Big data can lead to better business decisions, happier and more satisfied customers, and faster growth in endless ways. According to a survey, a whopping 85% of companies see data as one of their most valuable assets.
Every business has truckloads of data. And more data means more pressure on the organizations to leverage the data and turn them into valuable insights to improve overall business performance.
But here’s the thing— who has control of this data in an organization? Data is far less helpful if just a small group of people can access it. And that’s how things have been in most organizations: there’s a small group, and they are responsible for distributing data to other people.
While this approach may sound more manageable for organizations, it limits how much an organization can truly utilize the data at its disposal and hinders its ability to grow. It also discourages a data-sharing culture leading to data silos.
That’s why Data Democratization comes into the picture. It’s a profound shift in data management, but it can be your best business intelligence strategy if done the right way.
This article will discuss data democratization and how it can help your business.
Starting with, what is it?
What is Data Democratization?
Coined in 2001, Gartner described it as “a process for making data available to all members of an organization for their use.” Data democratization is the process of making data accessible to everyone. It’s about allowing your employees to have easy access to information, enabling them to make better decisions, and creating a culture where data is valued.
The concept of data democratization is relatively new. It’s not something that has been widely discussed or considered by most companies. But as the world becomes more connected and technology continues to advance at an incredible rate, businesses need to embrace this idea—or they risk falling behind.
Data democratization is a process that enables all stakeholders to use data more effectively. It’s about making decisions based on data instead of intuition.
Data is available to people across the organization in a format they can understand. Everyone can get what they need when they need it, as quickly and easily as possible.
Data representation is clear and understandable. This way, people can see what it means and how it relates to other information. Everyone can easily find the answers without needing specialized knowledge or waiting for someone else to complete an analysis.
It presents Data in a way that people can use to make decisions. Everyone can understand them and apply their expertise and instincts to the data to come up with the best possible solution for their needs.
Democratizing data is helpful for everyone, regardless of their technical expertise or how much time they have to spend on something. Because when you make a decision based on intuition and guesswork rather than rigorous analysis from high-quality information, it can affect people’s lives in ways that might be hard to measure with analytics alone.
If one person has access to something, everyone should also have access. This is the approach that companies like Google and Facebook take to equip their employees with all the usable data for the company’s growth.
Why is Data Democratization Important?
We already talked about why data democratization is helpful for data-driven businesses. In this section, we’ll discuss the key benefits of data democratization.
In a typical organization, there are multiple teams with unique data needs. For example, marketing teams may need data to measure the success of the marketing campaigns and then determine what strategies are working for them and how they can improve. The sales team may need the data to identify the best prospects and close more deals. The support team may need the data to determine the recurring challenges that customers experience and diagnose them more quickly. Product teams may need data to check the usage data to understand what features to add, improve, or remove. And the list goes on!
Considering how many stakeholders are dependent on data to do their jobs, it’s clear how an inefficient data distribution strategy can hamper the entire organization and its growth. In a non-data democratic organization, you’ll first need to request data from someone else, then wait for days to get it. And that’s assuming you know who to ask, which is itself challenging because there might be many data sources and their owners.
This information bottleneck isn’t the only hurdle here. The data that you would receive after the entire process of approval might just be handed multiple spreadsheets that you’ll need to parse yourself. Not only will this take unnecessary time and effort— but it will also discourage you from requesting data afterward. That’s where you need a data-driven approach
With data democratization, businesses get to lower these work barriers as much as possible. Instead of going to the IT department, employees leverage self-service analytics to retrieve the data quickly and easily. This, in turn, helps them reduce the time on such tasks and invest time in more important tasks. And this doesn’t even need them to have the deep technical knowledge to assess the data.
The Benefits of Data Democratization
The benefits of data democratization can be seen in every aspect of business operations across the entire organization.
Data-driven decision making
The ability to easily access and apply data from multiple sources, along with improved analytical capabilities, enables better decisions. This can be an important step toward establishing a more agile culture responding rapidly to changing conditions or opportunities.
Easy access to data by the right people at the right time increases a company’s ability to respond quickly to changes and develop and launch outcomes such as new features and products.
Better customer experience
Companies that can create a seamless cross-channel customer experience have an advantage over competitors relying on traditional siloed approaches to managing customer data. In addition, organizations with strong collaborative processes will be better positioned than those focusing on competitive silos when new technologies emerge or regulatory changes occur (e.g., GDPR).
Better employee experience
Employees who feel empowered by the tools available to them will feel more engaged both at work and outside of work – which increases overall productivity for both employees and employers alike! These tools also empower workers by giving them access to information about their own performance as well as insight into how they fit into broader organizational goals so they can make informed decisions about where they want their careers headed next (or perhaps there’s something else out there worth exploring).
Better business outcomes
Companies can respond faster than competitors because they have access to the latest insights, which helps with decision-making and execution. They also reduce costs associated with IT infrastructure by eliminating silos of information that require expensive hardware/software upkeep – all while improving operational efficiency across departments (e.g., marketing).
Better business intelligence
With data democratization, organizations can make better decisions when they understand what’s happening in the market and how their products compare against those of competitors. Organizations become more agile because employees can easily access information from different sources without waiting for IT staff to process requests or report on them manually.
Productivity and operational efficiency
Data democracy improves productivity while reducing costs associated with IT infrastructure by eliminating silos of information that require expensive hardware/software upkeep – all while improving operational efficiency across departments (e.g., marketing).
How to Achieve a State of Data Democracy
For several years, companies have tried to get a hold of their data. They started off with tables and spreadsheets and later transitioned to reports and dashboards. And, as technology has evolved, so has how businesses look at their data. The problem is— most businesses are still stuck in the past. They view their data as a resource they need to control and own. And while they may have made some progress with tools like Power BI, many companies still don’t fully understand what it means to democratize their data.
Achieving data democracy requires all stakeholders to access the same data, regardless of whether they are internal or external stakeholders. The “everyone gets a vote” approach differs from traditional models in which only certain people were allowed to see certain information because it was deemed too sensitive for others’ eyes.
Data democratization is a way to make data accessible to everyone in the organization. But ‘accessible’ is insufficient since broken data cannot lead to good decisions.
In a time when data is king, businesses are looking for more efficient ways to manage and analyze the information they collect; data democratization is a much more achievable goal thanks to data management software that makes it easier than ever to collect, manage, distribute and interpret data. Every company uses a set of tools to organize data sources and perform analysis — including:
- a data warehouse
- ETL and/or ELT tools
- Data engineers/ Data analysts
- Visualization tools
- Or All-in-one software solutions
To adopt a democratized approach to data, companies must shift their thinking from a single-minded reliance on their internal data to a more open attitude that encourages employee collaboration. It requires employees to reevaluate how data is incorporated into their work and actively share data across teams to prevent silos. Teams must become comfortable bringing data into their day-to-day decisions.
Shared data means that security measures to protect a company’s assets must be stricter than ever. Especially regarding personal information like identifying customer details or medical information. In addition, regulations like the GDPR need to be followed.
Data democratization is a vital part of any organization’s digital journey. It enables teams across the entire business to leverage data more effectively and make better decisions faster, smarter, and more confidently. This can be achieved through establishing a strategy towards democratizing your data that includes:
Making sure everyone has access to the same high-quality data that they can trust, enabling business users to manipulate their data in ways that meet their specific needs, and providing them with the tools necessary for this process.
Frequently Asked Questions
Data democratization is the process of making data accessible to everyone. It’s about allowing your employees to have easy access to information, enabling them to make better decisions, and creating a culture where data is valued.
As the world becomes more connected and technology continues to advance at an incredible rate, businesses need to embrace the idea of making data available for everyone in their organization to leverage it in every way possible.
By implementing a state of data democracy, a company could benefit in many ways such as:
- Making well-informed decisions based on data and not gut-feeling
- Improving the overall customer experience
- Empowering employees by giving them access to useful information within the organization
- Getting better business outcomes and leveraging business intelligence
- Improving productivity and efficiency