Data discovery or, more precisely, data relationship discovery, is of fundamental importance to a wide range of functions ranging from business intelligence through master data management to data governance and data archival. Nevertheless, it has not traditionally been treated as a market or requirement in its own right. This is largely because the tools that have been available to discover data relationships have all been data profiling tools which, in turn, have been closely associated with data quality rather than more general-purpose usage. However, that is no longer the case: there are now a number of products on the market that can discover data relationships that do not fall within the category of either data profiling or data quality. As a result, it is time to consider the importance of data discovery, and its requirements, as a market in its own right.
In this paper we will discuss what data discovery is, why it is important, what sort of functionality you should be looking for in a data discovery product and the different approaches to data discovery that are currently available.