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The value and benefits of a data catalog are often described as the ability for analysts to find the data they need quickly and efficiently. Data cataloging accelerates analysis by minimizing the time and effort that analysts spend finding and preparing data. Anecdotally it is said that 80% of self-service analysis without a data catalog is spent getting the data ready for analysis. Using the data catalog can cut that percentage from 80 to 20. Although there is a high degree of truth in this anecdotal view, it is insufficient to build a business case for technology investment.

This paper quantifies the value of a data catalog to help estimate return on investment for a data catalog. Starting from a single analytics use case, it illustrates the revenue creating and cost saving potential of data catalogs. Revenue and cost are important—making and saving money—and are the primary focus. Additional benefits of time savings, quality improvement, trust and confidence, frustration reduction, and risk avoidance are also described.

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