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Since our inception, Prentice Gate has been focused on building a practice that provides pragmatic, actionable advice.

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John Wills


  • 30+ years of enterprise data experience

  • Former Alation, Field CTO & Collibra executive

  • Author of the 400+ page best practice guide called the Alation Book of Knowledge (ABOK)

  • Creator of the Alation Data Catalog Value Index (DCVI)

  • Author of the Alation Right Start implementation approach

  • Creator of Alation policy bot automation pattern

  • Author of the Alation Active Data Governance method

  • Creator of Alation catalog designs for privacy, MDM, data quality, data mesh, CDMC framework 

  • TDAN Columnist

  • Key advisor to Alation customers with 167 strategy meetings in 2022

  • Author of The Goal is Autonomous Governance - Moving Data Governance into the Modern Age

I walked through the actual Prentice Gate as I entered Kent State University almost 40 years ago.  Now, after a life lived in the data world I've created Prentice Gate Advisors in order to share my experience and help others succeed.


That may sound like a noble cause, but it's really selfish as I have the pleasure of learning from so many, having a constant exchange of ideas, and building lasting relationships with world-class leaders and thinkers in our space.

I am referring to the world of data as our space.  But it's not really just data, which on its own, is inanimate.   It's all of the organizations, processes, architectures, and evolution of roles that bring it to life and have always fascinated me.  I've been fortunate to have been with companies that were always pushing the envelope including Metaphor (Ralph Kimball co-founder), Sagent, Ascential Software, Knowledgeware, LBMS, Initiate Systems, Knightsbridge Consulting, HCL/Axon, Collibra, and Alation.  Through all of those stops, I was challenged with a wide variety of leadership roles and exposed to a wide array of data challenges including modeling, master data management, data quality, metadata management, parallel processing, data integration, data governance, and cataloging, just to name the big ones.

My last two stops at Collibra and Alation have been wildly stimulating by giving me the opportunity to build parts of the organization but also break new ground by thinking about how to apply cataloging and governance innovations in a practical way in which customers could succeed.  As a result, I wrote the first implementation methodologies for both and am proud to see the hundreds of enterprises and leaders who have benefited. 


At Alation I was concentrating heavily on thinking about what is coming next for all of us, including data mesh, decentralized data products, marketplaces, ML automation, etc.  That work and my everyday interaction with data leaders was a natural transition into Prentice Gate.

What I enjoy doing most is helping leaders find the balance between a pragmatic approach and actions that drive immediate business value and creating a vision and strategy that they can use to inspire and elevate their corporate data culture.

If you are a data leader, work for a data leader, or are a consultant working on an Alation project and would like some input, feel free to reach out. My book, 'The Goal is Autonomous Governance - Moving Data Governance into the Modern Age' can also be found on Amazon for more learnings.

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