Alation Alternative? 5 Reasons Why Atlan is The Overwhelming Choice Amongst The World's Best Data Teams

Updated March 23rd, 2023
Alation alternative - 5 reasons why Atlan is the winner

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Atlan is not just an Alation alternative, but the overwhelming choice amongst the world’s foremost data practitioners. Here are 5 reasons why:

  1. Highest ranking in current offering and strategy in latest Forrester Wave report
  2. The only active metadata platform, pioneering the category
  3. Setup that’s DIY and takes weeks not months
  4. Customized UX for diverse data users to encourage adoption and accelerate time to value
  5. Dedicated customer success to identify and implement business-critical initiatives

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Alation alternative is Atlan - here are 5 reasons why

5 Reasons why Atlan is the best alternative to Alation

Reason 1: Atlan has the perfect score in over 10 categories in the Forrester Wave; was named as the tool of choice vs all competition

In their latest report on Enterprise Data Catalog for DataOps, analysts from Forrester evaluated 14 of the most significant Enterprise Data Catalogs, including Atlan, Alation, and others.

Atlan emerged as a leader, scoring the highest possible marks in over 10 categories. Atlan also scored significantly higher than Alation in both the current offering (Y-axis) and strategy (X-axis).

Current Offering4.73 / 52.90 / 5
Strategy4.40 / 52.60 / 5

Tabular representation of Alation vs Atlan scores in Forrester Wave. Source: Forrester

Quadrant from Forrester Wave™ Enterprise Data Catalogs for DataOps, Q2 2022

Quadrant from Forrester Wave™ Enterprise Data Catalogs for DataOps, Q2 2022. Source: Forrester

Read the full report that details how Atlan stands out from its competitors in terms of product capabilities, strategic vision, roadmap, and more.

Download full report for free

Reason 2: Pioneers of the Active Metadata Category

Why does Active Metadata matter? Simply put, it prevents enterprise data catalogs from becoming expensive shelfware.

Atlan is the only active metadata platform - pioneering the category.

Active Metadata is a key component of enterprise data catalogs. It upgrades data catalog software from just a passive metadata store to one that sends enriched metadata and unified context into every tool in the data stack. This enables powerful programmatic use cases through automation.

Active Metadata in your data catalog is what ensures readiness for evolved modern concepts like data fabric and data mesh.

Use cases of Active Metadata

The use cases for active metadata are infinite. Some of our favorites include:

  • Cost optimization by:
    • Dynamic data pipeline optimization - reducing unnecessary data processing and improving resource utilization
    • Purging of data landscape of stale or unused assets
    • Cleanup of data landscape by removing duplicate assets
  • Enriching user experience in BI tools with additional metadata
  • Defining access control policies at scale
  • Automatically assigning freshness status to data assets

Here’s a video where you can quickly run through 20 such use cases in 20 minutes.

Atlan and dbt Labs at Coalesce 2022. Source:dbt

Reason 3: Setup that’s DIY and takes weeks not months

When you invest in a data catalog, you want it up and running in weeks not months. Alation is known to require external support to set up and takes months to implement.

Especially, in a year where conversations around data team ROI are common, you don’t want to bring in a tool that makes you budget for additional man-hours just to set it up.

In fact, reviewers on G2 frequently mention the ease of setup when comparing Atlan to Alation as an alternative.

Screenshot from G2 suggestion on Alation alternatives

Screenshot from G2 suggestion on Alation alternatives. Source: G2

Reason 4: Customized UX for diverse data users to encourage adoption and accelerate time to value

Your data catalog is as good as the data that’s cataloged in it. Adoption and usage are thus crucial to drive value from an enterprise data catalog tool. Important to note, that this means adoption by all kinds of users and not just technical users.

Given the diverse nature of data consumers and producers that exist in an enterprise, your data catalog must be able to handle the diversity and granularity of modern data and metadata.

” Tool with best UX Implementing a data catalog is about adoption. After taking a look at the best catalogs on the market, I chose Atlan, and I would choose Atlan again if I had to. It’s the best UX, best experience, and best adoption.”

- Otávio Leite Bastos, Global Governance Lead, Contentsquare.

Atlan enables you to create personalized experiences for diverse data users in your team, empowering them to work better with curated contexts. The bi-directional flow of metadata and deep integration with communication tools unify the micro-workflows that waste time, cause frustration, and lead to tool fatigue for data teams. Instead, Atlan makes these tasks delightful.

Visual representation of how Atlan activates metadata to keep you in the flow.

Visual representation of how Atlan activates metadata to keep you in the flow. Source: Atlan

Reason 5: Dedicated customer success to identify and implement business-critical initiatives

A data catalog is valuable only when,

  1. Most of your favorite data tools connect to it
  2. Most of your data operations can be managed through it
  3. Most of your data users actively use it

Thus considering the ROI of a data catalog and by extension data teams - it’s important to evaluate data catalogs in terms of their focus on customer success and support.

Atlan’s strategic customer success team, which includes dedicated customer success managers (CSMs) and customer solution architects (CSAs), works closely with organizations to identify and implement their business-critical data initiatives. Atlan also invests significantly in enabling data governance and data enablement efforts within its customer community by organizing DataOps leadership programs and customer-led masterclasses, among other initiatives.

” Atlan, at the heart of our successful data governance strategy! The Customer Success & Experience Team! They are always available, patient, and ready to help at any moment of the day!”

- Kenza Z, Data Governance Strategist, Contentsquare.

5 Alation open source alternatives

Here are the five popular alation open source alternatives that you can check out.

  1. Amundsen
  2. DataHub
  3. Apache Atlas
  4. Metacat
  5. OpenMetadata

It’s possible you want to keep some open-source data catalog tools as well in your evaluation mix. These are the five popular tools that you can check out. Read more about them here.

We also have some handy comparison notes between these tools ready for you:

  1. How a fast-growing fintech improved GDPR compliance with Atlan in hours, not months
  2. Data practitioners on why they love Atlan
  3. Product roundup: Crowd favorite Atlan features from 2022
  4. What is active metadata, and why does it matter?
  5. What Is a Data Catalog? & Do You Need One?
  6. Best Alation Alternative: 5 Reasons Why Customers Choose Atlan

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