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Alation’s Connected Sheets brings data governance to spreadsheets

Alation’s Connected Sheets brings data governance to spreadsheets

Data intelligence software provider Alation on Monday released a new offering, dubbed Connected Sheets, designed to help enterprise users pull governed data from data sources into spreadsheets including Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel.

The company’s effort to offer an app designed to ensure data governance for  spreadsheets stems from its understanding that a lot of businesses continue to use spreadsheets to draw business insights—even though 90% of these files have errors, said Raj Gossain, chief product officer at Alation.

A report on data and analytics from market research firm IDC estimates that about 78 million users still work with advanced spreadsheets.

“So, most CEOs and CIOs that we talked to, they look to spreadsheets as a necessary evil and frankly, more of a liability than an asset in their organization,” Gossain said. “They know their business users need the power of the spreadsheet, but they’re terribly concerned about risk exposure due to the errors in them.”

Connected Sheets came from Kloud.io

The new product, which can be accessed via Alation’s Data Catalog service, was born out of the company’s acquisition of data integration tool provider Kloud.io in March.

A data catalog, which typically consists of metadata, data management and search tools, is used by enterprises to find the appropriate data for analytics needs. The metadata inventories all data assets within an organization.

Alation’s Connected Sheets uses a no-code interface that allows enterprise users to query for data without having to learn a new language, the company said, adding that the offering also helps in importing and refreshing data.

In contrast to typical spreadsheet practices where data is copied and pasted into these files, Alation’s Connected Sheets makes use of governance features, such as TrustFlags, by integrating with Alation’s Data Catalog to provide governed, or trusted, data.

TrustFlags signals data as being is endorsed, warned, or deprecated, Gossain said, adding that Connected Sheets can also leverage existing security credentials to only allow authorized access and import of data.

Alation Connected Sheets is available immediately as an add-on in Google Sheets and will be made available for Microsoft Excel in early 2023, the company said.

While details of pricing were not immediately available, the company said that Connected Sheets will follow the company’s Data Catalog pricing model of per instance per user.

The company, which competes with the likes of Microsoft, Informatica, Oracle, SAP, Collibra and Dataedo, has raised $123 million in November as part of its Series E financing round, led by Thoma Bravo, Sanabil Investments, and Costanoa Ventures, with participation from new investor, Databricks Ventures.

The company, which has raised $340 million to date, had said that its latest funding will drive strategic product innovation in the data intelligence market.

The data integration and intelligence software market is valued at more than $7.9 billion, according to IDC. This market is expected to grow $11.6 billion by 2026, the market research firm said.

Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.

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