dScribe data is an innovative start-up from Belgium that offers a data catalog focusing on easy implementation, maintenance and usage. dScribe sees lack of user adoption as the main reason for the failure of data catalog projects. Therefore, the company seeks to integrate its solution into existing user processes/tools while offering transparent and affordable licensing models for straightforward roll-out. Its wide range of connectors to SAP systems, including SAP Analytics Cloud, SAP BO, SAP BW, SAP BW/4HANA and S/4 HANA, should be of particular interest to SAP customers.

Who is dScribe?

Founded in 2021 in Ghent, Belgium, by five data experts, the start-up retains its headquarters there. The privately-held company now has eleven employees and has secured ten customers of various sizes and industries. In May 2023, it received a funding injection of €1.5 million from two venture capitalists, which will be used for personnel and functional development. Expansion into the US market and Asia-Pacific (APAC) is already underway. Currently, five partners (delaware, MCA, Ordina, Datashift and Hibridia) assist with larger implementations, and additional partnerships are being established.

dScribe – the solution

dScribe is a pure software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution and is currently available through the Azure platform. The team is following the current market trend of relying solely on the cloud, which enables rapid deployment of the software. The solution is based on a knowledge graph and leverages its advantages, such as easy metadata model expansion at database level, flexible design, and the representation and analysis of relationships. dScribe offers a wide range of features, including some governance functions for PII classification, as well as rules and policy management.

However, its main focus is on catalog core elements, while advanced features such as data quality monitoring and data access support are not included. Its strengths include good support for data search and exploration, as well as collaboration features – both of which are often underestimated in terms of achieving high user adoption. To further promote these features, dScribe focuses on integrating them into user workflows. After all, users should not have to switch between tools and disrupt their workflow. The chosen method is a browser plug-in, which displays the desired contextual information from reports or key performance indicators directly in browser-based applications (such as Power BI) or allows for deep analysis by jumping into the catalog.

The connectors to SAP metadata are particularly important for the German-speaking market. Unlike many other start-ups, dScribe offers a good set of connectors. It remains to be seen what these connectors can deliver in terms of metadata. Unfortunately, this could not be discussed in the analyst briefing on which this report is based. dScribe is relatively affordable in comparison to other options on the market and provides a fair and transparent licensing model that allows for predictability.

When should I consider looking into the solution?

dScribe is a relatively young technology that still needs to prove itself. However, the underlying concept is very sensible and addresses one of the key success factors for data cataloging: how to motivate business users to utilize the catalog and share knowledge. Its main competitors are Microsoft Purview, as it is already included in the Azure ecosystem, as well as Zeenea and DataGalaxy, two French companies that also attach great importance to usability.

I have not seen evidence that the tool is a ready-made, out-of-the-box solution for complex catalog scenarios just yet. This may come with a certain level of maturity (in a few years). The appeal lies more in the opportunity for mutual growth and learning between customers and dScribe, combined with very affordable pricing. This could be attractive for companies starting out on their cataloging journey.

Even if a solution is quick to implement and promotes user adoption, it is of no use if the user company does not create an environment (leadership, strategy, organization and culture) that enables and actively promotes data cataloging.