Data democratisation: How to utilise the power of big data for everyone

Subhashis Manna
Subhashis Manna
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In the contemporary business landscape, organisations find themselves inundated with an abundance of data. Surprisingly, a substantial 60% to 73% of this data remains unexplored for analytics. (Source: Forrester)

This untapped resource underscores the critical necessity for a shift towards data democratisation — a concept urging individuals from all backgrounds to embrace data analysis, regardless of their technical expertise.

The concept

Traditionally, data management demanded employees to seek information from the IT team, leading to delays in decision-making. This reliance on IT not only hindered swift, data-driven decisions but also caused delays in internal operations. The essence of data democratisation breaks free from this outdated process, empowering every individual within the organisation to access and interpret data, fostering a collaborative approach to data comprehension and management.

Readiness assessment

Before embracing data democratisation, leaders must assess the firm’s readiness for this paradigm shift. Employees need to feel at ease working with data, equipped with the right tools, and empowered to make decisions through self-served analytics. Achieving this transformation necessitates training, accessibility to tools, and an organisational culture shift with a focus on data away from outdated information management practices.

Addressing business challenges

Data democratisation tackles challenges related to information access, alleviates resource limitations on the IT department, and empowers users to become their own data analysts, extracting value from organisational data treasures.

(Data) governance as a foundation

While data democratisation enhances a firm’s ability to make data-driven informed decisions, a robust data governance mechanism is essential for streamlining operations. This involves implementing policies related to data security, privacy, integrity, traceability, and quality, ensuring responsible information access without compromising compliance and overall data safety. Leaders must anticipate some initial teething challenges such as ineffective decision-making, sub-optimal use of data, duplicate data creation, etc., in the process of establishing the data culture, as well as some upfront investment cost for training.

Your 6-step data democratisation strategy

Democratising data supports a modern workforce, empowers employees, accelerates decision-making, enhances operations, and elevates customer experiences. By providing crucial information to every employee, organisations can meet and exceed end-client expectations.

  1. Secure leadership commitment: Ensure top-down endorsement of the data democratisation strategy, aligning it with the respective business unit’s needs. For example, a marketing team’s needs for data management and usage would be different from the consulting team’s requirements.
  2. Evaluate your data ecosystem: Identifying and rectifying problematic systems that might impact the future flow of data.
  3. Unlock legacy data: Extracting value through investments in data integration tools can be helpful to tap the potential of unused data. It can also help the user to tap and check what bits of data are not being fully used.
  4. Make data universally accessible: Provide access via user-friendly technology and control. However, the same needs to be done keeping in mind data security, control, and effective firm-wide monitoring.
  5. Encourage self-service: Motivate users to integrate analytics into their routines. This could start small, by introducing data analysis in day-to-day activities for effective decision making. This again may differ from team to team.
  6. Continued education: Prioritising ongoing training for effective democratisation efforts can be helpful. Understanding the needs of different business units for different types of data is pivotal. Hence, basis that, training can be provided in a customised manner to ensure better uptake.

Future of data democratisation

As more enterprises embrace data democratisation, new trends emerge. By 2024, 80% of tech products and services will be developed by non-IT professionals, showcasing the transformative potential of democratising data (Source: Gartner, 2021).

In conclusion, data democratisation is a transformative journey that organisations must embark on to utilise the true potential of their data and cultivate future skills among their employees. By fostering a culture of data-driven decision-making and dismantling traditional barriers, businesses can gain a competitive edge, propelling themselves into a future where data becomes a powerful tool for innovation and strategic growth.

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