In the pursuit of a perfect data-driven future, it's easy to get caught up in trendy tools and new tech advancements. However, we must remember the basics.

My advice for companies struggling to win the data competition and navigating the hype is straightforward: focus on your real challenges.

If your goal is to ensure that your people use reports every day to make decisions, it's not merely a matter of data lineage or perfectly categorised sources. It's about simplicity, literacy, culture, and fun. Choose tools that support your goals, not just those that make you look trendy.

Or, if you prefer, take a comprehensive approach from the start.

By addressing the fundamental analytics challenges head-on, using the right catalog tools, and fostering a true data culture, we can get a bit closer to actually using data's power.

And it's not about following the latest trends; it's about making meaningful progress towards your goals.


26 MAR 2024

WRITTEN BY: Gennadii Armashula, Kseniia Armashula with the support of Accton team

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