erwin Data Intelligence (DI) for Data Governance Review

Lets me have a full library of physical data or logical data sets to publish out through the portal that the business can use for self-service


What is our primary use case?

We don't have all of the EDGE products. We are using the Data Intelligence Suite (DI). So, we don't have the enterprise architecture piece, but you can pick them up in a modular form as part of the EDGE Suite.

The Data Intelligence Suite of the EDGE tool is very focused on asset management. You have a metadata manager that you can schedule to harvest all of your servers, cataloging information. So, it brings back the database, tables, columns and all of the information about it into a repository. It also has the ability to build ETL specs. With Mapping Manager, you then take your list of assets and connect them together as a Source-to-Target with the transformation rules that you can set up as reusable pieces in a library.

The DBAs can use it for all different types of value-add from their side of the house. They have the ability to see particular aspects, such as RPII, and there are some neat reports which show that. They are able manage who can look at these different pieces of information. That's the physical side of the house, and they also have what they call data literacy, which is the data glossary side of the house. This is more business-facing. You can create directories that they call catalogs, and inside of those, you can build logical naming conventions to put definitions on. 

It all connects together. You can map the business understanding in your glossary back to your physical so you can see it both ways. 

How has it helped my organization?

We have only had it a couple months. I am working with the DBAs to get what I would call a foundational installation of the data in. My company doesn't have a department called Data Governance, so I'm having to do some of this work during the cracks of my work day, but I'm expecting it to be well-received.

What is most valuable?

They have just the most marvelous reports called mind maps, where whatever you are focused on sits in the middle. They have this wonderful graphic spiderweb that spreads out from where you can see this thing mapped to other logical bits or physical bits and who's the steward of it. It's very cool and available to your business teams through a portal. 

Right now, we're focusing on building a library. erwin DM doesn't have the ability to publish out easily for business use. The business has to buy a license to get into erwin DM. With erwin DI, I can have a full library of physical data there or logical data sets, publish it out through the portal, and then the business can do self-service. 

We are also looking at building live legends on the bottom of our reports based on data glossary sets. Using an API callback from a BusinessObjects report from the EDGE governance area in the Data Intelligence Suite back to BusinessObjects, Alteryx, or Power BI reports so you can go back and forth easily. Then, you can share out a single managed definition on a report that is connected to your enterprise definitions so people can easily see what a column means, what the formula was, and where it came from.

It already has the concept of multilanguage, which I find a really important thing for global teams.

What needs improvement?

It does have some customization, but it is not quite as robust as erwin DM. It's not like everything can have as many user-defined properties or customized pieces as I might like.

There are a lot of little things like moving between read screens and edit screens. Those little human interface type of programming pieces will need to mature a bit to make it easier to get to where you want to go to put the stuff in.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have only had erwin DI for a couple months. We brought it in at the very end of last year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

So far, I haven't had any problems with it whatsoever. Now, I'm not working on it all day every day. It seems to be just as stable as erwin DM is. I used this tool when it was still independent and called Mapping Manager, before it became part of the erwin Suite. It's lovely to see it maturing to connect all the dots.

Four people are maintain the solution. The DBAs are going into harvest the metadata out of the physical side of the house. Then, I'm working with the data architects to put in the business glossaries.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is a database. All of the data is kept outside of the client, so it's how you set up your server.

We have five development licenses and 100 seats for the portal. Other than those of us who are logging in to put data in, nobody much is using it. However, you have to start some place.

Right now, the DBAs, data architects, and I are its users.

I'm expecting the solution to expand because the other cool thing that this Data Intelligence Suite has is a lot of bulk uploads. I can create an Excel template, send it to the business to get definitions, and then bulk upload all their definitions. So, we don't need a lot of developer licenses. It becomes a very nice process flow between the two of us. They don't have to login and do things one by one. They just do it in a set, then I load things up for them. I have also loaded up industry standard definitions and dictionaries making it easy to deal with.

How are customer service and technical support?

I haven't interfaced with anybody who is just an EDGE team member. I will say the sales and the installation teams that we worked with were both fabulous.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We did not previously use another solution. erwin didn't have a formal business glossary.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup seemed to be very straightforward. I don't do the installations, but the DBAs seem to find it pretty easy. They got the installation instructions from the erwin team, followed them, and the next day, it was up and running.

We're just following the same implementation strategy that we're doing with erwin DM. We didn't set up the lower tiers because I didn't see that we need lower tiers except for upgrades. We just do lower tiers when we do an upgrade and push to production, then we just drop the lower tier. Other than having to train people on how to use it, implementation has been pretty easy.

What was our ROI?

ROI is a bit hard to come at. There is peace of mind knowing that we now have visibility into the business. To be able to know that I'm instantly pushing all the data definitions out to the business, even though culturally I haven't changed everything so they are looking at it on a daily basis. This is still hard to put a price tag on. I know I'm doing my piece of the job. Now, I have to help them understand that it's there and build a more robust data set for them.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

You buy a seat license for your portal. We have 100 seats for the portal, then you buy just the development licenses for the people who are going to put the data in.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did evaluate other options. Even though erwin DI got a few extra points from the evaluation to coordinate with the erwin DM tool, we looked at other tools: Alteryx Connect, Collibra, DATUM, and Alation.

We did a whole pile of comparisons:

  • Some of them were a bit more technical. 
  • Some of them were integration points.
  • Customization.
  • The ability to schedule data harvests, because the less you have to do manually, the better.
  • The ability to build your data lineages, then the simplicity of being able to look at those sorts of things to do searches. 

There were a different things along those lines that showed up in the comparison.

Erwin DI checked all the boxes for us. There are some things that they will grow into over time, but they had all of the basics for us.

Collibra scored a little higher on being able to integrate with SAP Financials. In fact, other products scored a bit higher with the SAP integration altogether, because with erwin DI, you need to buy a connection to do some of that.

For the connection with some of our scheduler tools, Alation was able to integrate with our UC4 scheduler. Right now, the EDGE tools don't.

For the most part, the functionalities were exactly the same, e.g., being able to do bulk uploads with high performance, Alteryx, Collibra, and erwin Data Intelligence Suite tied on a lot of things. However, erwin's pricing was cheaper than its competitors.

What other advice do I have?

If you have the ability to pull a steering committee together to talk about how your data asset metadata needs to be used in different processes or how you can connect it into mission-critical business processes so you slowly change the culture, because erwin DI is just part of the processes, that probably would be a smoother transition than what I am trying to do. I'm sitting in an office by myself trying to push it out. If I had a steering committee to help market or move it into different processes, this would be easier.

Along the same lines as setting up an erwin Workgroup environment, you need to be thoughtful about how you are going to name things. You can set up catalogs and collection points for all your physical data, for instance. We had to think about if we did it by server, then every time we moved a server name, we'd have to change everything. You have to be a little careful and thoughtful about how you want to do the collections because you don't want the collection names to change every time you're changing something physically.

What we did is I set up a more logical collection, so crossing all the servers. The following going into different catalogs:  

  • The analytics reporting data sets 
  • The business-purchased applications 
  • External data sets 
  • The custom applications. 

I'm collecting the physical metadata, and they can change that and update it. However, the structure of how I am keeping the data available for people searching for it is more logically-focused.

You can update it. However, once people get used to looking in a library using the Dewey Decimal System, they don't understand if all of a sudden you reorganize by author name. So, you have to think a bit down the road as to what is going to be stable into the future. Because the more people start to get accustomed to it being organized a certain way, they're not going to understand if all of a sudden you pull the rug out from under them.

I'm going to give the solution an eight (out of 10) because I'm really happy with what I've been able to do so far. 

The more that the community uses this tool, the more feedback they will get, and the better it will become.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
**Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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