A complete guide to buying data discovery software

Last updated:July 2018

Buyer's Guide

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Editor's note

In its raw form, data can't do much for the enterprise. It requires specific tools that churn and digest the data, ultimately turning it into insights.

Data discovery software is particularly suited for this task. As a subset of business intelligence (BI) software, data discovery tools enable businesses to find patterns or specific items in data or data sets from a variety of internal and external sources.

Data discovery tools employ visualizations and graphical representations to present insights, including reports, charts, tables and dashboards. This is to the benefit of business users, as it presents the information in an easy to digest manner. Data discovery software is also known for its ease of use, often empowering business decision-makers to generate their own reports and visualizations without the need for IT intervention.

This isn't to say IT doesn't play a role with these self-service BI tools. Data governance considerations and features are paramount, as IT may need to oversee thousands of users. Data security and privacy concerns should also be top of mind, as should version control to ensure the tools and visualizations deliver the maximum value to the organization.

Setting aside cost and implementation considerations, choosing the right data discovery product also hinges on identifying business needs and aligning them with tool features.

For example, different tools offer different types of analytics and visualizations. Some organizations in financial services, insurance, marketing, retail, healthcare and pharmaceuticals lean heavily on advanced predictive analytics, while other businesses handle time-sensitive scenarios and may benefit from in-memory analytics. Still others look to glean insights from external sources, like social media sites, to identify trends and sentiment data.

Finally, businesses can turn to a data discovery platform to aid compliance efforts, specifically General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance. Businesses can use data discovery tools to literally discover customer data tucked away in odd corners of the enterprise, like emails and presentations.

In this guide, we break down data discovery software by defining the categories, explaining the features and revealing the benefits. We also highlight the major players and products in an effort to inform buying decisions.

1Which is the best data discovery software for your business?

Business goals can determine the best data discovery platform, and the considerations should include IT and data management concerns, data source support, visualization options, and compliance features. Of course, cost and scalability may also weigh heavily, which is why it's vital to explore all the options and needs before partnering with a data discovery vendor.

2Roundup of leading data discovery and self-service BI tools

The data discovery and self-service BI tool market is robust, with many players vying for your business. Learn more about the vendors and products available, including compliance features, as well as the visualizations and data sources they support.